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Hart and Saponari Return from AHL

January 6, 2016 - ECHL (ECHL) - Greenville Swamp Rabbits News Release

Greenville, SC - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced a trio of roster moves prior to the team's three-game homestand against Florida this weekend.

Forward Brian Hart has been reassigned from the AHL's Syracuse Crunch by the Tampa Bay Lightning, while forward Vinny Saponari has been returned from loan by the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals. In addition, defenseman Charlie Dodero has been recalled to Syracuse for the third time this season.

A native of Cumberland, Maine, Hart boasts eight points (6g, 2a) and two penalty minutes in 21 games with the Swamp Rabbits this season. He made his professional debut with Greenville on October 23 and went on to score six goals in his first 11 pro contests. Hart also made eight appearances with Syracuse this season, recording his first career AHL goal on December 26 against Springfield.

Prior to turning pro, the 22-year-old rookie skated three seasons at Harvard University from 2012-15. In 98 career games, Hart recorded 18 goals and 32 assists for 50 points. He ranked sixth on the Crimson last season with a career-best seven goals and tied for seventh in points (17).

The 6'3, 212-pound forward was selected in the second round, #53 overall, by Tampa Bay in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He signed a three-year, two-way NHL contract with the Lightning on June 28.

Saponari, 25, has spent the majority of the season in the American Hockey League, playing 18 games for Portland, Lake Erie and Milwaukee. During his latest call-up, the third-year pro collected three assists in 11 games with the Admirals. Saponari also amassed five points (5a) in four games with the Swamp Rabbits this season, and added two penalty minutes and a +4 rating.    

A native of Powder Springs, Georgia, Saponari is coming off a breakout 2014-15 season with Greenville, in which he led the club with 69 points and tied for 17th in overall league scoring. Saponari also notched a team-high 51 assists (tied for fifth in the ECHL) and added five power-play goals. Those totals, along with his 18 goals and +17 rating, all served as career-bests. In addition, Saponari played three games with Hartford last season and registered one assist.

Overall, Saponari has made 86 ECHL appearances with Greenville and Cincinnati, and 86 AHL appearances with St. John's, Milwaukee, Hartford, Lake Erie and Portland.

Prior to turning pro, the 6'1, 195-pound forward split his collegiate career between Boston University (2008-2010) and Northeastern University (2011-13). During his freshman season at Boston in 2008-09, he earned 17 points (8g, 9a) and 44 penalty minutes, and helped capture the 2009 NCAA Championship. He also played one season of junior hockey in the United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2010-11. In 56 regular-season games, he tallied 64 points (18g, 46a) and a +17 rating, with an additional nine points (5g, 4a) in 11 playoff contests, to help Dubuque win the 2011 Clark Cup Championship.

Saponari was selected in the fourth round (#94 overall) by his hometown team, the Atlanta Thrashers, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Dodero, 23, recorded three assists and 66 penalty minutes in 23 appearances with the Swamp Rabbits this season. He also played two games with Syracuse during his latest call-up. The Swamp Rabbits acquired his ECHL rights on September 22 in trade with Idaho for future considerations.

A third-year pro, Dodero spent the majority of last season with the Crunch, recording five points (1g, 4a), 72 penalty minutes and a +7 rating in 36 games. He also played 33 contests with Idaho and notched 12 points (3g, 9a) and 81 penalty minutes during his second professional campaign.

Dodero made his pro debut with Greenville during the 2013-14 campaign and notched two assists and 22 penalty minutes in 14 games in the Upstate. He also produced 19 points (4g, 15a) and 75 penalty minutes in 44 regular-season games for the Steelheads. In addition, the Bloomingdale, Illinois native earned five points (1g, 4a) in 11 playoff contests with Idaho in 2013-14.

Prior to turning pro, the 6'2, 190-pound blue-liner played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with Kitchener and Sudbury from 2009-2013. He compiled 69 points (11g, 58a) in 248 career games. Dodero also spent one season in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with Tri-City during the 2008-09 season.

Thirsty Thursday: The Swamp Rabbits return to SANDLAPPER Securities Rink at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena tomorrow with a 7 p.m. battle against the first-place Florida Everblades. It's another "Thirsty Thursday", featuring $2 domestic drafts during Hockey Happy Hour from 6-8 p.m. Limited $5 tickets are available at the box office.

Cap Giveaway: The first 1,000 fans through the doors this Friday will receive a special-edition Swamp Rabbits' baseball cap presented by 92.5 WESC! In addition, the Greenville News Family Fun Pack will be available, featuring four (4) red-level tickets, four (4) hot dogs, four (4) bags of chips, four (4) fountain drinks and two (2) Swamp Rabbits' foam fingers for just $60! Doors open at 6 p.m. Click here to purchase the Greenville News Family Fun Pack.

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 extended to include a stop at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The expanded route will operate for all Swamp Rabbits' games taking place Thursdays through Sundays during normal trolley service hours.

Call 864-674-7825 or visit 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 to browse the full collection of fan wear and novelties!

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