Swamp Rabbits Prevail in OT over Growlers
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Newfoundland Growlers entered Sunday's action as one of the hardest teams to beat with a lead. The Greenville Swamp Rabbits are one of the few teams that have climbed the mountain to win. Adam Larkin posted the game-winning goal at the 2:31 mark of the extra session as the Swamp Rabbits topped the Growlers 5-4 at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Johno May and Will Merchant criss-crossed through the neutral zone, and May opened up space for Larkin, who sped off of the bench and into the play. His shot went to the top shelf over Michael Garteig to seal up the win.
It was an adventurous game prior.
Newfoundland grabbed an early lead and continued to extend the lead with dominant first period play. The Growlers outshot the Swamp Rabbits 16-5 in the first period, and outscored them 3-1.
Josh Kestner started the scoring at 3:54 with a snap shot from the right wing on a broken play into the offensive zone. Ryan Moore doubled the lead eight minutes later on the power play.
Greenville found a way to cut the lead in half on a play created in the neutral zone. On a steal by Kamerin Nault, Michael Pelech sped ahead and pulled a between-the-legs pass to Nault for the slam dunk past Eamon McAdam to get on the board. Unfortunately, the momentum was slowed almost immediately, as Sam Babintsev connected on a centering pass by Zach O'Brien just 39 seconds later to give Newfoundland its biggest lead of the game.
It was all Greenville in the second period.
Nault got the Swamp Rabbits within a goal early in the second period, and that only started the ball rolling. Jake Bolton's power play goal at the 10:02 mark with a blast from the point brought the Swamp Rabbits back from a disastrous first period and tied.
A neutral zone turnover led to a goal for Greenville to give them the lead for the first time. May stripped the puck at the line and leaned on former NHL defenseman Adam Pardy and pulled a power move through McAdam and into the goal for the go-ahead goal just 59 seconds later.
McAdam was pulled for Garteig in the process after 31 minutes. Garteig played the final 31 minutes and made 10 saves.
Both teams got into penalty trouble in the third period, and it was in fact an advantage that became a disadvantage quickly. Derian Plouffe stole the puck away for the Growlers and forced overtime with a shorthanded goal with seven minutes remaining in regulation.
The game-winning goal for Adam Larkin was the first of his ECHL career. The Swamp Rabbits picked up their sixth win in overtime this season. Newfoundland was 20-2-0 when leading after one period, and 26-3-2 when scoring the first goal. The Swamp Rabbits found a way to win, against those circumstances.
After five days off, the Swamp Rabbits get back to action on the road against the Orlando Solar Bears starting on Saturday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. Catch the action on the Swamp Rabbits Broadcast Network, or on ECHL.TV.
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Fans celebrate a win with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits
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