ECHL: Game 6 Preview: Orlando Solar Bears at Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Photo: Rich LeBlanc | Inside The Rink

Tonight is game six of the South Division Semifinals as the Swamp Rabbits try to keep their season alive as they host the Orlando Solar Bears at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC. Let’s take a look at the series so far:

Game 1: Orlando 1, Greenville 0. In a game that was heavily played by the Swamp Rabbits, the Bears broke through at the 12:22 mark of the overtime period as Spencer Kersten scored on a goal from the left circle to give Orlando a 1-0 lead in the series.

Game 2: Orlando 2, Greenville 4. In what was another game that was controlled by Greenville, Greenville got four different goal scorers to defeat Orlando 4-2 and tie the series heading to Orlando.

Game 3: Greenville 1, Orlando 2. Another low-scoring contest in this series as it started to be the theme as Orlando took game three in OT when Darik Angeli got the winner 12:06 into the overtime period to give Orlando a 2-1 series lead.

Game 4: Greenville 5, Orlando 3. A late 9 pm start proved to be hard as Greenville came out jumping, scoring two goals in the first 6:58 of the game and they would not put the brake on, as they took game four and tied the series at two games apiece.

Game 5: Greenville 5, Orlando 6. Solar Bears thought they got a good start as Kersten scored 3:31 into the game, however, Greenville would score three goals in the first, including two in 34 seconds. Greenville had a 5-3 lead heading into the final frame. However, Orlando would storm back and tie the game up with 3:08 left in regulation. Brayden Low would then win it on a diving shot in the slot to give Orlando the 3-2 series lead heading to Greenville.

What to watch for in game six:

Orlando has won all three of their games in overtime, while Greenville has won both their games in regulation. Forward Aaron Luchuk has yet to get going, while Kersten has five goals in the playoffs, which is tied for second. Colten Young has been one of the unexpected heroes in this series, most recently in the last two games where he has five points (2G,3A). For Orlando, they have to find a way to get off to a better start in the first period as they have been outplayed in the first every game so far, getting outscored six-to-one.

Another point that might decide game six will be the special teams. In the regular season, Orlando was the #1 team in penalty kill, and this series doesn’t show that as they are only 68.8% on the kill, while Greenville has an 85.7% penalty kill rate. Orlando also needs to get going on the power play as they are two of 14 on the power play.

Goalkeeper Battle:

For Orlando, it was predicted that Evan Fitzpatrick would get every start, barring injury and that has been the case, as Fitzpatrick has played all five games of the series so far. He has a 3-2 record with a 2.78 goals-against-average, along with a .916 save percentage. He has saved 178 shots on 193 shots. He recorded a 43-save shutout in game one.

On the Swamp Rabbits side, It was predicted that Jacob Ingham would start every game, and play all the games, barring injury. That is not the case as Ingham has started four of the five, only finishing three of them. Ingham has 11 goals allowed on 133 shots, having a 2.65 GAA, as well as a .910 save percentage. The other goalie on Greenville’s side is rookie Luke Richardson, who came into relief in game two as well as starting game four; both of which, Greenville has won. Richardson has three goals allowed on 50 shots.

Final Thoughts:

Orlando’s NHL affiliate: Tampa Bay Lightning got knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs yesterday, after losing the series to the Florida Panthers 4-1. Not tonight, but possibly if the Bears advance, they will get a few players back from the Syracuse Crunch who got players back from Tampa. For Greenville, Sam Jardine gets activated off of reserve as Joseph Leahy goes to the reserve list.

A couple of lineup changes for each squad are possible and might be the difference between going home and staying alive. As mentioned in my series preview, Evan Fitzpatrick was going to be a huge game-changer, and that has been proven. After playing three games in three days, he was able to get a night off as he hopes to lead his team to the South Division Finals for just the third time in history

Elijah Webb

I am Elijah. Hockey is my biggest passion, however I have love for all sports. I got into hockey from day one of my life. I currently am the writer for the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL, and one day, I hope to become a broadcaster

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