Rabbits Rally to Tie, Fall in Shootout
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits rallied from down two after the first period to force overtime, but ultimately fell in a five-round shootout to the South Carolina Stingrays. Andrew Cherniwchan scored in the bottom of the fifth to give the Rays the weekend sweep by a 3-2 score on Saturday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Cherniwchan picked the top corner over the shoulder of Ryan Bednard in the fifth round to close out the shootout. Logan Thompson stopped all five Greenville shooters in the shootout to seal the win.
While it took the back half of the game to complete the comeback, the Swamp Rabbits completed the comeback against one of the top defensive teams in the league.
Off of a strange carom on a shot by Jonathan Charbonneau, the puck found Mason Baptista behind the defense. Baptista dusted the puck off and buried the puck behind Thompson for the goal to cut the lead in half two and a half minutes into the second period. It was his first in a Greenville uniform.
Following an icing is when the Swamp Rabbits completed the comeback effort. Spencer Smallman won a puck battle out of the corner, and ladled a pass cross ice to Chad Duchesne, who snuck in from his point position and fired the puck home to tie the game at two. Adam Larkin added the additional helper.
Aside from a first period in which the game got away from Greenville on the whole, Bednard kept the puck out of the net from the 17:13 mark of the first period onward through the final two periods and seven minutes of overtime. He made 30 saves in the shootout loss, including some key breakaway saves.
South Carolina struck with two goals in the first period in which they were outshot 11-6. Tom Parisi jumped on a defensive zone turnover and fired a wicked wrister five hole eight and a half minutes into the first period to open the scoring. South Carolina continued its streak of scoring the first goal.
Casey Bailey doubled the lead late in the first. With a penalty on the way, the Rays continued a strong shift in the offensive zone. Parisi jumped off the bench, took a pass from Mark Cooper in the high part of the zone, and found leading goal scorer Casey Bailey for his eighth goal of the season.
Travis Howe looked to change the momentum with his fight in the first period with Ed Wittchow. His instigator penalty was the only power play that South Carolina had to work wtih.
The Swamp Rabbits had a 5-on-3 power play opportunity to work with in the second period, and a late power play chance in the third period, but could not strike on five opportunities throughout the night.
The Swamp Rabbits head to the road to take on the Norfolk Admirals at 7:35 p.m. at the Scope. The game can be heard on ESPN Upstate.
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Greenville Swamp Rabbits forward Mason Baptista takes a shot
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