Rays sign Cullen, Clarke

South Carolina Stingrays forward Patrick Cullen signed with the team on Tuesday (July 31, 2012). Cullen had two goals and two assists in eight games last year. Photo Provided by the South Carolina Stingrays.

Patrick Cullen and Dylan Clarke became the first players to sign with the South Carolina Stingrays for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

After completing his senior year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cullen, 23, played in eight regular season games with the Stingrays this past April, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Cullen remained with the Stingrays during the ECHL’s Kelly Cup playoffs, recording two assists in five games.

“We are very excited to have Patrick Cullen back after finishing the season with us last year,” said Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery. “He was able to transition quickly to the pro game and contributed at both ends of the ice immediately.”

The Washington, D.C., native recorded 62 points (24 goals, 38 assists) in 136 contests and was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team as a freshman.

“I think I am a good fit with the Stingrays, and that is a big reason why I wanted to come back,” Cullen said. “I think having played at the end of last year will really help me with my comfort level heading into training camp.”

Clarke, 25, finished his rookie campaign with 29 goals and 35 assists for 64 points in 66 games with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League.

“Dylan had a phenomenal season last year in Tulsa as one of the top forwards in the CHL,” said Carbery, who played for the Oilers during his rookie season in 2006-07. “His speed, size, willingness to go to the hard areas and ability to generate offense will be huge assets to our team.”

The Belleville, Ontario, native recorded 17 multi-point games, including two hat tricks during his rookie season.

“Taking the leap into the ECHL is a big deal for me, Clarke said. “I have been working hard all summer to be prepared and make an impact.”

The Stingrays open the season at home Oct. 13 against Gwinnett at the North Charleston Coliseum.