ECHL: Greenville Swamp Rabbits vs. Solar Bears Recap | 03/06/2024

Photo Credit: Jake Farmer/InsideTheRink

Orlando, FL — The Greenville Swamp Rabbits and the Orlando Solar Bears returned for another rematch, only this time at the Kia Center. The last time these two played at Orlando, the arena was designated as the Amway Center on February 26, 2023, as the Solar Bears would win 5-4. Prior to this matchup, the Swamp Rabbits held a 1-2 win record at home against the Solar Bears. After winning two straight games in Atlanta last weekend, the Swamp Rabbits had some energy left over to continue their efforts to punch a ticket to the Kelly Cup Playoffs. For the netminders, Evan Fitzpatrick would get the start as Brandon Halverson was recently called up by the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL; Jacob Ingham would start as he recently signed an NHL deal. Ingham, 24, signed a one-year, two-way 775k AAV playing contract under the L.A. Kings before the Orlando game.

1st Period

The first period would start out great for Orlando, as Aaron Luchuk would rip one on Inghams’ chest pads that would manage to squeak away from the netminder’s grasp and go past the goal line. An unfortunate, loose puck around Ingham’s upper body pads would fortify a Solar Bears 1-0 lead at 1:25. The crowd and the Solar Bears at the Kia Center were buzzing after that early goal, as it would fuel a drive to bar down the Swamp Rabbits. Then, at 9:14, Brannon McManus would poke away and intercept the puck from a Solar Bear d-man in the neutral zone and rush on a near breakaway to inevitably score a top-row goal to tie it up. The energy was felt by both teams, as now it would be a tie game with still plenty of hockey to play for the first. However, the majority of play would be turnovers after turnovers, with not many stoppages of play. After the tying goal, the remainder of the period would fly by and end up being a tied game by one. Shots on goal for the Solar Bears was eight, compared to four for the Rabbits.

2nd Period

For the second period, it would be more turnover games. Both teams would pressure the ozone respectively for less than a minute before going into the opposite zone, and vice versa. The Swamp Rabbits, however, had a more energized period than the previous one, as they would shoot seven shots on Fitzpatrick. The Solar Bears would receive an early power play opportunity at 2:49, where they posted just two shots on Ingham. Ingham, after the unfortunate loose puck goal from the first frame, would be on track with cat-like reflexes to deny any more goals from the Bears. After that successful penalty kill, the Rabbits would have a few near-goal chances around 9:19-13:31. However, the dynamic shown by both teams was quick and deliberate turnover games with not much intensity in the o-zones. Consequently there were barely any whistles, as well. The Bears wouldn’t stop, though, as they would have a high offensive zone pressure period starting at the 15:08 mark to post four shots on the Rabbits’ netminder. Then, at 17:06, Ben Freeman would hit one top shelf at the left wing end to break the tie. However, the goal would quickly go under review due to an assumed coach’s challenge for offside. But after review, the call on the ice would stand; good goal. And after the tiebreaker, the Rabbits would carry a one-goal lead into the final frame of action.

3rd Period

The Rabbits would start out the period with an early power play opportunity. But with Orlandos fire PK sucess at 85%, the Bears managed to clean away the Swamp Rabbits from a two goal insurance reality. Perhaps the killed penalty would boost the Bears to tie it up, as they would stomp down on the Rabbits for the next several minutes, denying them from posting a single shot on goal until the 8:19 mark. At 8:34, the Rabbits would, this time, go to the box and put their 80% kill rate to the test. Fortunately, with good backchecks and needed clears, the Rabbits would kill that one off. However, that wasn’t it, as Tanner Eberle would draw another penalty at 10:41. This time, the Bears would pressure more, and the fatigued PK units of the Swamp Rabbits would have a hard time clearing it multiple times as they did previously. After the penalty, the Swamp Rabbits wouldn’t post a single shot on Fitzpatrick; they would get some close chances on the empty net, however. With desperation leaning, the Solar Bears pulled Fitzpatrick for the extra attacker. There were two attempts at the empty net by the Rabbits, one was when Fitzpatrick was near the net from hustling to the bench, and another was missed top shelf by Freeman. Orlando did an excellent job at keeping the Rabbits from making capitalizing plays on the empty net while the Rabbits themselves were protecting their own zone from a last-minute tie. Unfortunately for the home team, the Rabbits would snuff out the Solar Bears 2-1 and carry that small score valued win to Savannah on the following day.

Jake Farmer

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Christian Humphreys, USNTDP (Rena Laverty / USA Hockey’s NTDP)

2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Christian Humphreys

Christian Humphreys has shown consistent performance as a two-way forward. Standing at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, he is a promising prospect who has the potential to exceed expectations and become a steal in the draft.

Read More

Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 Recap: New York Rangers vs. Florida Panthers

It’s only one game, but the New York Rangers will need to be better if they want to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive. The President-trophy winners 3-0 loss to the reigning league runner-ups, Florida Panthers, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden wasn’t as bad as the score indicated, […]

Read More

Three Takeaways From Florida Panthers Shutout Victory

“At the end of the day, we’re here for wins. That’s it.” Matthew Tkachuk means business. Even after a dominant display during game one, he knows the Panthers have a long way to go. But it is hard not to laud the performance just put forth. Paul Maurice’s men came into Wednesday playing their first […]

Read More