When South Carolina Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery acquired Robby Dee midway through the season, he was hoping to get a center with a little offensive flare to his game.

Toledo vs. South Carolina

Toledo vs. South Carolina

When: Tonight, 7:05 p.m.

Where: North Charleston Coliseum

Tickets: 744-2248

He got that and then some on Friday night.

Dee had a hat trick and Matt Beca added a goal and three assists to lead South Carolina past Evansville, 5-2, before a crowd of 3,626 at the North Charleston Coliseum.

With the victory, the Stingrays improved to 24-23-4 (52 points) and moved into ninth place in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference.

The top eight teams in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference will advance to playoffs. The IceMen fell to 17-28-5 (39 points).

Dee was languishing on the West Coast when the season began with the Bakersfield Condors. The Condors have the worst record in the ECHL with only 14 wins in 51 games.

When the Stingrays traded Daniel Koger for Dee, the former University of Maine star, was happy for a new beginning on the East Coast.

“I was excited to be coming to South Carolina,” Dee said. “Even out West, you hear about the Stingrays, and the great tradition they have here. We had a great group of guys in Bakersfield (Calif.), but we were struggling on the ice. It was nice to come here where we’re fighting for a playoff spot and every game is important.”

Koger had been a proven goal scorer in the ECHL and there were some that felt Carbery had given up too much to get Dee. But has proven to be more than worth it. Dee has been everything Carbery and the Stingrays had hoped for. The former Edmonton Oilers draft pick has eight goals and 10 assists in 21 games with the Stingrays.

“Robby has done very, very well for us,” Carbery said. “He’s got a great shot and he’s a guy that can put the puck in the net. He has a knack finding open ice and getting scoring opportunities. He goes about his business in a very quiet manner, but at the end of the night you can always find him on the score sheet.”

Dee has spent most of his time on the same line with Hunter Bishop and Tyler McNeely, the team’s top two scorers.

“They have made my job pretty easy,” Dee said. “I’ve been able to play with great guys on my line since I’ve gotten here.”

Against the IceMen, Dee shared the ice with Beca, who had his best game in a Stingrays uniform, scoring the Stingrays fourth short-handed goal of the year in the third period.

“No question, Matt Beca was the best player on the ice for us tonight,” Carbery said. “He set up Robby a couple of times and then got a short-handed goal.”

It was a sloppy game with plenty of turnovers, a couple of fights and several scrums. The IceMen were whistled for 14 penalties and 55 penalty minutes.

The Stingrays were 2 of 10 on the man advantage.

“Power play really stepped up in the first two periods,” Carbery said. “We had a couple of power plays in the third period that we probably should have done a better with.”

The Stingrays face North Division-leading Toledo tonight.

“Toledo has won six straight games and leads their division,” Carbery said. “We’re going to need to clean up a lot of our mistakes to beat them.”

Evansville 2 0 0—2

South Carolina 3 1 1—5

First Period: 1. SC, Dee 9 (Vaughan, Bishop), 7:13 (PP). 2. E, McKenzie 1 (Della Rovere, Obermeyer), 8:46. 3. SC, Quick 1 (Beca, Elser), 10:09. 4. SC, Dee 10 (Quick, Beca), 15:07. 5. E, Dale 8 (unassisted), 17:34 (SH). Penalties: MacLeod, SC (boarding), 3:32; Robinson, E (hooking), 6:38; Krug, E (roughing), 16:20.

Second Period: 6. SC, Dee 11 (Beca, Cherniwchan) 19:45 (PP). Penalties: Krug, E (hooking), 4:26; Krug, E (fighting - major), 7:19; Courtnall SC (fighting - major), 7:19; MacLeod, SC (slashing ), 7:19; Krug, E (slashing , unsportsmanlike conduct - disputing decision, misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct, game misconduct - abuse of officials), 17:37; Baker, E (high-sticking), 18:38.

Third Period: 7. SC, Beca 11 (unassisted),  10:43 (SH). Penalties: Cody, E (bench - abusive language), 5:32; Obermeyer, E (delay of game), 7:16; Brodie, SC (interference), 9:30; Clarke, E (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:15; Della Rovere, E (cross-checking), 13:15; Bidlevskii, SC (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:15; McKenzie, E (high-sticking), 15:38; Courtnall, SC (high-sticking), 19:27.

Shots on Goal: SC 8-6-15-29; Evansville: 7-11-15-33. Penalties: SC 6-23; Evansville 14-55. Power Play: SC 2 for 10; Evansville 0 for 4. Goalies: SC – Jeff Jakaitis (5-4-2) 33 shots, 31 saves. Evansville – Paul Dainton (3-7-2) 29 shots, 24 saves. Att: 3,626.