At this point in the season, the South Carolina Stingrays can’t afford to take any team for granted, even the Toledo Walleye.
The Walleye have the worst record in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference and the Stingrays have outscored them 11-0 in two previous games this season.
But the way the Stingrays have been playing of late, there are going to be no easy victories.
The Rays need a win in the worst sort of way to give them some much-needed confidence.
With 10 players called up to the AHL and three guys out with injuries, the Rays have plenty of excuses for their recent struggles. But if this team is going to compete for a Kelly Cup title, they’ll have to figure out how to win when they don’t have everyone in the lineup.
You’ll remember the last time the Rays and Walleye faced each other. The Rays came away with a 7-0 win and Walleye coach Nick Vitucci skated the team for 60 minutes after the loss much like Herb Brooks did to the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team after sub-par performance in Europe.
I assume the Walleye remembered that embarrassment and will want to exact a little revenge.
OK, an update on some of injuries.
Defenseman Jeremy Price (concussion) is expected to start skating by the end of the week, but he might not be ready to play until next weekend (March 1). Forward Chad Painchaud (concussion) is on the 21-day IR and won’t be able to return until sometime in March, if then. He has not started skating yet either.
Defenseman Kevin Quick (leg) is hoping to start skating in a couple of weeks and be back by the middle of March.
Here’s a game story from the Walleye’s 5-2 loss to Cincinnati over the weekend that appeared in the Toledo Blade.
Scouting the Walleye
Head Coach: Nick Vitucci (8th season) 289-250-52.
Record: 16-19-3, 35 points (13th in Eastern Conference)
AHL Affiliation: Grand Rapids Griffins/Rockford IceHogs
NHL Affiliation: Detroit Red Wings/Chicago Black Hawks
All-time series: 17-1-0.
Season series: 2-0-0.
GF: 2.89, (13th)
GA: 3.72, (22nd)
PP: 19.3% (2nd)
PK: 83.6% 14th)
Top Scorer: FW Travis Novak (34 GP, 9g, 18a, 27 pts)
Top Goalie: Mac Carruth (8-12-0, 3.14 GAA, .902 save)
2013-14 Stingrays vs. Walleye
Nov. 27 at Toledo 7-0 Win
Nov. 29 at Toledo 4-0 Win