Eastern Conference Finals PreviewMay 9, 2017
The South Carolina Stingrays will make their third consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals, beginning a best-of-seven series against the Manchester Monarchs this weekend. The matchup begins with Game 1 on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 p.m.
South Carolina is affiliated with the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, while Manchester is an affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL and the Ontario Reign in the AHL. Earlier this year the two teams met for the first time ever during the regular season, with the Stingrays holding a 3-2 record through five matchups.
The Monarchs began play in the ECHL at the start of the 2015-16 season and appeared in the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs, losing in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the Adirondack Thunder in five games. This year, the team finished with a record of 37-24-11 during the regular season and got revenge on the Thunder during the North Division Semifinals with a series win in six games. Manchester then knocked off the Brampton Beast in six games to advance to the third round.
During the five regular season meetings between the Rays and Monarchs, South Carolina was led by forward Rob Flick who had 10 points (five goals, five assists) along with Domenic Monardo who notched eight points (two goals, six assists). Steven McParland also had plenty of success with four points (one goal, three assists) during three games in Manchester, but was in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves during the weekend series in SC Feb. 17-18.
Flick and Monardo have also led the Stingrays during the postseason as the linemates are tied for the team lead in scoring, each with 13 points. Monardo has been on the scoresheet in 10 of the team’s 11 postseason contests, including seven points (three goals, four assists) during the five games against Florida in the South Division Finals.
Manchester was led by forwards Cory Ward and Rihards Bukarts in the five games against the Stingrays, each picking up six points. Bukarts led the Monarchs with four goals, while Daniel Doremus and Connor Hardowa each assisted on four tallies.
During the regular season, it was forward Matt Leitner who led the Monarchs in scoring with 53 points (14 goals, 39 assists). Other major contributors included former Stingrays forward Joe Diamond (50 points), Doremus (49 points) and Quentin Shore (43 points).
During their 24-year ECHL history, the Stingrays have more playoff wins than any other franchise with 118. South Carolina has qualified for the postseason in 23 of their seasons, including 10 straight campaigns. The Rays’ three Kelly Cup titles are tied with the Alaska Aces for the most of any team in league history.
The teams made a highly publicized trade with each other on March 6 when the Rays acquired forward Derek Arnold from the Monarchs in exchange for defenseman Colton Saucerman. Arnold, who had scored 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 53 games for Manchester, appeared in 12 games down the stretch with South Carolina, scoring nine points (three goals, six assists). In the playoffs, Arnold has posted four points (2 goals, 2 assists) through 10 games.
Saucerman played 42 games for the Stingrays this year before the swap and had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 11 regular season contests after joining Manchester before posting six points (one goal, five assists) in 12 playoff games. Saucerman was a member of last season’s Stingrays Eastern Conference Finals playoff roster.
Single game tickets for Games 1, 2 and 3 are on sale now at the North Charleston Coliseum Box Office and online at ticketmaster.com. A full schedule of the Eastern Conference Finals series is shown below.
To secure seats for all home playoff action, sign up for our ‘Pay As We Play’ ticket package, on sale now through the Stingrays office. You will be locked in for all the excitement of the postseason and only pay for the games that are hosted at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Groups of 10 or more are on sale now featuring discounted pricing. For more information or to place an order call the Stingrays front office at 843-744-2248 or stop by 3300 W. Montague Ave. Suite A-200 during business hours.
Game 1 – Manchester at South Carolina – Friday, May 12 at 7:05 p.m. (Round 3, Game A)
Game 2 – Manchester at South Carolina – Saturday, May 13 at 7:05 p.m. (Round 3, Game B)
Game 3 – Manchester at South Carolina – Monday, May 15 at 7:05 p.m. (Round 3, Game C)
Game 4 – South Carolina at Manchester – Friday, May 19 at 7 p.m.
Game 5* – South Carolina at Manchester – Saturday, May 20 at 6 p.m.
Game 6* – South Carolina at Manchester – Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m.
Game 7* – South Carolina at Manchester – Wednesday, May 24 at 7 p.m.