IceMen Pull Away Late, Top Swamp Rabbits
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Icemen built a 2-0 lead, and pulled away in the third period en route to a 5-1 victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Saturday night at the Veterans Memorial Arena.
Kris Newbury's breakaway goal early in the third period proved decisive as Maxime Fortier's pass sprung him, and his deke to the backhand found a way through a sprawled Chris Nell to extend Jacksonville's one goal lead to two at 3-1.
They would further ice the game with an empty net goal from Fortier, and while on a penalty kill, a puck that had touched goaltender Mikhail Berdin found a way back into the Greenville net, and counted for the 14th goal in ECHL history credited to a goaltender.
The Swamp Rabbits, down 2-0 in the second period, battled back to cut the lead to one. On a giveaway by the Icemen behind their net on the power play, Jordan Sims feathered a pass to Stephen Pierog cutting towards the net, and his chip shot beat Berdin at the 10:28 mark of the second period for his fourth of the season. Prior to that, the momentum belonged to Jacksonville, who had back-to-back 5-on-3 power play opportunities, but could not score.
Sam Vigneault got the scoring started and started the cascade of stuffed animals from the stands on a teddy bear toss night with a deflection on a feed from Newbury halfway through the first period. Garret Cockerill extended the lead for Jacksonville at 4-on-4, as, off of a clean faceoff win, he dragged the puck down the left wing and beat Nell short side.
Greenville's penalty kill continued their improvement, having killed off 5 of 6 opportunities on the night, allowing just the power play goal by Vigneault in the first period. The Swamp Rabbits picked up three out of a possible six points on the three-game road swing.
The Swamp Rabbits return home on Wednesday, November 28 against the Norfolk Admirals at 10:30 a.m. If you cannot make it to the game, catch all of the action on ESPN Upstate.
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