The Greenville Swamp Rabbits entered the week looking for a boost in the South Division standings. Four teams are in the running for the final two playoff spots, as the South Carolina Stingrays, who clinched a spot this past weekend, and the Florida Everblades, have essentially wrapped up the top two.
The Stingrays had broken the Swamp Rabbits' hearts last Saturday, and responded to allowing the first goal in a belligerent fashion. Matt Marcinew scored at the 3:59 mark of the first, but South Carolina scored six unanswered goals to break the game open. Four of those goals came in a second period where the game turned.
The Swamp Rabbits' five-game road trip was in the rear view mirror, at least for a spell with the Worcester Railers visiting for a pair of games. Friday, however, was a heartbreaker. Marcinew continued his hot streak with another goal to open the scoring, but the third period opened up in the wrong way.
Worcester scored four goals on 13 shots in the third period. Michael Pelech got Greenville within a goal at 3-2 at the 16:14 mark, but backbreaker came at the 18:26 mark, as the Railers posted the insurance tally to put the game out of hand.
The Swamp Rabbits dominated the Railers on the next night, posting 41 shots, and even when tied after one, scored three unanswered goals to close the game out. Cédric Lacroix opened the scoring, and Drew Callin responded to it with a penalty shot to close out the period.
The Swamp Rabbits would have none of it. Marcinew's goal early in the second proved to be the game-winning goal, and Lacroix and Kamerin Nault added tallies to put the game away. Jake Kupsky made 22 saves in the Greenville net to seal the deal.
Sunday was a knock-down-drag-out matchup against the Atlanta Gladiators. Greenville took an early lead thanks to two first period goals from Nathan Perkovich. As Atlanta has shown all season, they don't go away. The Glads tied the game in quick fashion, and eventually took the lead on a Luke Nogard goal early in the third period.
The Swamp Rabbits took a chance shorthanded, and converted. Pelech found defenseman Luke Ripley trailing down the wing on a two-on-one break, and scored to tie the game and force overtime. But a penalty in the extra session proved costly, as Scott Conway scored at the 2:44 mark to give Atlanta the extra standings point.
2/18 at South Carolina Stingrays - L 6-2
2/21 vs Worcester Railers - L 4-2
2/22 vs Worcester Railers - W 4-1
2/23 at Atlanta Gladiators - OTL 4-3
Greenville Swamp Rabbits vs Cincinnati Cyclones
Wednesday, February 26 - 7:05 p.m.
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Greenville Swamp Rabbits at Cincinnati Cyclones
Friday, February 28 - 7:35 p.m.
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Greenville Swamp Rabbits at Indy Fuel
Tuesday, February 29 - 7:05 p.m.
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Greenville Swamp Rabbits at Atlanta Gladiators
Sunday, March 1 - 2:05 p.m.
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Matt Marcinew - 4 GP | 3 G - 1 A - 4 P
The Alberta native returned from a five-game suspension by flying out of the game. Marcinew scored goals in three of the four games an added an assist for the most points by a Swamp Rabbit in the past week. The second-year pro ranks tied for third in goals (14) and tied for fifth in assists (14) on the team.
- With Cédric Lacroix scoring his tenth goal of the season on Saturday, Greenville's roster now possesses eight double-digit goal scorers.
- The Swamp Rabbits are one of six teams with more than 100 goals on home ice.
- Michael Pelech is on the cusp of a milestone. On Friday, he will play in his 700th ECHL game.
- The Swamp Rabbits have scored the second-most shorthanded goals in the league (12), behind only Orlando (14).
- The Swamp Rabbits own the 11th-best offense in the league, with a 3.28 goals-per-game mark.
SOUTH DIVISION STANDINGS
- x South Carolina Stingrays (41-10-4) - 86 pts
- Florida Everblades (38-13-5) - 81 pts
- Orlando Solar Bears (25-24-6) - 56 pts
- Greenville Swamp Rabbits (25-27-5) - 52 pts
- Atlanta Gladiators (21-28-2) - 44 pts
- Jacksonville Icemen (18-24-6) - 42 pts
- Norfolk Admirals (12-33-6) - 30 pts
*standings as of 10:00 a.m. on February 24, 2020
x - clinched playoff spot