Swamp Rabbits Superb on Super Bowl Sunday
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits scored first and never looked back in a completely dominant performance. While the game was tied at 1-1 briefly, Greenville struck for eight of the next ten goals en route to a 9-3 win over the Atlanta Gladiators.
Nine Swamp Rabbits had multi-point efforts in the dominating win that saw the team shoot 29% on the afternoon.
The second period is where the game broke wide open. It began with Karl El-Mir, who broke his nose in the first period, returning to action nearly immediately. 1:27 into the second period, he scored his third as a Swamp Rabbit to extend the lead to 3-1.
Mason Baptista's second goal of the game at 7:05 off of a wraparound by El-Mir proved to be the game-winning goal, and for good measure, at 8:19, Dylan MacPherson added one more.
Cameron Heath and Joel Messner traded tallies to close out the second period, with the Swamp Rabbits leading 6-2 after 40 minutes of action. It was Heath's first ECHL goal.
While Chris Forney cut Greenville's lead in half with a goal off of the faceoff, the Swamp Rabbits' offense was undeterred. A power play goal by Patrick Bajkov, the team's second power play marker of the day, and an even-strength tally by Kamerin Nault, separated by just a minute and 40 seconds, put any hope of an Atlanta comeback on ice.
Lincoln Griffin's first ECHL goal capped the scoring for the Swamp Rabbits.
The first period saw all three goals scored due to special teams. With Tommy Marchin just exiting the box for elbowing, Baptista pounced on a rebound off of the pads of Chris Nell on a shot by MacPherson to open the scoring.
A massive check thrown by Atlanta defenseman Zach Malatesta on El-Mir led to a major penalty power play. As Mike Monfredo's penalty had just expired, the Swamp Rabbits were caught in the defensive zone, and Samuel Asselin evaded traffic to tie the game.
That tally did not last long. Chad Duchesne rifled a puck that appeared to hit the crossbar, and Nault swept in the loose crumbs. The play was reviewed and called as a goal, initially given to Nault. But upon even further review, Duchesne's original shot went into the net and popped right back out to give the Swamp Rabbits a lead they would never give up.
Jeremy Helvig, who had to make a few breakaway saves in this one, stopped 30 shots for his 40th career win.
The nine goals scored were a season high.
The Swamp Rabbits head to the Sunshine State to take on the Florida Everblades for a pair of games beginning Friday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m.
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Greenville Swamp Rabbits exchange congratulations
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ECHL Stories from February 2, 2020
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