When the South Carolina Stingrays beat the Greenville Road Warriors on February 7th, little did they know it would set off a spark that would ignite into one of the longest winning streaks in ECHL history. On Friday the 13th, they will try to tie and on Saturday the 14th they will look to break the record for longest winning streak in the ECHL, which was set by they 2007-08 Cincinnati Cyclones. More impressive is that they have won 10-straight on the road– which is currently tied with four teams, most recent the 2005-06 Long Beach Ice Dogs.
But how does one quantify the what the Stingrays have done?? You can look straight at the numbers and compare to those in the division. In those 16 wins, the Stingrays have gone from 18-18-1-6 to 34-18-1-6. Since the streak started, the Stingrays have scored 68 goals, only allowing 24, and putting up three shutouts– two by Adam Morrison, one by Jeff Jakaitis. They have had eight games of scoring 5+ goals and 13 games of giving up 2 goals or less.
It has also helped that the Stingrays took 15 of 16 games against their East Division rivals, beating Gwinnett and Greenville five times, Orlando three times, and Florida twice. The other win was the Evansville IceMen. Speaking of the division, the Reading Royals (who also had a 12-game winning streak earlier in the season) had 18 points (8-2-1-1) in since the winning streak, Florida has 17 (8-5-0-1), Orlando has 15 (6-5-1-2), Greenville with 12 points (6-8-0-0), then Elmira putting up 6 points (3-7-0-1), with Gwinnett bringing up the rear with only four points (1-12-1-1). In that streak, the Stingrays have been able to leapfrog Orlando, Greenville, and Elmira in the standings to put them into a solid playoff side of things.
As far as the players, 22 of them were able to collect at least one point during the streak. Captain Andrew Rowe was the one who lead the way with 20 assists and 26 points in those 16 games, while Derek DeBlois put up 10 goals and 21 points before he was called up before he was called up to the Worcester Sharks of the AHL. Another departure was was Braden Pimm, who was moved to Evansville, who put up six goals and 13 points. Only three of the 22 players didn’t score a goal in that span– Scott Ford, Michael Young, and Wade Epp. On the blue line, Lee Moffie (2g, 7a) and Frankie Simonelli (1g, 8a) were the lead Stingrays. In net, Jakaitis had nine wins with Morrison having the other seven.
It’s unknown what coach Spencer Carbery has done to make the chemistry click, but it probably helps that the key players he has during this streak have been there the whole time. With a dual affiliation with Boston and Washington, it’d be easy to dismantle a team if both teams had injuries at the same time. However, the key players have stuck (minus DeBlois late call-up) and everything from offense to goaltending has been on point.
The Stingrays have 13 games left starting with the three-game set this weekend against the Gwinnett Gladiators who have only one win in their last 15 games and are last in the East Division. After that, they only take on one more non-playoff positioned team (Evansville twice); while the rest of the games are against playoff contenders and division rivals. Eight of the last 13 games are on the road, including seven straight before the last game of the season on April 11th against Evansville.
While they cannot look past the Gladiators, it couldn’t have been a better match-up for the Stingrays in order to set the record– a team have have beaten five times during this streak. Luckily, this streak comes just after the City of Charleston pledged some relief for the team in paying some bills, proving the money will be well invested. With a lot of momentum heading into the final month of the season can only bode well in terms of confidence and chemistry of the team. If they can get DeBlois back, then they can really be a solid pick for the Kelly Cup playoffs.
For an added bonus, the night of the possible record-breaking is also Ric Flair Night. To be the man, you have to beat the man…the Stingrays hope that will ring very true come Saturday.