Swamp Rabbits Torpedo Admirals
NORFOLK, Va. - The Greenville Swamp Rabbits took advantage of their top-flight opportunities, and trailed just once throughout regulation. Six goals on 38 shots gave the Swamp Rabbits a convincing 6-3 win over the Norfolk Admirals on Friday night at The Scope. It was Greenville's second win in a row, and Norfolk's sixth consecutive loss.
Eight combined points from the line of Stephen Pierog, Danny Perez and Brendan Harms carried the day, with Perez's two goals leading the way early.
The Swamp Rabbits trailed first and gave up the first goal thanks to an early power play. With Michael Pelech in the box for hooking, Darik Angeli took advantage on a one-timer from the left point to open the scoring.
Greenville scored three unanswered goals in response for good measure past goaltender Jeremy Brodeur, who had, up until this point, had not won an ECHL game this season. Perez and Pierog worked magic on the forecheck with hard work to cause all three goals.
The first, with work from Pierog, forced a turnover that Perez jumped on and scored with a short-side wrist shot at 5:11. Pierog returned the favor on the power play after evading traffic high in the zone and sifting to a soft area in front of the goal, as Brodeur made initial save on Harms, Pierog bashed home the rebound to establish a lead. Six minutes later, the Swamp Rabbits made the Admirals pay on a comical turnover from behind the goal, and it was Perez who was the last to touch the puck before going over the line.
While Norfolk utilized a fluky goal in the middle frame to cut the lead to one thanks to a point shot from Brandon Rumble, the Swamp Rabbits' attack was unrelenting. Tyler Bird did the work on the forecheck to get the puck to Zach Franko at the side of the net. Franko pulled the puck into a high-percentage scoring area and fired the puck home at 15:18 to keep the lead.
52 seconds later, Harms converted on a 2-on-1 break, with assists from Pierog and Perez to put the game out of reach heading into the third period.
Both teams exchanged goals in the third- one from pesky defenseman Don Olivieri late, but the Swamp Rabbits found a response of their own late in the period, with Pelech setting up a wide-open Austen Brassard in the slot for his 23rd goal of the season.
Greenville's hot shooting streak continued, after shooting 17% the night before, they shot 15.8% on Friday night to lead to the win. The Swamp Rabbits outshot the Admirals 38-35 for the game, and behind 32 saves from Garrett Bartus, picked up win 25- one better than last season- with a chance to get one more.
The 2018-19 season comes to a close on Saturday, April 6 against the Norfolk Admirals. The puck drops from The Scope at 7:00 p.m.
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