Rays Take Game 1 with 4-1 WinApr 15, 2016
Five different players enjoyed multi-point evenings to lead the South Carolina Stingrays (1-0) to a 4-1 win over the Kalamazoo Wings (0-1) in Game 1 of the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Stingrays lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0, heading into Game 2 tomorrow night in Kalamazoo. The victory was also the Stingrays' 100th all-time postseason win. They are the first team in ECHL history to accomplish this.
The Wings would jump out to a 1-0 lead at the 9:25 mark of the first period on a goal by Ludwig Blomstrand, but after that tally, South Carolina took the game over. The Stingrays responded just 1:31 later to tie the game, and they'd rattle off four more goals en route to a victory that saw them outshoot the Wings 40-23.
Kelly Zajac would score at 10:56 of the first period to even the score, 1-1. Derek DeBlois stole the puck behind the net and centered a pass to Zajac. He beat a sprawled Martin with a one-time shot for his first goal of the playoffs from the right wing.
In the second period, the Stingrays would score twice to take a commanding lead. A tic-tac-toe passing play saw David Pacan flip a pass across to Caleb Herbert on the backdoor. Herbert redirected the puck over Martin's glove to make it 2-1 Stingrays at 10:16.
At 11:04, the Stingrays would score again. South Carolina forward Joe Devin moved a pass up the ice to DeBlois. He rushed in on a 2-on-1 with Zajac. DeBlois passed to Zajac, and he sent a pass right back to DeBlois, and the forward beat a stunned Martin through the five-hole with a wrist shot to make it 3-1.
Austin Fyten would score the Stingrays final goal in the third period, striking on his own rebound. Fyten's first shot was denied by Martin's right pad, but the rebound came right back to Fyten in the slot. He unleashed a slap shot that beat Martin over the catching glove at 5:05 to make it 4-1 Stingrays.
Fyten, as well as DeBlois, Herbert and Zajac all notched a goal and an assist in the win and Pacan added two assists. Mark Dekanich earned the win in goal, stopping 22 shots for the Stingrays.
The series continues tomorrow night in Kalamazoo with a 7 p.m. puck drop for Game 2. The game can be heard via Mixlr.com/scstingrayshockey or viewed on ECHL.tv. Fans are encouraged to head to King Street Grille-Northwoods for a Watch Party.