Komets Fly by Swamp Rabbits in First of Two Games
Fort Wayne, IN - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (20-30-3-1), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, matched the Fort Wayne Komets (36-13-2-1) out of the gate, exiting the opening period with a 1-1 tie. The Komets pushed on the gas tallying two goals and an empty netter to earn a 4-1 victory. Greenville fell to seventh in the South Division standings while the Komets improved to first in the Western Conference with a 10-0-0-1 record in the last 11 outings.
Greenville opened the first period with a relentless fore check and posted eight shots overall in the period. Not registered were the pair of posts hit by Joe Basaraba on good offensive chances early on. However it was the Komets striking first. After goaltender Ty Rimmer made some fantastic saves early, the Komets were able to post the opening goal at 13:17. Trevor Cheek turned the puck up ice on a 2-on-0 break and dropped the puck off to Zac Larraza who roofed it over the Swamp Rabbits goaltender.
Greenville's response took less than a minute and a half. Daniel Echeverri began a rush into the offensive zone and immediately stopped at the blue line. His quick decision faked out Fort Wayne's defense long enough for him to gain space and walk to the top of the left circle. The blue-liner's shot caught the stick of Austin McKay and deflected into the back of the net to tie the game at one. The center earned his ninth goal of the season to even the contest at the intermission.
In the second period, the Komets were relentless. Fort Wayne officially turned 21 shots on goal in the stanza and potted the eventual game winner less than five minutes in. The league's leading scorer Shawn Sydlowski fired his 25th goal of the season through traffic from the blue line to give the Komets the 2-1 advantage. Later in the frame it was Dennis Kravchenko deflecting his 13th of the season to add insurance to the Fort Wayne lead. The long effort by Ryan Culkin redirected into the net off his centerman's stick to make it 3-1 Komets.
Greenville entered the third period attempting to be the first team to earn a third period comeback on the Komets this season. Despite some efforts early on in the period, goaltender Michael Houser would not let another chance by. The goaltender finished the game with 14 saves and the victory while Ty Rimmer stopped 38 of 41 shots for Greenville.
The Komets added an empty net goal as Greenville attempted to cut into the advantage. Jason Binkley launched a puck from the defensive zone all the way down the ice to complete the game in the final 15 seconds.
Greenville and Fort Wayne will meet again tomorrow night for the second game of a 3-in-3 weekend for the Swamp Rabbits. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. as the non-conference teams square off for the final time this season.
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