GREENVILLE, S.C. – The road to the Kelly Cup Finals comes down to a 205-mile stretch of Interstate 26 in South Carolina. The Swamp Rabbits are making their first conference finals appearance since 2014 (when they were called the Road Warriors,) while the conference finals have become old-hat for the Stingrays, who have appeared in them six prior times in the franchise’s history.
Both teams enter this series playing good hockey. The Stingrays entered the playoffs winning the last six games of the season and have won nine of their last 11, upsetting the Brabham Cup champion Florida Everblades. The Swamp Rabbits enter the series with a 16-6-1 record over their last 23 games.
Final Regular Season Records:
Greenville Swamp Rabbits: 38-19-12-3, 91 points (2nd in Eastern Conference)
South Carolina Stingrays: 34-23-10-3, 81 points (4th in Eastern Conference)
How They Got Here:
Greenville defeated Indy, 3-1, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals
South Carolina defeated Florida, 3-2, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals
Series Schedule (Home Team in BOLD CAPS, all times local, and airing on The Sin Bin App):
#Game 1 – Wednesday, June 16 – Greenville at SOUTH CAROLINA – 7:05 pm ET
Game 2 – Friday, June 18 – South Carolina at GREENVILLE – 7:05 pm ET
Game 3 – Saturday, June 19 – South Carolina at GREENVILLE – 7:05 pm ET
#*Game 4 – Monday, June 21 – Greenville at SOUTH CAROLINA – 7:05 pm ET
^#*Game 5 – Wednesday, June 23 – Greenville at SOUTH CAROLINA – 7:05 pm ET
^ => Greenville would be home team # => Game Played at Carolina Ice Palace * => If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
Greenville won the season series, going 9-3-3 against the Stingrays, but this could have easily gone the other way. Eight of the 15 games were decided in either overtime or a shootout, with an additional two games decided by one goal in regulation.
Max Zimmer led Greenville in the season series with five goals and shared the team lead with Matt Bradley with ten points, while South Carolina was paced by Justin Florek’s four goals and Caleb Herbert’s ten points.
Tale of the Tape:
How Greenville Wins:
The Greenville defense was very tight in the Indy series, allowing an average of 1.50 goals per game, best in the ECHL. If the Swamp Rabbits can continue their strong defensive play, the offense from players like Zimmer, Graham Knott, Shawn Cameron, and Greg Meireles will come to the forefront, and the Swamp Rabbits could be in good shape.
How South Carolina Wins:
The recipe is the same for the Stingrays in this series as it was in the opening round. For the Stingrays to have success, they’ll have to play tighter defense than they did in the Florida series, need Hunter Shepard to remain solid in net, and continue getting significant contributions from the power play (operated at an 18.8% efficiency in the Florida series). The offense for the Stingrays has not been in doubt, with players like Cole Ully, Matthew Weis, Mark Cooper and Dan DeSalvo carrying the water for the club.
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