Stingrays receive six from Hershey, acquire Higgins from Wranglers

North Charleston, S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays and Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Spencer Carbery announced today that forwards Maxime Lacroix, David de Kastrozza, Matt Pope, defenseman Phil Oreskovic and goaltenders Daren Machesney and Philipp Grubauer have been assigned to the team by the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League and that the team has acquired the rights to forward Chris Higgins from the Las Vegas Wranglers in exchange for future considerations.

Lacroix, 24, split last season between the Stingrays and the Bears recording 10 points (7g-3a) in 13 games with the Stingrays and 16 points (6g-10a) in 57 contests for the Bears. The two-time Kelly Cup champion (South Carolina, 2009 and Cincinnati, 2010) appeared in 63 games for the Stingrays during the 2008-09 season scoring 33 goals and 31 assists for 64 points and skated in all 23 Kelly Cup playoff contests netting 18 points (13g-5a) as the team captured their ECHL-record third Kelly Cup title.

de Kastrozza, 24, also split time between South Carolina and Hershey during his rookie campaign in 2010-11 netting 26 points (15g-11a) in 40 games for the Rays and five tallies (1g,-4a) in 25 games for the Bears. Prior to turning pro, the Toms River, N.J. product played for four years at the University of Maine where he earned 26 points (9g-17a) in 85 games. 

Pope, 27, signed with the Stingrays on Aug. 19, and buried four goals and seven assists in 55 games with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) last season. The Langley, British Columbia native was selected as a starter for the 2009 ECHL All-Star Game in Reading, and named to the 2009 ECHL All-Rookie Team as a member of the Bakersfield Condors.

Oreskovic, 24, is currently the only player on the Stingrays with National Hockey League experience having dressed in 10 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008-09 grabbing two points (1g-1a). Last season, the North York, Ontario native competed in 14 games with the Bears registering 22 penalty minutes.

Machesney, 24, appeared in 15 games with the Stingrays in 2006-07 going 5-8-2 with a 3.30 goals-against average and a .888 save percentage. The Hamilton, Ontario native saw time with the Victoria Salmon Kings, Elmira Jackals and Reading Royals of the ECHL and the Springfield Falcons and Worcester Sharks of the AHL last season earning a 7-18-1 record with a 3.84 GAA and a .884 save percentage.

Grubauer, 19, enters his first professional season after completing his junior career with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League where he went 22-13-3 with a 3.62 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. A native of Rosenheim, Germany, the Washington Capitals-prospect was a member of the OHL and Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires in 2009-10 going 13-1-2 with a 2.37 GAA and .906 save percentage.

Higgins, 25, potted seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 21 games with the Wranglers last season. The Lynnfield, Mass. native began the 2010-11 year with Ritten Renon in Italy where he picked up 20 points (9g-11a) in 21 contests.