Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, toppled the South Carolina Stingrays 6-3 to take Game 1 of the South Division Semifinal round of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Greenville took a commanding lead in the first half of the contest, amassing a 5-1 lead over the Stingrays. Multi-goal efforts by Brandon Alderson and Allan McPherson fueled the win in addition to a 34 save performance by Jeff Malcolm.
The Swamp Rabbits wasted no time in the game, securing a 2-0 advantage less than six minutes into the night. Alderson and his linemates, Angelo Miceli and Bretton Cameron, connected on three quick passes in the offensive zone before the fourth-year pro netted Greenville’s first playoff goal. Cameron trucked down the ice and got the puck to the front of the net where Alderson eventually tallied his tenth career playoff goal less than four minutes into the game.
Tyler Brown joined the action less than two minutes later in transition. McPherson took the puck down the ice and found the winger in the high slot before lacing a shot off the post and into the net.
The Stingrays slowed the charge as Patrick Gaul tallied the Stingrays first goal of the game late in the period. On a 3-on-2, Kevin Dufour dropped the puck back to Gaul for a wide open shot in the slot. The one goal deficit at the end of the first period would be as close as South Carolina would come to Greenville.
Just like the first, the Swamp Rabbits catapulted out of the tunnel into the second period. McPherson battled for the puck behind the Stingrays net and got it in front to Adam Chapie just off the right post. A quick flick of the wrists fed the puck across the crease to Ahti Oksanen for a tap in at 2:48.
Parker Milner continued to be left out to dry in the game as Greenville picked apart the Stingrays defense. On the Swamp Rabbits lone power play of the game, Alderson collected his second goal of the game and the eventual game winning goal to push the Swamp Rabbits to a 4-1 lead. Miceli earned another assist with a pass on the money to Alderson for the one-timer at 4:30 of the second period.
Finally, McPherson ended the charge with his first goal of the game and third point of the evening at 5:44. Spiro Goulakos used his vision off a face off and put a perfect pass to the third year center on the right side of the net. Milner was caught completely off guard as Goulakos faked the shot from the blue line and connected with McPherson for the tally.
South Carolina countered at the end of the period with two goals. Kelly Zajac netted the first at 14:23 on a breakaway before Rob Flick popped a puck into the net on a deflection.
Malcolm kept the lead from diminishing for Greenville with key saves, including a toe stop with less than two minutes to play in the second period. The netminder extended his winning trend into the playoffs with his sixth straight victory. Greenville’s fourth year goaltender made 34 saves on the Stingrays during his eighth career post season contest.
McPherson completed a four point affair in the third period to seal the victory for the Swamp Rabbits. Oksanen connected with McPherson for the final goal of the game as it was passed right across the crease. Brown fed it to the left side of the net and the rookie from Finland pushed it back across for the tap in.
The Swamp Rabbits penalty kill came in with a 4-for-4 performance including a first period 5-on-3. Despite being outshot 37 to 25, Greenville collected the win to take care of home ice advantage.
The Swamp Rabbits and Stingrays face off again tomorrow night for Game 2 of the South Division Semifinal. Greenville leads the Stingrays 1-0 in the best-of-7 series.
ROUND 1 | GAME 2 | FRIDAY, APRIL 14 | 7:00 PM
Prior to Game Two on Friday night, join the Swamp Rabbits for a pregame fan fest on the Furman Plaza at 5:30 p.m. The fan fest will feature food specials, music and inteactive games for kids Score big with a Bon Secours Family Fun Pack and get four tickets, four meals and two Swamp Rabbits lunch bags for only $60. Be one of the first 1,000 fans in the door and get a commemorative set of Kelly Cup Playoffs Thundersticks.
PLAYOFF TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW!
Tickets are being made available at regular season prices for the first round! Visit SwampRabbits.com, Ticketmaster.com or the Bon Secours Wellness Arena Box Office to purchase yours today! For group rates call 864-674-PUCK (7825) and speak to a Swamp Rabbits Account Executive to plan your playoff group outing!
Get Social: Follow the Swamp Rabbits all season long and get behind-the-scenes coverage like never before on the team’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. Download the Swamp Rabbits app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for up to date information right in the palm of your hand. Use the hashtag, #KeepStomping throughout the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoff run to follow along to all the news on the postseason.
Bring your group out to a Kelly Cup Playoffs game! Contact a Swamp Rabbits Account Executive at 864-674-PUCK (7825) for more information and to secure your seats today! Get the latest Swamp Rabbits gear by visiting the “Hop Shop” online at SwampRabbits.com/shop to browse the full collection of fan wear and novelties!