Eastern Conference Finals Preview

Eastern Conference Finals (Best of Seven)

Manchester Monarchs vs. South Carolina StingraysSeries Matchup SheetAfter meeting five times during the 2016-17 regular season, Manchester and South Carolina meet in the Eastern Conference Finals with a spot in the 2017 Kelly Cup Finals up for grabs.

Manchester is appearing in the Conference Finals for the first time after defeating Adirondack 4 games to 2 in the North Division Semifinals and Brampton 4 games to 2 in the North Division Finals. After finishing second in the Eastern Conference with 23 home wins during the regular season, the Monarchs have gone 4-1 at SNHU Arena in the first two rounds of the playoffs, outscoring their opposition 18-6 in the five games. The Monarchs are second in the postseason, allowing 2.08 goals-against per game.

Matt Leitner and Ashton Rome share the team lead in the playoffs with six goals each while Leitner has posted a team-best 14 points. Zac Lynch  is second among rookies in the playoffs with five goals while fellow rookie Quentin Shore is second among first-year players with 11 points (4g-7a). Sam Brittain is tied for the playoff lead with eight wins while ranking second in minutes played (719) and saves (337), fourth in goals-against average (2.09) and fifth in save percentage (.931).

South Carolina is appearing in the Conference Finals for the third straight season, joining the Cincinnati Cyclones (2008, 2009 and 2010) as the only two teams to accomplish that feat in ECHL history. The Stingrays have captured a league record-tying three championships (1997, 2001 and 2009) and are making their sixth all-time appearance in the Conference Finals. South Carolina eliminated Greenville 4 games to 2 in the South Division Semifinals before defeating the division’s top seed, Florida, 4 games to 1 in the South Division Finals. The Stingrays have also been enjoying success on home ice, winning each of their six playoff games at the North Charleston Coliseum by a cumulative score of 23-4. South Carolina is the playoff leader on the penalty kill, allowing just four goals on 52 opposition power-play opportunities (92.3 percent).    

Rob Flick is tied for third in the postseason with seven goals and he is tied for sixth with 13 points. Parker Milner has eight wins, which is tied for the playoff lead among goaltenders, is while ranking second with two shutouts and a 1.83 goals-against average and tied for third with a .932 save percentage.

Manchester went 2-2-1 against the Stingrays in the regular season while South Carolina had a 3-2-0 record against the Monarchs. Cory Ward led Manchester with six points (2g-4a) while Brittain went 1-1-1 with a 4.02 goals-against average. Flick led South Carolina in the head-to-head series with 10 points (5g-5a) while in goal, Adam Carlson was 1-1-0 with a 3.83 goals-against average.

The winner of the Eastern Conference Finals receives the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy. The trophy is named in recognition of E.A. “Bud” Gingher, who was Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors from 1992-95. Gingher, who passed away in 2002, co-founded the Dayton Bombers in 1991 and owned the team for seven seasons, serving as President and Governor until selling the team in 1998. Gingher was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.

Game 1 – Friday, May 12 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South CarolinaGame 2 – Saturday, May 13 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South CarolinaGame 3 – Monday, May 15 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South CarolinaGame 4 – Friday, May 19 at 7 p.m. ET at ManchesterGame 5 – Saturday, May 20 at 6 p.m. ET at Manchester (If Necessary) Game 6 – Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m. ET at Manchester (If Necessary) Game 7 – Wednesday, May 24 at 7 p.m. ET at Manchester (If Necessary)