South Carolina Stingrays hope to reverse defensive struggles against Orlando Solar Bears today
For the past three seasons, the South Carolina Stingrays have been one of the top defensive teams in the ECHL.
Orlando vs. South Carolina
Orlando (3-1-2, 8 points) at South Carolina (3-4-0, 6 points)
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Where: North Charleston Coliseum
Through seven games this year, the Stingrays are one of the worst.
It’s a trend the Stingrays are hoping to reverse when they take on Orlando today beginning at 7 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.
In seven games this season, the Stingrays have surrendered 29 goals or more four a game, which ranks 20th out of 23 teams in the league. Only San Francisco (31), Colorado (31) and Florida (30) have given up more goals than the Stingrays this season. A year ago, the Stingrays were one of just two teams in the ECHL that gave up fewer than 200 goals for the entire season. During the 2010-11 season, the Stingrays were fourth in the ECHL in goals against with 204.
“We’ve prided ourselves around here on being a good defensive team,” said Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery. “It’s been a trademark of ours and a major reason why we’ve been a championship team. So far this season we’re just not getting the job done. We know the system works because it has worked in the past. We’ve just got to do a better job executing our game plan.”
Part of the problem is that the Stingrays are giving up too many shots. The Stingrays are dead last in the ECHL in shots allowed at 38.6 per game, which is three more shots per game than the Everblades (35.3), who are next to last in the league.
“When you’re allowing almost 40 shots every game and it comes down to simple math at that point,” Carbery said. “More shots mean more scoring chances, which lead to more goals. There are times when shots on goal can be a deceiving statistic because all the shots can be from the perimeter, so there are no quality scoring chances. But when you’re given up 40 shots night after night, game after game, it’s a trend and we’ve got to stop it.”
Another issue for the Stingrays has been turnovers. In a 5-3 loss to Orlando this past Thursday night, the Stingrays committed 54 turnovers by Carbery’s count. In a normal game, the Stingrays turn the puck over less than 20 times.
“It’s something that has been killing us all season,” said Stingrays defenseman Kevin Quick. “We’ve been pretty careless with the puck. We need to simplify our game. Sometimes we need to make the simple play instead of trying to make something out of nothing.”
Better communication between all the players on the ice was a point of emphasis during the last two practices.
“No one in our locker room is happy with the way we’re playing right now,” said Stingrays captain Shawn Weller. “We know it’s got to get better, and it will get better.”