Who needs Scott Campbell, Chad Painchaud, Marc Hagel, Scooter Vaughan, Jack Downing, Jordan Owens or Chris Langkow.
Certainly, not the South Carolina Stingrays.
Igor Gongalsky and Lindsay Sparks each scored and Jeff Jakaitis stopped 21 shots to lead South Carolina past Orlando, 2-1, Saturday night before a crowd of 4,097 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays, who have the best record in the ECHL, improved to 17-3-3 (37 points) despite having eight players called up to the American Hockey League. Orlando fell to 14-10-1 (29 points).
The Stingrays entered the week with three players in the AHL - Painchaud, Owens and Langkow - but went into the weekend with five more players being called up, including Hagel, who left for Iowa early Saturday morning.
It's almost to the point where Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery is afraid to answer his phone. Five of the six top scorers for the Stingrays are currently playing in the AHL.
"I'm not sure I've ever seen a team get this many call-ups in such a short period of time," Carbery said. "When you're having success on the ice, it's going to happen. You expect it. Teams in the American League are going to see it and start making phone calls."
Carbery has had to scramble to put a team on the ice, trading with San Francisco for Kyle Bodie, then signing Parker Stanfield, Paul Rodrigues and Brendan Rempel.
"It's been a long couple of days, getting guys flights and getting them here for the game," Carbery said. "It seems like I've been on the phone for the whole week."
Getting a win makes all the phone calls worthwhile.
"Absolutely loved the way the guys played tonight," Carbery said. "I was very happy with the win. We didn't do anything unbelievable from an execution standpoint, but we competed and worked hard for 60 minutes. We were a desperate hockey team. Everyone was involved and battling on every shift and when you've got so many key guys out of the lineup, it's a must to get that kind of effort in order for us to win games."
Of course having Jakaitis in net doesn't hurt either. The ECHL's top goalie, just added to his statistics. Jakaitis stopped 21 of 22 shots to earn his league-leading 13th win on the season.
"J.J. made some big saves, especially in the third period," Carbery said. "I thought defensively we were solid. Orlando didn't get much puck possession in our zone. We kept everything to the perimeter and didn't give them many scoring chances."
Jakaitis, who improved to 13-1-3 on the season, credited the guys in front of him with the victory.
"Everyone is pulling in the same direction," Jakaitis said. "You know when you have success in this league, you're going to have guys in and out of the lineup. I don't know that I've ever seen it this bad, but the guys we had out there really played defensively. At the end of the day, we've still got guys on this team that expect to win hockey games and that's huge."
Gongalsky got the scoring started early in the first period off a beautiful pass from Jeremey Price. Seconds after Gonalsky's goal, the stuffed animals came flying onto the ice for the Stingrays' annual "Teddy Bear" toss night to help out the Debbie's Kids charity.
Sparks made it a 2-0 game when he wristed a shot past Orlando goalie Garrett Sparks midway through the second period.
Francis Verreault-Paul scored the Solar Bears only goal on the power play early in the third period.
Orlando 0 0 1-1
South Carolina 1 1 0-2
First Period: 1. SC, Gongalsky 2 (Price, Simpson), 6:25. Penalties: Stanfield SC, (tripping), 16:06.
Second Period: 2. SC, Sparks 2 (Stanfield), 10:55. Penalties: Fienhage O, (slashing ), 4:48; Stanfield, SC (tripping), 8:27; Johnston, O (charging), 14:53; Currie, SC (slashing ), 17:58.
Third Period: 3. O, Verreault-Paul 4 (Ullrich, Cepis), 1:51 (PP). Penalties: Gongalsky, SC (boarding), 1:41; served by Ullrich Orl (bench - too many men), 3:49; Collins, SC (boarding), 9:54; Spinell Sc (cross-checking), 12:00.
Shots on Goal: Stingrays 10-10-6-26; Orlando: 6-7-9-22. Penalties: Stingrays 2-4; Orlando 7-14. Power Play: Stingrays 0 for 2; Orlando 1 for 7. Goalies: Stingrays -.Jeff Jakaitis (13-1-3) 22 shots, 21 saves. Orlando - Garrett Sparks (4-3-1) 26 shots, 24 saves. Att: 4,097.
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