Game 1 Preview-Wheeling at South Carolina, 7:05 p.m.May 13, 2016
2016 KELLY CUP PLAYOFFS: EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS-GAME 1
Wheeling Nailers (8-5-0 playoffs, 37-26-5-4 regular season)
South Carolina Stingrays (8-3-1 playoffs, 44-18-7-3 regular season)
North Charleston Coliseum, 7:05 p.m.
The South Carolina Stingrays host the Wheeling Nailers for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals this evening. Both teams are coming off Game 7 overtime wins in their respective Eastern Conference Semifinals series. On Wednesday, the Stingrays defeated Adirondack in double-overtime in Game 7 on a Joe Devin goal, while the Nailers took down the Reading Royals in overtime on a Riley Brace goal. The two teams met twice during the regular season with both games taking place in Wheeling. South Carolina was 1-1-0-0 versus the Nailers in those games. The winner of the Eastern Conference Finals will play the winner of the Allen Americans/Fort Wayne Komets series in the Kelly Cup Finals.
THIRD TIMES A CHARM
This is the third time in ECHL history the Stingrays have met Wheeling in the postseason. The Stingrays are looking to change their fortunes against the Nailers as they are just 1-7 in the playoffs versus Wheeling. The Nailers won a best-of-five Conference Quarterfinals series in 2011, and swept the Stingrays, 4-0, in the 2014 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. This is the fifth time in team history, and the second straight season, the Stingrays have advanced to the Conference Finals.
FAMILIAR FACES IN NEW PLACES
South Carolina’s roster features a pair of former Nailers. Both Bobby Shea and Nick D’Agostino skated with Wheeling last season. Shea appeared in 36 games, scoring 10 points, while D’Agostino skated in five games with five points. The Nailers roster features forward Andrew Ammon who skated with the Stingrays in 2014-15, notching 11 points in 38 games. Forward Jordan Kwas, who scored five points in 17 games with South Carolina earlier this season, is also a member of the Nailers. He has seven points in 13 playoff games.
In the postseason, South Carolina is allowing a league-low 2.08 goals per game, and allowing a league-low 24.17 shots per game in the postseason. Meanwhile, the Nailers allow 3.08 goals per game, and are facing an average of 32.15 shots per game.
In the playoffs, South Carolina is led by Joe Devin. He leads the ECHL with nine playoff goals and is tied for the team-lead with 13 points with Kelly Zajac. The Nailers top skaters in the Kelly Cup Playoffs are forward Riley Brace (four goals, nine assists) and defenseman Mathew Maione (five goals, eight assists) who both lead the team with 13 points.