Florida blanks Stingrays, 3-0
At this point in the season, South Carolina Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery isn't concerned about wins and losses.
Of course, Carbery wants to win as many games as possible heading into the playoffs, but the third-year head coach is more interested in seeing the Stingrays improve each game than in the final score.
Phillip-Michael Devos and A.J. Jenks each had a goal and an assist and goalie Trevor Cann stopped all 29 shots he faced to lead Florida past South Carolina, 3-0, Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 3,813 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays, who are winless in their last five games(0-4-1), dropped to 30-14-4 (64 points), but remained in first place in the ECHL's Eastern Conference. Florida improved to 26-17-5 (57 points).
For the first three months of the season, the Stingrays were not the best team in the Eastern Conference, but sported the best record in the ECHL for long stretches.
Recently, however, with call-ups and injuries, the Stingrays have become a .500 team over the last few weeks.
It's a situation that Carbery is hoping to reverse.
"We're almost back to square one right now," Carbery said. "There's not a lot of chemistry on any of the lines right now. This is almost a brand new team with guys that are out of the lineup. We're having to rebuild the team from the ground up. Right now, we're too inconsistent. We've been a good team one night, bad team the next, and that's got to change.
"I don't even care about the record right now. We're going to restart and put in a foundation that's going to help us be a more consistent hockey team."
Phillip-Michael Devos gave the Everblades a 1-0 lead off a Stingrays turnover inside their defensive zone. Devos picked up a loose puck along the boards, stepped around a Stingrays defender and then beat goalie Jeff Jakaitis with a shot along the ice between his legs early in the second period.
The Everblades pushed their advantage to 2-0 on Jenks' goal midway through the third period. Florida captain Mathieu Roy got the puck on the right wing and slid a perfect cross-ice pass to Jenks, who one-timed it past Jakaitis for the goal.
Thirty-five seconds later, Trevor Bruess, a former Stingray, finished off a beautiful tic-tack-toe passing play with an easy tap-in for a 3-0 Everblades lead.
South Carolina's Scott Campbell was called up to Providence on Sunday morning. In 31 games, Campbell has 22 points on 10 goals and 12 assists.
Defenseman Jeremy Price (upper body), Kevin Quick (leg) and forward Chad Painchaud (upper body) missed the game with injuries.
The Stingrays will face Toledo on Tuesday beginning at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Florida 0 1 2 - 3
Stingrays 0 0 0 - 0
First Period: No goal. Penalties: Currie, SC (interference), :43; Dame-Malka, F (high sticking), 8:11; Jenks, F (interference), 19:45.
Second Period: 1. F, Devos 6 (Roy, Jenks), 2:15. Penalties: MacLean, F (hooking), 6:28; Nielsen, F (fighting - major), 16:43; Collins, SC (fighting - major), 16:43.
Third Period: 2. F, Jenks 8 (Roy, Devos), 11:11. 3. F, Bruess 12 (Bonis, MacLean ), 11:46. Penalties: Baker SC (slashing ), 7:55; Gauthier, F (kneeing), 15:51.
Shots on Goal: Stingrays 9-10-10-29; Florida: 7-11-10-28. Penalties: Stingrays 3-9; Florida 5-13. Power Play: Stingrays 0 for 4; Florida 0 for 2. Goalies: Stingrays - Jeff Jakaitis (23-8-3) 28 shots, 25 saves. Florida - Trevor Cann (11-7-0) 29 shots, 29 saves. Att: 3,813