Swamp Rabbits Weekly
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits traveled to Jacksonville for the last time in the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately for Greenville, they ran into a desperate team in need of points to compete for home ice in the first round of the playoffs. The Icemen survived two comeback efforts to sweep the weekend. The Swamp Rabbits were able to salvage a point from the weekend, but fell further behind in the race for fourth place in the South Division.
Friday saw the Rabbits play to a scoreless first period with the Icemen, but the second period is where the game turned. The Icemen scored twice on eleven shots to stake out a 2-0 lead after two periods of play. On the plus side, the Swamp Rabbits had played stronger in disadvantageous situations when trailing after two periods of play, and thanks to goals from Brendan Harms and Adam Larkin, the game went to a thrilling overtime, and then a shootout.
Tyler Bird gave Greenville a chance to win with a goal in the second round, but Kris Newbury scored in the third round, and Dajon Mingo followed it up with the eventual game-winner in the fourth round to give Jacksonville the win.
Saturday saw a similar situation, with a two-goal deficit after two periods of play. The Icemen capitalized on an early gaffe by the Swamp Rabbits in the defensive zone for a goal on their first shot on goal from Everett Clark. David Broll found a way to continue the fluky bounces in Jacksonville's favor, as his backhander deflected off of Larkin's stick and into the goal to extend Jacksonville's lead.
With goaltender Kyle Hayton at the bench for the extra attacker, the Swamp Rabbits responded with a late goal. Newcomer Zach Franko converted on a centering pass from Michael Pelech to cut the Icemen's lead in half. However, it was too little, too late, and Jacksonville came away with the sweep.
3/8 @ Jacksonville Icemen - OTL 3-2
3/9 @ Jacksonville Icemen - L 2-1
FAMILY DENTAL HEALTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Garrett Bartus - 1 GP | 0-0-1 | 1.85 GAA | .938 sv%
While he got the losing decision in Friday night's game, goaltender Garrett Bartus followed up his ECHL Goaltender of the Week runner-up performance with another gem. He made 31 saves throughout the 65 minutes of play time, and two saves in the shootout, to keep the game within reach. Bartus has posted .900+ save percentages in seven of his last eight starts dating back to February 9.
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits have released defensemen Matt Donnelly and Jake Faiella from their Standard Player Contracts as of Monday.
Six of the last ten games of the season will be at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, and that includes six of the next seven. The regular season comes to a close with three straight games against the Norfolk Admirals in the beginning of April. The Rabbits are 11-15-4 at home this season.
The penalty kill continues to be a bright spot in the past few weeks. The Swamp Rabbits have gone eight consecutive games without allowing a power play goal. The PK success percentage has risen from 73.0% to 77.9% in the process.
Tyler Bird continues to be a find for the Swamp Rabbits in the latter part of the season. The 6'2" power forward has four points in his first four games, and that does not include his shootout goal on Friday night. Prior to his acquisition from Reading, Bird scored five points in 31 games.
This next week will be the closest thing to a bye week. The Swamp Rabbits will have seven days off between the last game on March 9, and the next game on March 17 vs. Jacksonville.
Sunday, March 17 | vs. Jacksonville Icemen | 3:00 p.m. | St. Patrick's Day Game
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SOUTH DIVISION STANDINGS
x Florida Everblades (42-15-5) - 89 pts
Orlando Solar Bears (33-21-4) - 70 pts
Jacksonville Icemen (32-26-4) - 68 pts
South Carolina Stingrays (28-28-5) - 61 pts
Atlanta Gladiators (25-25-9) - 59 pts
Norfolk Admirals (23-30-8) - 54 pts
Greenville Swamp Rabbits (21-35-6) - 48 pts
Images from this story
Adam Larkin of the Greenville Swamp Rabbits shoots against the Jacksonville IceMen
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