Swamp Rabbits Fall in Shootout
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Down 2-0 and buoyed by 26 saves in regulation from goaltender Garrett Bartus, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits fought back to tie the game and send it to overtime. However, the Jacksonville Icemen ended the game in a shootout in the fourth round, and defeated the Swamp Rabbits 3-2 on Friday night at the Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Swamp Rabbits had an opportunity to win the game twice, but Bartus could not stop Kris Newbury in the third round, and after a magnificent deke from Dajon Mingo, the game-winner, Michael Pelech could not respond in the bottom of the fourth. Tyler Bird scored the lone goal in the shootout for Greenville in the second round.
Without Bartus' performance, the game would have ended long before the shootout. He made five incredible saves throughout the course of overtime just to force a shootout, and two big saves in the shootout to keep it within reach.
Adam Larkin's tying goal at the 17:36 mark of the third period came off of a faceoff win at 4-on-4. Bird and Dylan Vander Esch helped win the draw back, and Larkin fired away for his second goal in as many games to get the game tied.
Brendan Harms started the comeback effort with a goal of his own midway through the third period. With the Icemen scrambling, Thomas Ebbing put the puck to the netmouth, and Harms stashed it home for his 12th of the season.
Jacksonville and Greenville played to a scoreless first period, even after a spirited tilt between Austen Brassard and noted enforcer Garet Hunt. It was Jacksonville that ended up with the momentum from another tilt in the second between Kris Newbury and Stephen Pierog, and took off from there.
Cody Fowlie converted on some chaos in the Greenville defensive zone. Chris Rygus and Christophe Lalancette worked the puck in the offensive zone until Fowlie found himself open. His initial bid was denied by Bartus, but he converted on the rebound early in the second to give Jacksonville the lead.
The Icemen broke the Swamp Rabbits' collective hearts after Brassard was denied by Jacksonville goaltender Kevin Appleby right on the doorstep. At the other end, Newbury set up Hunt for an insurance marker on a shot from the slot at the 17:42 mark of the second.
Both teams' special teams were silent in the game, but it was the Swamp Rabbits who forced seven power play opportunities in the game, and could not convert. For the seventh straight game, Greenville's penalty kill held the opponent off of the board.
Shots favored Jacksonville 33-27 for the game.
The back-to-back with Jacksonville concludes on Saturday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. Catch all of the action on the Swamp Rabbits Broadcast Network, or on ECHL.TV.
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