Swamp Rabbits' Offense Quieted by IceMen
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits cut the Jacksonville Icemen's lead in half in the third period, but could not complete the comeback. The Icemen once again held onto a lead established early in the game and defeated the Swamp Rabbits 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Erik Robichaud's first professional goal proved to fall just short of the mark, as the Swamp Rabbits' final foray in the closing minute was stopped flat. Greenville could not get clean possession of the puck in the final minute, and could not get goaltender Garrett Bartus to the bench for the extra attacker, and failed to get the equalizer.
Robichaud took a feed in center from Jake Bolton and streaked into the offensive zone past a defender, and snapped the shot past Jacksonville goaltender Ken Appleby for Greenville's only goal at the 6:03 mark of the third period. Other than that, the cool and calm Appleby stopped 25 other opportunities fired his way.
Jacksonville, like the prior two games in the three games played against the Icemen, jumped out to early leads and held the Swamp Rabbits off the board in the opening two periods.
One bugaboo that has haunted the Swamp Rabbits all season long has been defensive play while on the power play. The Icemen exacerbated that deficiency by striking shorthanded. Dajon Mingo broke up the play at the defensive blue line, started a rush, and fed the puck to a trailing Garet Hunt. His initial shot was stopped by Bartus, but Kris Newbury cleaned up the crumbs to open the scoring.
Jacksonville struck again in the second period, with the roles reversed. Newbury hid behind the net after a zone keep. His no-look centering pass connected with Hunt, the game's first star, streaking off the bench. His shot eluded Bartus' glove hand, and doubled Jacksonville's established lead.
Greenville's penalty kill continued to be a source of strength, as they have not allowed a power play goal since February 23. Jacksonville's three chances were held off the board.
The Icemen's ability to hem the Swamp Rabbits in their own zone caused fits all day. Jacksonville was able to post double-digit shots on goal in all three periods, and outshot the Swamp Rabbits 34-26 for the game. Bartus made 32 saves in the game in the losing cause.
With nine games left in the regular season, Greenville will now set their sights on the last non-South Division opponent of the season, the Kansas City Mavericks, on Thursday, March 21 at home. For tickets, go to SwampRabbits.com.
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