It's been 11 days since the South Carolina Stingrays scored their last goal.
Since their five-day Christmas break, the Stingrays have gone scoreless their last three games. That's 180 minutes and three periods of futility and frustration for a team that was in first place in the ECHL's South Division six weeks ago and is now at the bottom of the division.
The Stingrays are hoping to change their fortunes tonight when they take on ECHL South Division rival Florida beginning at a special team of 6 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The injuries and call-ups have piled up on the Stingrays since the beginning of December. At one point this week, the Stingrays were forced to play with just 12 skaters, four below the maximum a team can dress during a game.
But a lack of healthy bodies doesn't fully explain the team's lack of goal production, said Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery. And it won't be used as an excuse for losing.
"It's been a combination of things, but none them are excuses for not scoring in the last three games," Carbery said. "We've been a little unlucky the last couple of games. We've had some great scoring chances and hit some posts, but the bottom line is we're just not scoring, and that's unacceptable. We've got guys in the lineup that have proven they can score in this league, but right now we're just not getting the job done."
Already down two skaters, the Stingrays started the week by getting shut out by Gwinnett, 4-0, the day after Christmas. During the game, the Stingrays also lost Billy Ryan for two games after he was suspended by the league for an elbowing penalty.
A short two-hour bus ride up I-85 to Greenville the following night did not change the Stingrays luck. The Stingrays were again held without a goal in a 2-0 loss to Greenville with 13 skaters.
"That was probably the best game we've played in three weeks," said Stingrays captain Matt Scherer. "We ran into a really hot goalie, and we didn't get any bounces. We had a couple of great scoring chances and either the goalie made a great save or we hit a post. That's the kind of luck we've been having lately."
Defenseman Phil Oresckovic became the latest casualty against the Road Warriors. He skated two shifts on Wednesday night in the Stingrays' 3-0 loss to Gwinnett.
"We played most of the Gwinnett game with 12 skaters," Carbery said. "That's the way things go sometimes in this league. Guys have to find a way to battle through it and still get the job done."
The Stingrays hope to get some healthy bodies back in the lineup tonight against the Everblades. The Stingrays will welcome Maxime Lacroix and rookie defenseman Brett Flemming to the lineup. Both were sent down from Hershey, of the American Hockey League.
Lacroix started the season with the Stingrays, playing in just two games before getting called up to the Bears. Flemming, a fifth-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals in 2009, has played in 21 games with Hershey, recording two goals and two assists.
Also hoping to return to the ice is defenseman Nick Tabisz, while Carbery said there's also a chance that forward Anthony Maiani and defenseman Johann Kroll could see action against the Everblades.
"Nick should play, but Anthony and Johann are questionable," Carbery said. "We're not counting on any of them playing, so if we get them back that's one more body we didn't have earlier in the week. If they can't go, it's business as usual."
Chris Higgins (upper body), Ryan (upper body), Greg Stewart (lower body), James McEwan (lower body) and Phil Oreskovic (lower body) are at least a week away from getting back into the lineup, Carbery said.