Preview: Swamp Rabbits Face K-Wings in a Hat-Trick Weekend of Hockey
THE STORY COMING IN
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (28-29-9), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, return to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena this weekend to face the Kalamazoo Wings (33-28-5) for the first time since the opening round of the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Greenville is still alive in its quest for a playoff berth, but its elimination number has dropped to 'one' with six games left in the regular season. The Swamp Rabbits enter tonight's contest looking to bounce back after four straight losses (0-3-1) including a 5-3 setback to Florida in their last outing on Saturday, in which Scott Fleming scored twice and Josh Nicholls added his 18th tally of the season. Four of Greenville's last six games will take place on SANDLAPPER Securities Rink.
Tonight is the final Thirsty Thursday of the regular season and it is presented by Greenville Pharmaceutical Research! Tonight's contest will feature $2 domestic draft beers during Hockey Happy Hour from 6-8 p.m. and $2 hot dogs, pretzels and soft drinks all night long. Limited $5 tickets are also available at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena box office while supplies last, or by clicking here or calling 864-674-PUCK when purchasing at least four (4). Doors open at 6 p.m. and the puck drops at 7 p.m.
On Friday, the first 1,000 fans through the door will receive a one-of-a-kind Swamp Rabbits T-shirt. Doors open at 6 p.m. In addition, Greenville News Family Fun Packs are available for Friday's game and include four (4) red level tickets, four (4) soft drinks, four (4) hot dogs, four (4) bags of chips and two (2) foam fingers for $60. Get yours now!
The weekend wraps up with Craft Beer Night presented by Palmetto Medical Research Associates on Saturday. All fans 21 and older are invited to sample delicious craft beers before and during the team's 7 p.m. game. For just $35, the package includes: One (1) red level ticket, entry for one (1) to the craft beer tasting in the beer garden from 4-7 p.m., $1 off craft beers purchased at select concession stands during the game and a souvenir gift and sampling glass. Already have a ticket to the game? Get into the craft beer tasting party and take advantage of all additional perks for just $24. Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase food during the event at the special sausage bar & pretzel stations! Click here for tickets or more information! All tickets for the craft beer tasting event must be purchased before Noon on Saturday.
Tonight's game marks the first of three meetings between the Swamp Rabbits and K-Wings this season, and the first regular-season matchup overall since Dec. 7, 2013. All three games will take place at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in consecutive days this weekend. The all-time series is knotted at 6-6-0, but Kalamazoo has won each of the last two matchups after sweeping the series in 2013-14.
VIEW FROM KALAMAZOO
Head coach Nick Bootland's club has won four straight games and six of its last seven including a 5-1 victory against Wheeling in its last outing on Saturday. Reigning Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week Ludwig Blomstrand led the way with two goals and three points that night, and continues to pace the club in those two categories (27 goals, 58 points). He's also tied for second in the league's goal scoring race and tied for eighth in point scoring. Under contract with the Vancouver Canucks, Blomstrand recorded five goals and two assists in four games last week. Between the pipes, Joel Martin made 42 saves against Wheeling to earn his league-leading 31st win this season. Martin also leads the ECHL in minutes played (3,409) and saves (1,890). Kalamazoo opens a five-game road trip tonight and has won three straight games away from home ice. The K-Wings are tied for ninth in the Eastern Conference standings, five points out of a playoff spot with six games left.
Veteran scoring threat Jack Combs has been on a tear lately, recording at least one goal in four of his last five games and collecting eight goals in his last seven contests overall. In addition, Combs has 11 points (6g, 5a) in his last five games and leads Greenville in goals (24) and multi-point games (14) this season.
TOP OF THE CHARTS
Despite Combs' impressive numbers, third-year forward Scott Fleming leads the Swamp Rabbits in points (52), assists (32), plus-minus (+20) and power-play goals (6). Fleming enters tonight's contest on a team-best six-game point streak (3g, 7a) dating back to March 18. He will play his 200th professional game tonight against Kalamazoo.
As a result of injuries and call-ups, the Swamp Rabbits added to their roster on Tuesday, signing sixth-year defenseman Nicholas Kuqali (SPC) and rookie forward Matt Johnson (ATO). Kuqali has played 22 games in the ECHL this season between Fort Wayne, Evansville, Adirondack and Manchester, recording one goal and two assists. Johnson completed a three-year career at Lake Superior State University earlier this month, earning four assists and 23 penalty minutes in 27 games in his final season. Overall, the 24-year-old notched 18 points (4g, 14a) and 93 penalty minutes in 93 contests. He played two seasons at Lake Superior State with Swamp Rabbits forward Andrew Dommett from 2013-15.
Josh Nicholls has recorded 14 points (6g, 8a) in his last 14 games... The Swamp Rabbits have scored first in five of their last six games... Greenville is 11-for-41 on the power play over the last 12 games and ranks seventh at home overall (19.0%)... The Swamp Rabbits are tied for fifth in the ECHL with 16 games being decided beyond regulation... Bretton Cameron was placed on the 21-day injured reserve on Wednesday... He joins Rob Kwiet and Michael Kantor on the list of players who are likely out for the season.
New York Rangers (43-24-9, 2nd Metropolitan): Next at Carolina - Tonight, 7 p.m. ET
Hartford Wolf Pack (36-29-3, 6th Atlantic): Next vs. Hershey - Tomorrow, 7:15 p.m. ET
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 SwampRabbits.com 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 SwampRabbits.com/shop to browse the full collection of fan wear and novelties!
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