Swamp Rabbits Weekly
The Jacksonville Icemen were not known as the best defensive team in the league, but utilized a tough combination of stingy gap control and great goaltending from Ken Appleby to sweep the last three games against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Greenville made all three of them one-goal games, but ultimately could not overcome deficits heading into a third period, which has been an issue all season.
The Icemen established a third consecutive multi-goal lead heading into the third period with a goal apiece in the first and second periods. The Swamp Rabbits allowed their 14th shorthanded goal against on the season, tied for second-most in the ECHL, as a defensive breakdown led to a goal from Kris Newbury on a rebound. Garet Hunt doubled the lead in the second period.
The Swamp Rabbits got on the board in the third period, as they had in all three previous games while down heading into the third period against the Icemen, thanks to Erik Robichaud's first professional goal in his third professional game at the 6:03 mark of the third.
Jacksonville, however, frustrated Greenville's slumping offense, and hemmed the Swamp Rabbits in their own zone for most of the last few minutes of the third period.
3/17 vs. Jacksonville Icemen - L 2-1
FAMILY DENTAL HEALTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Garrett Bartus - 1 GP | 0-1-0 | 2.02 GAA | .941 sv%
While Garrett Bartus has been on the hook for the loss in his last two games, no one can deny he is playing the best hockey of his professional career dating back to February 24. In that span, he has accumulated a 2.15 GAA and a .934 save percentage. He made 32 saves on Sunday afternoon and kept his team in the game at every turn.
The story of the past month has been the Swamp Rabbits' penalty kill. The PK has not allowed a goal against since a home game on February 17. Since then, the Swamp Rabbits have killed off 38 consecutive power plays in the nine-game span.
The Swamp Rabbits will welcome the Kansas City Mavericks to the Upstate, the only representative of the Mountain Division that they will see. The Mavs have a pretty solid hold of the fourth-place spot in their division, and have a shot to move up in the standings.
Teams that score first, win plenty. During the 2018-19 season, ECHL teams have posted a .736 points percentage, including 579 wins in 851 chances as of Monday, March 18. Unfortunately for the Swamp Rabbits, they have struck first in a game the fewest this season (24). They have won 13 of those 24 games, but to improve next season, that number will need to improve as well.
Five of the final nine games of the regular season will be at home. Only one day trip to Atlanta this coming Sunday, and the season finale week against the Norfolk Admirals remain on the road.
For any chance at the playoffs, the Swamp Rabbits must win their final nine games of the season, and the Atlanta Gladiators or South Carolina Stingrays ahead of them can get no more than one point. If a tie is forced at 66, which is the Swamp Rabbits' point maximum, the first tiebreaker would be non-shootout wins, otherwise known as ROW, followed by goal differential. The ECHL mandates an eight-layer tiebreak process.
Thursday, March 21 | vs. Kansas City Mavericks | 7:00 p.m. | College Night
Saturday, March 23 | vs. South Carolina Stingrays | 7:00 p.m. | Golf for Greenville Night, presented by Fluor
Sunday, March 24 | @ Atlanta Gladiators | 3:00 p.m.
SOUTH DIVISION STANDINGS
x Florida Everblades (45-16-5) - 95 pts
Orlando Solar Bears (34-22-5) - 73 pts
Jacksonville Icemen (33-26-4) - 70 pts
South Carolina Stingrays (29-30-6) - 64 pts
Atlanta Gladiators (27-25-10) - 64 pts
Norfolk Admirals (24-31-8) - 56 pts
Greenville Swamp Rabbits (21-36-6) - 48 pts
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