ECHL: South Carolina Falls to Red Hot Swamp Rabbits

The Stingrays were back in action at the North Charleston Collesium to take on their cross-state rivals, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Greenville sits at the top of the Eastern Conference and the Southern Division, winning the last nine games out of ten matchups. Coach Brenden Kotyk went with the same lineup from Wednesday night, where the Stingrays shut out the Icemen on their home ice. Mitchell Gibson would get another start between the pipes.

Gibson was outstanding right out of the gate, stopping five shots in the first five minutes. The Stingrays went on the penalty kill halfway into the period, and showed why they have one of the best PKs in the league. Patrick Harper met up with Tyson Empey right off the power play, creating a huge scoring opportunity, but the pair couldn’t get past Jacob Ingham. 

Things started to heat up in the second period, as the Swamp Rabbits went on an early power play. Michael Kim came up big, blocking a shot and killing the penalty. Benton Maass took down forward Nikita Pavlychev behind the goal, sending him off the ice injured. He would return to the ice midway through the period, with a cage. 

The Leppard-Adams- Wilkins line pushed some much-needed momentum for the Stingrays bench, getting things moving in front of the net. Michael Kim slammed a shot towards the goal, and Austin Magera screened and snuck the rebound past Ingham, timing the game at one all. Lordanthony Grissom would answer back for Greenville, 24 seconds later as South Carolina left him undefended in front of the goal crease. The Swamp Rabbits continued their streak, taking advantage of the turnovers from South Carolina. Nick Prkusic would get the rebound off of Gibson to record his second of the year. The Stingrays would get a chance to tie up the score but would let the penalty die. 

The third period was a repeat of the second, as the Stingrays went on the early penalty kill again, as Austin Magera was hauled into the box after 30 seconds of play. This lit a fire under the club, as the Wilkins line once again got the offense moving again. The Stingrays would once again be a man down, as Kevin O’Neil was hauled into the box with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Special teams were looking good killing the penalty, but just as O’Neil returned to the ice, Brannon McManus lit up the lamp. Lordanthony Grissom would send another puck past Gibson’s glove, giving the Swamp Rabbits a 4-1 lead. South Carolina finally was able to hit some net in the third period, as Josh Wilkins had a perfect rebound onto his stick from Ingham, making it 4-2. The Stingrays were finally able to get some passes down, giving them a chance to make a comeback. With less than two minutes to go, Gibson headed to the bench, giving them the man advantage. Tyson Empey chomped down the score within one with 30 seconds remaining in the period, tallying his sixth goal of the year. The Stingrays fought until the last second of the period but couldn’t settle up to force overtime. 

The Stingrays will be back in the North Charleston Coliseum on Wednesday, November 29th to face the Trois-Rivieres Lions and on Friday, December 1st, against the Savannah Ghost Pirates. 

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