Greenville Seeking Luck of the Irish in Norfolk
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (21-34-7-1), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, will meet the Norfolk Admirals (24-32-6-1) for the final time this season at 7 p.m. tonight. The final game at the Norfolk Scope will wrap up the weekend for the Swamp Rabbits and is the sixth game between the South Division opponents. After a 6-3 finish last night, the Admirals have pushed into fifth place in the South Division, just six points behind Atlanta for a playoff spot. The Swamp Rabbits are three points behind Jacksonville in sixth place with a pair of games scheduled for next weekend between the clubs.
BACK UP TO THE AHL
The Swamp Rabbits will be without the services of forward Dawson Leedahl this evening as the winger was reassigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack this morning. The rookie heads to the AHL for the second time this season after logging 30 games from December through February. The 6-foot-1 forward from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan posted six points (1G, 5A) in his first action with Hartford. With Greenville, Leedahl has recorded 21 points (9G, 12) in 24 games to rank eighth on the team in scoring. The WHL product has played the last six games in Greenville, notching four points (2G, 2A) in those games.
DEBUT'S ACROSS THE BOARD
Three skaters made their pro hockey debut last night including Swamp Rabbits forward Ryan Ferrill. Norfolk skaters Zane Schartz and T.J. Moore also tasted their first action in the pro ranks last night. Both Ferrill and Moore skated the last four seasons together at the College of the Holy Cross while Schartz came from the ACHA program at Liberty University. The defenseman was the only skater to earn his first pro point in the game, notching an assist for the Admirals.
HALF A MILLENIUM
Swamp Rabbits Head Coach Brian Gratz will be behind the bench for his 500th career game tonight. Gratz took over the bench for the Swamp Rabbits three years ago and has guided the team to 90 wins in his tenure. Gratz joined the organization in 2014 as an assistant coach and was promoted to Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations the following season. Now in his 8th season as a head coach, Gratz also made stops in Indiana (MAHL), Jersey (EPHL), Dayton (CHL), and Bloomington (CHL/SPHL). The Penn State University alum began coaching in 2007 after wrapping up his pro career and even spent a year with his alma mater as a goaltending coach during the 2009-10 season.
Admirals forward Christian Horn had a four-point performance on Friday night for the first time in his ECHL career. The winger net his second career hat trick, which included the game winning goal. Horn has bounced across teams over the last six years, manning nine different programs in the NCAA, USHL, SPHL, and ECHL. The Plymouth, Minnesota native has collected 28 points (14G, 14A) in 35 games with the Admirals this year and ranks sixth on the team in scoring.
Rookie defenseman Sean Flanagan has notched assists in each of the last two games and ranks sixth among first-year blue liners with 21 helpers.
J.T. Henke has notched goals in three of the last four games.
Norfolk's top line (Dupont, Besse, Horn) has accounted for over 31% of the club's offensive production this season.
Admirals captain Brodie Dupont has earned 14 points (4G, 10A) in five games against Greenville this year and is second in the ECHL scoring race with 67 points (21G, 46A).
Grant Besse leads all rookies in the ECHL with 61 points (29G, 32A) in 59 games.
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