The Rays return home with a 2-1 series lead. The Rays went 21-7-5-3 (W-L-OTL-SOL) at home in the regular season. The Rays will look to Joe Devin to continue his elevated game this postseason. Devin has recorded four points in the first three games this postseason. He is a notable playoff performer, similar to Justin Williams. Last spring, Devin scored 13 goals including a 3OT goal that crowned the Rays as Eastern Conference Champions.
Devin has not been the only Ray to step up; David Pacan has four assists in the series so far. In addition, ten of his last twelve points were assists to conclude the regular season in the months of March and April.
Returning home can also bring a much needed special teams boost to South Carolina. The Rays were the fourth best power play team in the ECHL during the regular season at 19.6%. Unfortunately the number has dropped all the way to just 10% in the first three games. In addition, the penalty kill has fallen from 87.5% (first in the ECHL) down to 78.6% so far this series. The Rays will look to use the home ice crowd to give them the boost they need.
It should help coming home to an actual crowd. The Wings Event Center averaged the lowest attendance of all ECHL teams during the regular season (2,298) and only 1,011 over the last three games. South Carolina averaged 3,957 fans over the regular season and 3,238 during last year’s playoff run.
Tonight will be a pivotal Game 4. Either the series will become a best of three, or the Kalamazoo wings will have to win three straight on the road to advance. You can listen to Zack Fisch cover the game here.