Stingrays win game one in Kelly Cup American Conference Finals

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The South Carolina Stingrays have taken an early lead in their bid to win the Kelly Cup American Conference Finals against the Cincinnati Cyclones.

Read more stories on this subject in our hockey topic page.On Saturday they won 7-4 by scoring early and often at the North Charleston Coliseum.

"I thought it was good that we won," said Assistant Coach Cail MacLean. "I did think that we needed a much more consistent effort and we will work towards that in game two."

Here's all about the game from the Stingrays:

The Rays got things started out on the right foot as they put up 15 shots and two goals in the first 20 minutes of play against Cincinnati. At 11:52, Michael Dubuc chipped in a rebound off a Scott Romfo shot from the point to get the Rays on the board first. The goal was Dubuc’s second of the playoffs and was assisted by Romfo and Travis Morin to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. Later in the period, at 16:52, they doubled their lead on a Jeff Corey tally. After Pierre-Luc O’Brien worked the puck out of the zone, he found Trent Campbell all alone at the blue line. Campbell brought the puck in the zone and found Jeff Corey coming in on the far side post with Corey backhanding the puck in the open net. The goal was Corey’s sixth of the playoffs, tying him for most on the team and giving the Rays a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.

The second period started much like the first one, with the Rays adding to their lead. At 5:36 of the period, Keith Johnson slipped a shot in past goalie Ryan Nie with the extra attacker on due to a delayed penalty. The goal was Johnson’s fifth of the game assisted by Dubuc and Scott Romfo and made the score 3-0. Cincinnati would get on the board on an Ian McKenzie shot at 8:50 of the period to make it 3-1. The Rays pushed it to a three goal lead once again on Dubuc’s second goal of the game, a power play shot from the top of the near side circle. The goal came at 11:53 and was assisted by Johann Kroll and Spencer Carbery. Nie was taken out of the game at that point in favor of Loic Lacasse. Lacasse let one by on a tipped shot at 12:28 giving the Rays a 5-1 lead. The goal was scored by Matt Scherer who tipped in a Romfo shot and was Scherer’s seventh goal of the season. Scherer added to his team lead by scoring his second goal of the game, and his eighth goal of the playoffs, after he slipped by the defense on a breakaway. The goal came at 14:50 and was assisted by Campbell and Nikita Kashirsky to make it a 6-1 lead heading into the third period.

Cincinnati went on the offensive early in the third scoring just :10 seconds into the period on a five-on-three by Barret Ehgoetz and another at 1:08 on the power play by Matt Macdonald to cut the lead to 6-3. It would dwindle even more when Mark Van Guilder scored on a penalty shot after he was pulled down from behind on a breakaway. Van Guilder’s goal made it a 6-4 score, but Cincinnati would not get any closer. At 18:35, with the goaltender pulled, Pierre-Luc O’Brien fired a shot into the empty net to seal the victory 7-4.

The winning goaltender was Jonathan Boutin who stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced. The losing goaltender was Lacasse who stopped 11 of the 13 shots he had faced in 26:47. Nie stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced in 31:53 but did not factor into the decision. The Rays went 1-8 on the power play while killing off three of the five short handed situations they faced.

The Stingrays play again in Charleston on Monday night at 7:05. If you can’t make it to the game, you can listen to it at Sports Radio 1450. -- Here's the full series schedule.

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