Stingrays 4, Road Warriors 1
Since 2008, Trent Campbell, Maxime Lacroix and Pierre-Luc O'Brien have spent parts of three seasons playing together with the South Carolina Stingrays.
But until this month, they'd never played on the same line together.
Campbell, Lacroix and O'Brien each scored a goal and had at least one assist to lead the Stingrays past Greenville, 4-1, Friday night before a raucous crowd of 3,452 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays, who won for the seventh straight time, improved to 22-16-2 (46 points) and moved to within three points of first place in the ECHL's South Division. The Road Warriors dropped to 21-16-2 (44 points).
Campbell, Lacroix and O'Brien have probably played more than 150 games together, but never as a single unit. When Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery put them on the same line at the beginning of their seven-game road trip earlier in the month, he didn't know what to expect.
"I thought their styles would mesh pretty well together, but until they actually got on the ice together, I wasn't sure," Carbery said. "Am I surprised that they've been this productive? Not really. They have similar styles and all work very hard, but I didn't think they'd be this dominant. They've really carried us offensively this month."
O'Brien, who notched his team-leading 18th goal to start the third period, sensed that the trio might be pretty good during their first game on the road trip against Elmira.
"We lost that game (3-2), but you could tell right away that we had something," O'Brien said. "Maxime is such an easy player to play with. He can do everything on the ice -- skate, pass, score, win one-on-one battles. He's just a complete hockey player. You throw in Trent, who's very good down low and sees the ice so well and it's just an easy line to play on."
O' Brien, who had a goal and two assists, has 11 points on six goals and five assists over the last eight games -- all with Campbell and Lacroix.
"I've never played on a line with two guys who set me up so much to score," O'Brien said. "Usually I'm the one who's setting the other guys up. It's been a fun couple of weeks."
Lacroix began the scoring midway through the first period with a beautiful wrist shot that beat Greenville goalie Nic Riopel. Lacroix has 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) in just 11 games with the Stingrays this season.
Stingrays goalie Daren Machesney was solid, stopping 23 of 24 shots.
"It was a scrambling kind of game," Machesney said. "I didn't do a great job with my rebounds, but this was probably the best defensive team effort of the season. I had to worry about the first shot, the guys took care of the rest."
--The Stingrays signed defenseman Shaun Arvai. Arvai, 29, played in 18 games with the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League this season scoring two goals and six assists for eight points.
--Phil Orekovic (Hershey), Matt Pope (Hershey) and Sean Dolan are currently called up to the American Hockey League.
--Greg Stewart (lower body), Billy Ryan (lower body), James McEwan and Chris Higgins (upper body) were out of the lineup with injuries.
--The Stingrays are 9-7-1 at home and 12-9-1 on the road this season.
First Period: 1. SC, Lacroix 3 (O'Brien, Kroll), 9:11. 2. G, Bowers 9 (Prough, Eddy), 12;13. 3. SC, de Kastrozza 11 (Campbell, Fleming), 14;15. Penalties: O' Brien, SC (tripping), 12:49; Wilson, G (fighting), 15:47; Baier, SC (fighting), 15:47; Keller, SC (hooking), 19:21.
Second Period: No goals. Penalties: Campbell, SC (interference), 11:50; Eddy, G (hooking), 16:26; Bowers, G (tripping), 19:17.
Third Period: 4. SC, O'Brien 18 (Kroll, Lacroix), :26. 5. SC, Campbell 10 (O'Brien), 17:10. Penalties: Niemi, G (holding), 7:01.
Shots on Goal: Stingrays 10-6-9-25; Greenville: 11-6-7-24. Penalties: Stingrays 4-11; Greenville 4-11. Power Play: Stingrays: 1 of 3; Greenville 0 for 3. Goalies: Stingrays - Daren Machesney (7-9-0) 24 shots, 23 saves. Greenville - Nick Riopel (11-5-1) 25 shots, 21 saves. Att: 3,452.