ECHL: Swamp Rabbits Dominate Gladiators At Home, Expanding their Win Record to 18-4

Greenville, SC—The Swamp Rabbits returned home Wednesday, December 12, to face the Atlanta Gladiators after losing to the Savannah Ghost Pirates at home last Sunday. Before the game against the Gladiators, the Swamp Rabbits posted a 17-4-0 record, while the Gladiators were 9-11-0.

1st Period

The first started out how all teams want to start out: by scoring seconds in. And that’s what the Rabbits did: they opened up scoring just 12 seconds into the first from a goal by J.D. Greenway.

After the goal, Greenville would hold the momentum and energy for the majority of the period, as, despite taking a penalty second into the first, the Rabbits would stomp on Atlanta’s chances to tie things up. Even minutes after the first penalty, they would again deny another Gladiators powerplay at 10:00, as Jacob Ingham would make some incredible saves — one of which made the highlights onECHL’sECHLs official Twitter account. Towards the end of the first twenty minutes of play, the Rabbits would see their first powerplay action, and of course, they would initiate success. At 18:18, Mark Louis would fire a rocket on Harmon which would create a rebound for Russell to tip in and make the score 2-0.

What’s perplexing about this period, though, is that Greenville only posted five shots on Tyler Harmon, while the Glads’ posted eight. The score would remain 2-0 for Greenville entering Into the 2nd period.

2nd Period

A paralleled effect would see itself again for both teams for the 2nd period, as neither team would be able to net goals. However, Greenville kept pressing, posting nine shots on Harmon in the period, while Atlanta only posted seven on Ingham. Now, Ingham would once again make some Impressive saves during the 2nd period, keeping the score 2-0 for his team; Harmon would do the same, only keeping his team with a two-goal deficit.

3rd Period

Now for the final twenty minutes. The 3rd period started out strong for the Gladiators, as poor coverage behind Ingham would give Ryan Cranford an open-door opportunity to pass the puck from a wraparound to Alex Whelan for him to shoot and score. Atlanta was thus trailing by a single goal with more than eighteen minutes of hockey left.

But let’s just say that tenacity didn’t go so well, as Ingham would be on fire and deny every chance that came his way after the Whelan goal, stopping fifteen shots. The Rabbits, on the other hand, wouldn’t be stopped with more scoring, as they would once more go on the powerplay at 7:46. They wasted no time with their first PP of the 3rd period, shooting three times on Harmon in the first minute. The Rabbits, after getting a short clear of the puck from the Gladiators PK unit, would rush down to Atlanta’s zone on a two-on-two. McManus with McKechney, would pass to McKechney upon entering into the zone. Then McKechney would pass back to McManus for him to tip the puck past Harmon in a close-to-crease execution as he rushed down.

After McManus’ goal, the momentum and offense would rotate to the other team. The Gladiators, for two minutes straight, would post eight shots on Ingham before taking a penalty at 11:43. But something changed for the Swamp Rabbits this time: no execution on the powerplay. Not one shot was posted during that powerplay; instead, the Gladiators would exploit it, posting a shot on Ingham. Desperation: the Gladiators would pull Harmon at 18:04 to gain the extra man. Greenville woke themselves up to score on the empty net, however, as Joe Leahy would seal the deal with barely any contesting from Atlanta at 18:51. Atlanta, despite the offensive dedication and commitment, could not score nor tie or win. The Gladiators have been struggling to win lately, posting a 9-12-0 record, once dominating the south division with wins, now being last. But who’s at the top of the east and south? Well, it’s none other than the Swamp Rabbits, as they’ve posted a 18-4-0 record with 36 points.

Later this week, the Bits will head on the road for three consecutive games, starting in South Carolina on Friday (Dec. 15), then Atlanta on Saturday, and Savannah on Sunday.

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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