The South Carolina Stingrays became the first team to reach the Conference Finals in the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs on Thursday with a 2-1 win over Florida in Game 5 of the South Division Finals.
South Carolina advances to the Eastern Conference Finals, where it will meet the winner of the North Division Finals between Manchester and Brampton. The Monarchs lead that series 3 games to 2 with Game 6 set for Friday in Brampton.
This marks the third straight year the Stingrays have reached the Eastern Conference Finals, joining the Cincinnati Cyclones (2008, 2009 and 2010) as the only teams in ECHL history to reach the Conference Finals in three consecutive seasons.
The Stingrays led 2-0 after one period of play on Thursday on goals from Olivier Archambault and Andrew Cherniwchan less than a minute apart at the midway point of the period. South Carolina maintained the two-goal lead until John McCarron tallied 4:33 into the third period to cut the Everblades' deficit to one.
Cherniwchan led South Carolina in the series with four goals while Domenic Monardo posted a team-leading seven points (3g-4a). Parker Milner went 4-1 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a save percentage of .942. Florida was paced by Levko Koper (3g-2a) and Brant Harris (1g-4a) with five points each.
Click here to view the complete schedule and results from the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs.