ECHL Game Preview: Greenville Swamp Rabbits vs Florida Everblades| 12/31/2023

Greenville, SC—The Swamp Rabbits have returned home for the last time this calendar year after they closed their two-game road stand in Florida against the Everblades – which concluded with two consecutive losses. With defensive troubles and a lack of high execution on both fronts, the Rabbits are in a sticky spot before they cap off 2023. But nevertheless, here’s what you can expect to see before they face the Everblades tonight.

Their current record is 20-9-1, and so far, they’ve won two of their last five games against the Everblades. The back-to-back reigning Kelly Cup Champions are maintaining that identity as of late. While they have a record of 13-9-4, they still have a solid team that can win. They currently hold a 16.5% power play percentage, as they’ve scored thirteen goals in 86 power plays. Despite the low power play numbers, their penalty kill has been outstanding, as they have an 82% kill percentage and have killed 81 of 99 penalties. Meanwhile, Greenville holds a much more successful power play with a 24% success rate; they’ve scored 23 goals in 95 power play opportunities. Unlike the Everblades, the Rabbits’ have an 80% kill percentage during the PK; they’ve killed 67 of 84 penalties.

A New Face

Ah, yes, we love to see a new face on a team, and with the recent injury of Bobby Russell and call-up of Max Martin, that was to be expected. The Rabbits recently acquired Jacob Modry from the Newfoundland Growlers last Thursday, as the 6’6, big-body stature defenseman was a needed and excellent choice for the Greenville team. What the Rabbits have been lacking lately is a quick, agile defenseman who is also large in stature and isn’t afraid to backcheck heavily in his own zone. Backchecking – really keeping the puck to themselves to avoid turnovers, has been a big problem for the Rabbits as of late, as they’ve recorded instances of unanswered goals from turnovers in the recent games played. Likewise, the addition of Modry is a good start for this team, but their current defensive structure needs polishing.

Player’s To Keep An Eye On

Jake Smith has been a viable asset on the Rabbits’ power-play unit, as he’s scored five power-play goals in total, and before facing the Everblades, he had three goals and three assists in his last three games played. What makes him so successful on the PP? Well, he’s a great one-timing shooter; his hard and powerful OT shots on net usually render goals. As of late, he has eight goals and nine assists in 21 games.

Carter Souch continues to lead his team in points with 24, as he’s tallied up eleven goals and thirteen assists in 30 games played. In the first game against Florida, on December 28, Souch scored twice. It is likely we’ll see Souch get back to his game and score more goals to add to his record after a long drought of not being able to do so

Jake Farmer

I'm a photographer and writer covering the ECHL Greenville Swamp Rabbits based in Greenville, South Carolina. Twitter and Instagram: JakeCF.Hockey

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