THE TALON

Stingrays 24th Playoff Appearance

Stingrays forward, Trevor Gillies, gives a preview of the upcoming playoff series against the Orlando Solar Bears.

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Trevor Gillies and I following the interview.

The South Carolina Stingrays are known for having victorious regular seasons that consistently turn into post season success. They have gone to the playoffs 24 out of their 25 seasons and are tied for the most Kelly Cups won (3). This year was no exception as the Stingrays had a record breaking regular season. The 2017- 2018 Rays became the winningest team in franchise history with 48 wins. Additionally, the Stingrays allowed the least goals against and the fewest power play goals awarding them with the best defense in ECHL history. Parker Milner also led the league with a 1.86 goals against average which earned him ECHL goaltender of the year. This is only the beginning for this team though as their quest for their fourth Kelly Cup began on Thursday.

I sat down with veteran forward and team leader, Trevor Gillies, to see how the Stingrays were feeling about the first round of the playoffs against the Orlando Solar Bears.

Playoffs in professional hockey are a completely different beast than regular season hockey entirely. The crowds are louder, the physicality of the game is increased, and the emotions on and off the ice are heightened. Gillies said that everything is just “ramped up in intensity.” He described playoff hockey like “being under a magnifying glass constantly.” Every player’s action is incredibly important to the outcome of the game. Even little mistakes can cost you games like “unnecessary penalties or not getting the puck out first on wall battles.”

Although the Stingrays are missing a few pieces to their team because of injuries and call ups to the AHL, the team has mostly remained consistent over the past few weeks. Players such as Jonathan Charbonneau and Jake Kamrass have moved into the lineup and made significant contributions to the team. Gillies said that these young, college players have come in and stepped up to the plate, ensuring their spot on the playoff roster.

We like our team. Young guys have come in and been contributors, not just passengers. They’ve come in and made a statement, saying ‘hey, I’m here and this is pro hockey.’ They’re making their mark”

— Trevor Gillies #51

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With the Stingrays consistent success at the end of the season, especially winning 4 games against Orlando, there isn’t much they should adjust before the playoffs begin. The Stingrays just need to ensure that they stay focused during the playoffs and remember the strategies that brought them success in the regular season. Gillies commented on this saying that although they’re a skilled team, they “need to work on their physicality as a forward group and have all of the little guys finishing their checks so it’s not easy for [Orlando].”

He also said it was important to “let guys know that its gonna be ramped up in intensity and faster. And even if we might not get the calls, keep an even keel, don’t let your emotions get too wound up, stay level headed.”

Trevor Gillies understands the significance of being in the playoffs since he’s played 19 years pro, yet only had a “legitimate chance at winning a championship 3 times.” He’s embraced his leadership role on the team though and continues to serve as a mentor to all of the younger players on the team. Currently, in addition to his role with the Stingrays team, he has partnered up with Effective Aggression to develop a clothing line with great quality t-shirts that support a company that does so much for cancer research.

The Stingrays already hosted the Solar Bears on Thursday and Saturday at home in the North Charleston Coliseum. Although the Rays lost both games, it is a seven game series so there is plenty of time for the Stingrays to reestablish themselves in this round one matchup. The team looks to find their rhythm again down in Orlando on this Thursday (19) and Saturday (22).

If you want to find out more about Trevor Gillies and his clothing line, follow him on Instagram @TG51wildman and at http://www.effectiveaggression.com/tg51/

The South Carolina Stingrays seek their 4th Kelly Cup in the playoffs.

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