Glads Surge, Top Swamp Rabbits
DULUTH, Ga. - For the third consecutive game, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits opened the scoring. However, also for the third consecutive game, the opposition caught fire. Three unanswered goals, including two goals to start the third period, powered the Atlanta Gladiators past the Swamp Rabbits 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at the Infinite Energy Arena.
Joseph Widmar scored on the power play, and Matt Lane added a necessary insurance goal in the closing moments of the third period to stave off Greenville's comeback attempt. Widmar's goal came on a carryover roughing minor penalty on Michael Pelech. Brady Fleurent posted his first career pro point on a seeing-eye seam pass to Widmar on the back door for the go-ahead goal.
With Kyle Hayton looking to go to the bench for the extra attacker, the transition was snuffed out, and the Glads began a 2-on-1 break. Lane streaked down the left wing and snapped a shot top shelf to add the insurance goal.
With 15 seconds left, the Swamp Rabbits made it interesting. A netmouth scramble led to hacks and whacks from Tyler Bird and Adam Larkin, and eventually, to the stick of Brendan Harms, who stashed home the rebound to get within one. However, on the ensuing set play, the Greenville offense was snuffed out.
The Swamp Rabbits picked up the first goal of the game in the first period on a creative offensive play from below the goal line. Pelech spun a backhand pass to the blue line, where J.C. Brassard punched a touch pass to Danny Elser off the bench. He kicked the puck skate-to-stick and powered a backhander through Sean Bonar's blocker and into the goal to open the scoring.
It was Elser's first pro goal, and it came 12 days after signing a contract with the Swamp Rabbits.
Atlanta tied the game midway through regulation time. With a delayed penalty call on the way, Brett McKenzie, the thorn in the side of the Swamp Rabbits all season long, found Jake Flegel at the point, who powered a one-timer into the back of the net to even the game at one.
Hayton made 26 saves in the game, many of them top quality, as he continues to search for his first win in a Swamp Rabbits uniform. He made all 12 saves in the first period to secure the Swamp Rabbits' lead.
It was a game that featured a fair amount of rough stuff, but only a few power plays. Greenville's only opportunity came up short. Atlanta went 1-for-2 on the man advantage.
The Swamp Rabbits return home on Thursday, March 28 to take on the Jacksonville Icemen at 7:00 p.m. For tickets, go to SwampRabbits.com.
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