Comeback Falls Short in 4-3 Loss to Atlanta
Greenville, S.C. - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (6-9-1), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, opened their busiest stretch of the 2015-16 season with a 4-3 setback to the Atlanta Gladiators (8-6-1) on Monday at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Rob Kwiet, Bretton Cameron and Ryan Rashid each scored for the Swamp Rabbits, as the club began a span of five games in seven days. Between the pipes, P.J. Musico (1-1-0) halted 31 shots in his second professional contest. In addition, Greenville dropped to 5-4-1 on SANDLAPPER Securities Rink this season.
Kwiet sparked the Swamp Rabbits' offense at the 9:46 mark of the first period when he pushed home his second goal of the season. During a Greenville power play in which Ian Barteaux sat in the box for hooking, Kwiet side-stepped Atlanta's Justin Buzzeo from the top of the right circle and guided a pass to the back door intended for Darian Dziurzynski. However, the feed caught the right leg pad of goaltender Andy Iles and turned into the back of the net. Dziurzynski registered his team-leading seventh assist on the play.
The Gladiators leveled the score at 1-1 with 15:39 expired in the opening frame. From the right wing, Eric Neiley entered the zone and collected his second tally of the season with a slap shot from the circle that caromed off Sean Escobedo's stick and past Musico's glove.
Max Everson gave Atlanta its first lead at 5:08 of the second period with a shorthanded tally. Mike Merrifield created the attack from the left side and slipped a cross-ice pass to Everson in the right circle, where he unleashed a one-timer for his fourth goal of the season.
Atlanta's captain Derek Nesbitt cushioned the Glads' advantage and made it 3-1 at 16:49 of the second period. During a two-on-one break, Nesbitt entered the zone and pulled up at the bottom of the left circle, where Tyler Elbrecht slid by attempting to break up the play. However, Nesbitt kept possession and forced a low shot inside the right post for his team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Greenville ended Atlanta's scoring spurt just 5:19 into the third period courtesy of Cameron's second goal in as many games. After quick passes from Richard Nejezchleb and Josh Nicholls with the Swamp Rabbits on the power play, Cameron finished a centering feed from Nicholls past the right toe pad of Iles to capture his fifth goal of the season.
Despite making it a one-goal game, the Swamp Rabbits could not even the score and instead, allowed Brock Higgs to make it 4-2 on the power play. With Nicholls in the box for hooking, Nesbitt unloaded a one-timer from the right circle that Musico stopped but could not cover, allowing Higgs to pry it free and finish.
Rashid capped the scoring less than four minutes later with his fourth goal of the season to make it 4-3. At even strength, Jordan Knackstedt filtered a pass from the right wing to the left side where Rashid beat the blocker of Iles at the 14:53 mark.
The Swamp Rabbits pulled Musico with just 82 seconds remaining and applied relentless pressure in the attacking zone, but Iles and the Gladiators' defense came up with several big stops to preserve Atlanta's win.
Greenville finished the contest 2-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. It was the first time this season the Swamp Rabbits have lost when scoring on the man advantage.
Iles (2-1-0) made 27 saves in the win. Atlanta outshot Greenville 35-30.
Next Time Out: The Swamp Rabbits return to action on Wednesday with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop against the Norfolk Admirals in Norfolk, Virginia. Fans can follow all of the action online via ECHL.TV or through the free Mixlr app. The Palmetto Restaurant and Ale House, located at 103 E. Beacon Drive in Greenville, will also be hosting a watch party with live coverage all night long.
Get Social: Follow the Swamp Rabbits all season long and get behind-the-scenes coverage like never before on the team's official Facebook and Twitter pages.
Trolley On Over: Greenville's downtown trolley route has been expanded to include a stop at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The deviated route will operate for all Swamp Rabbits' games taking place Thursdays through Sundays during normal trolley service hours.
Call 864-674-7825 or visit SwampRabbits.com for tickets. Bring a group of 15 or more out to a game and receive great discounts, merchandise offers and hospitality opportunities! Call a Swamp Rabbits Account Executive for more information! Get the latest Swamp Rabbits gear at the "Hop Shop" team store or visit the "Hop Shop" online at SwampRabbits.com/shop to browse the full collection of fan wear and novelties!
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