South Carolina Stingrays Open The Season With A Win

On October 20th, the South Carolina Stingrays dropped the puck against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits for their 25th season. New fans and season ticket holders alike rushed inside the doors greeted by the familiar smell of red velvet funnel cakes, Chick-Fil-A, and various other fair foods. 5,520 people filled the North Charleston Coliseum, donned in red, white, and blue jerseys and t-shirts to show their support for the Rays and their new season.

The opening day festivities began with the annual alumni game at 2 pm, which features some of the most popular former Stingrays players such as Jason Fitzsimmons, Dave Seitz, and Matt Sherer. Then, there was a pregame party with music from 5-7 to get the crowd pumped up for another great hockey season in the Lowcountry.

During the offseason in the ECHL, teams experience a lot of change, bringing many new faces onto the roster for the upcoming season. Despite all of the new players, the team was able to find success on Friday night. Steven Whitney opened the scoring for the Stingrays midway through the first period with a power play goal. The 26 year old Reading, Massachusetts native scored again in the second period to lead the Stingrays to a 4-3 victory. Frankie Simonelli and Andrew Cherniwchan also contributed to the Rays offense with goals late in the first and early in the second period. Another notable star of the game was goaltender Jeff Jakaitis who stopped 28 of the 31 shots he was faced with. The veteran goaltender played for the Stingrays from 2012-2015 and decided to return to Charleston for another season.

Another aspect of the game was the high number of penalty minutes. Between the two teams and over the course of the three periods, there were 54 penalty minutes, varying from minor to major penalties. The Stingrays own Marcus Perrier served 13 of those minutes for fighting, interference, high sticking, and roughing. As a result of the penalties, Greenville was able to capitalize on 2 out of 7 power play chances while the Stingrays only scored 1 power play goal out of 7 chances.

Following the Rays victory, the three stars of the game were announced. Greenville’s Allan McPherson received the third star because of his goal and assist in the game. South Carolina’s Tim McGauley was awarded the second star for his two assists, and Steven Whitney was named the first star of the game for his two goals which propelled the Rays to a victory.

Compared to previous seasons, the Stingrays are off to a great start with an opening night win against Greenville and a Saturday night win away in Jacksonville. The last time the Rays were 2-0 to begin the year was in the 2003-2004 season. With the talented newbies and the 11 returning players on the team, this season promises success. Following the disappointing sweep in the Kelly Cup Finals last season to the Colorado Eagles, fans hope this season will be better and bring a fourth championship to the Lowcountry.

The Rays will travel to Norfolk this weekend for their next pair of games. The next home game at the North Charleston Coliseum is November 5.

Below is a list of a few notable games for this season:

Saturday November 18 – Marvel Night

The Rays will wear specialty Hulk themed jerseys and parking will be free.

Saturday December 2 – Teddy Bear Toss

Fans can bring teddy bears to the game and toss them on to the ice after the Stingrays first goal. All of the bears will be donated to charity.

Friday January 12 – Pucks and Paws Night

Fans can bring their dogs to the game.

Saturday January 27 – Pack the House and Military Appreciation Night

Arguably the biggest night of the season, tickets will be discounted and parking will be free. The team will also wear specialty jerseys to support the military.

Saturday March 10 – Pink in the Rink Night

The team will be wearing specialty jerseys and the ice will be stained pink with all proceeds going to the Share our Suzy of the Lowcountry charity. There will also be a slap wristband giveaway and free parking.

Sunday April 8 – FAN-tastic FAN-ale

The last game of the regular season will be fan appreciation day and there will be a team photo giveaway.

Come out to support the Rays in a game this season!