Swamp Rabbits Look To Spoil Stingrays’ Opener
Following Wednesday night win, Greenville faces South Carolina in Stingrays’ season opener
BY: Brian Tosti, Greenville Swamp Rabbits
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (1-2-0-0), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, are coming off a Wednesday night shutout win over the Norfolk Admirals. Brandon Alderson and Trevor Gerling netted their first goals with the Swamp Rabbits four minutes apart in the second period. Alderson’s power play tally proved to be the game-winning goal. In just the second start of Brandon Halverson’s pro career, he produced a shutout for the Swamp Rabbits making 27 saves in net. Greenville’s opponent tonight, the South Carolina Stingrays (0-0-0-0) have not played a game in the 2016-17 regular season. Greenville will play South Carolina 14 times this year. In 11 meetings last season, the Swamp Rabbits were 5-4-1-1 against the South Division rival.
POWER PLAY LAMP-LIGHTER
Greenville’s offense was sparked Wednesday night by Brandon Alderson, scoring his first goal of the season on the power play. The power play goal was the first of the campaign for the Swamp Rabbits who are now 1-of-8 through three games, ranking 12th in the league. Alderson has 36 goals in his pro hockey career since 2013. In the ECHL, Alderson has played 79 games, but suited up 133 times for Adirondack and Lehigh Valley in the AHL. With Reading in 2015-16, the Oakville, ON native had 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points in 41 games.
Second-year pro Angelo Miceli is leading the Swamp Rabbits in scoring through three games and is on a point-per-game pace with three points (1G, 2A). He has recorded a point in all three games, something only four others have been able to do on the road in the ECHL. The Montreal, QC native has scored points in his last four ECHL games, dating back to March 27. The forward signed with Greenville during the offseason after playing 29 games with St. John’s in the AHL and scoring four points (3g, 1a) in his rookie season.
NOT A BAD OUTING
The first win of Brandon Halverson’s career came with dramatic flair as he shut out the Norfolk Admirals, stopping 27 shots. The rookie netminders has a 1.51 goals against average and a .951 save percentage in two appearances this season. In addition to his 61 saves this year, Halverson has played 117:27 of shutout hockey in the crease for Greenville. The Traverse City, MI native was a second-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2014. That same season, Halverson earned league-topping numbers by notching 60 wins and six shutouts with Sault St. Marie in the Ontario Hockey League.
South Carolina has not played a game in the 2016-17 season heading into tonight. Only two other teams out of the 27 in the ECHL did not see game action during the league’s opening week. Last night, the Alaska Aces played their first game of the year against the Colorado Eagles, falling 2-0. The Orlando Solar Bears will drop the puck on their season tonight at home against the Florida Everblades at 7 p.m. Last season, every team had played at least one game through the opening week of the regular season.
South Carolina’s top ten scorers from the 2015-16 season are missing from the opening day roster in North Charleston. The top returner for the Stingrays is forward Kelly Zajac, who ended the year with nine goals and thirteen assists for 22 points in 21 games. The Winnipeg, MB native spent 14 games in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose before joining South Carolina for their Kelly Cup Playoff run. He had 18 points (3G, 15A) in 19 post-season games.
– The Swamp Rabbits finish a four-game road trip tonight before returning to Greenville and taking to the Sandlapper Securities Rink for the home opener at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Friday, October 28 at 7 p.m. Greenville is 1-2-0-0 on this season-opening road trip.
– Greenville’s power play is ranked 12th in the ECHL to start the season.
– The Swamp Rabbits’ penalty kill is ranked ninth, stopping 12 of 13 power plays (92.3%) so far this season.
– Brandon Halverson leads ECHL rookie goaltenders with a 1.51 GAA and one shutout.
New York Rangers (2-2-0-0):
Last Game: 10/19/16 vs. Detroit – 1-2 L
Next Game: Tonight @ Washington – 7:00 p.m.
The Rangers scored early against Detroit on Wednesday night as Mika Zibanejad deflected Ryan McDonagh’s shot a minute into the game. Jimmy Howard was stellar the rest of the night, making 32 saves for Detroit. The Rangers return to action tonight versus the Washington Capitals.
Hartford Wolf Pack (1-1-0-0):
Last Game: 10/15/16 @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – 2-6 L
Next Game: Tonight @ Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m.
Hartford had goals from Nicklas Jensen and Matt Carey on Saturday night. Mackenzie Skapski made his first start of the season, stopping 29 shots. The Wolf Pack begin the weekend on the road on Saturday versus the Lehigh Valley Phantoms before returning to Hartford to face the St. John’s IceCaps tomorrow.
HOME OPENER | Friday, October 28 | 7:00 p.m.: The Swamp Rabbits open play at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Friday, October 28 against the Wichita Thunder. The first 1,000 fans in the building will receive a Swamp Rabbits rally towel. Special $10 Opening Night tickets are available by visiting SwampRabbits.com/opening-night.
Join us for a pre-game Fan Fest on the Clemson Plaza beginning at 5:30 p.m. with inflatables, concessions, and live music.
Ticket packages and group rates for the 2016-17 season are available now! 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!