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Stingrays Take Gwinnett in Game 1, Look to Stay Undefeated in Preseason

Jeff Jakaitis was on point last night for the Rays (Photo Credit: windycitysun/Flickr)

Jeff Jakaitis was on point last night for the Rays (Photo Credit: windycitysun/Flickr)

Yesterday marked the opening day for the South Carolina Stingrays preseason as they hosted the Gwinnett Gladiators in a season ticket holder only environment. Unfortunately, due to some technical difficulties they were unable to broadcast the game last night, leaving fans with just their Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates. Jeff Jakaitis got the nod between the pipes and did a phenomenal job, earning his team the 3-1 victory as he stopped 16 out of the 17 shots he faced.

Scoring was opened up within the opening minutes of the frame as Justin Maylan was able to slip the puck underneath the blocker of Gwinnett goalie Chris Rawlings. Maylan’s goal would be the only marker of the period, despite some key scoring chances from both ends.

The middle frame allowed the Gladiators to jump right back at the Rays as they scored in similar fashion, just 2:33 into the middle frame to tie things up. The goal was credited to Kevin Veilleux who was able to get a rebound past Jakaitis. Damn those pesky rebounds! However, the goal didn’t set the Rays back for long as they answered again, this time Chris Langkow sealing the deal. Langkow was able to convert for a power play goal to re-gain the lead for South Carolina with just three minutes and change remaining.

To being the third period the Rays had just under two minutes remaining on yet another power play and despite efforts from all five players, they needed a few extra seconds before they could capitalize. A mere two seconds as the powerplay expired Justin Maylan potted his second goal of the night with help from Sparks on defense and Currie. The goal would be the last of the night, leaving the Rays with a 3-1 victory, giving them a 2-0 series advantage when meeting the Gladiators in the preseason.

Today the Stingrays look to remain undefeated as they finish up their preseason against the Road Warriors of Greenville. When meeting up with their in-state rivals, the Stingrays are 1-1-1-1 in the preseason.

In an interview Coach Stork stated;

“…That’s been our slogan, that’s been our theme. Kelly Cup. We have the picture of the Kelly Cup through practices, on the ice with us, in meetings with us. From day one that’s been our stressing point.”

With an outlook like that, you know the Warriors are set to bring their ‘A’ game to the table, despite it only being preseason. The Stingrays need to be mentally and physically prepared for this all out battle in order to make a statement of their own tonight. Once again, this game is only open to season ticket holders, free of charge of course. You can follow the in-game updates from the team’s Twitter or Facebook accounts which are linked above.

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