Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (21-32-6-1), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, suffered a tough defeat at the hands of the Orlando Solar Bears (28-26-5-1) tonight at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Orlando recorded five goals in the final two periods to take a 7-1 advantage. Greenville welcomed its largest crowd of the season with over 7,500 fans in attendance to support the annual Heroes Night presented by Fluor.
Greenville put the pressure on Orlando in the first minute of play and controlled the pace of play in the first period, but the Solar Bears posted the opening goal. Less than 2 minutes into the contest, Martin Dzierkals net his 14th goal of the season in transition by firing a shot from the left circle on a 2-on-1.
Greenville answered back as forward J.T. Henke escaped for a breakaway down the left side of the ice. The center grabbed a long pass from Daniel Echeverri at center ice and cruised into the zone alone. A quick shot from inside of the left circle beat Cal Heeter just inside of the right post. Henke earned goals in back-to-back games after notching the first goal on Friday night in North Charleston.
The Swamp Rabbits tried to hold the tie through the intermission and even gain a lead, launching 12 shots on the net of Heeter. However, off the Swamp Rabbits lone penalty in the first period, the Solar Bears managed to capitalize. Joe Perry deflected a shot from Mike Monfredo at the blue line and just tucked it past the arm of Ty Rimmer. Perry’s 12th of the season held up as the game-winning goal and helped Orlando to a 1-for-4 performance on the power play.
After the first intermission, the Swamp Rabbits were caught puck watching in the defensive zone. Sean Zimmerman moved down the wing and the Solar Bears’ captain caught the eye of all of Greenville’s skaters and dished the puck to Max Novak in front of the net. The one-timed shot made it 3-1 for Orlando less than two minutes into the second period.
Greenville relentlessly battled back and during the middle of the period, maintained control of the play in the offensive zone for almost two minutes of play. In an unfortunate turn of events, the Solar Bears took the puck and cleared it to center ice for Hunter Fejes who sped down the rink on a breakaway to make it 4-1. Moments later Kale Kerbashian connected on a one-timer to extend the lead.
In the third period, the Swamp Rabbits still posted 13 shots against the Solar Bears but were unable to beat Heeter, who ended the night with 37 saves on 38 shots. Orlando capitalized for a pair of third period goals to complete the game.
Greenville returns to action tomorrow night, seeking revenge on the Orlando Solar Bears at 3 p.m.
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