Greenville finishes exhibition play with a perfect 2-0-0 record
BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Duluth, GA – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, outdueled the Atlanta Gladiators in their exhibition finale on Sunday to earn a 5-4 victory at the Duluth Ice Forum. Rookie defenseman Davis Vandane scored the game-winning goal with just 2:01 left in the third period, one of his three points on the night.
With the win, the Swamp Rabbits completed their two-game preseason slate with a perfect 2-0-0 record. Vandane (1g, 2a) and Nikita Kashirsky (1g, 1a) each recorded multiple points.
For the second consecutive game, Paul Rodrigues opened the scoring for Greenville with an early goal in the first period. From the right hash marks, Rodrigues collected the puck and sent a quick wrist shot past goaltender Kent Patterson just 94 seconds in.
The Swamp Rabbits made it 2-0 in the final minute of the opening frame when Kashirsky grabbed a feed from Vandane at the top of the point and funneled a shot through the defense and past Patterson. It was Kashirsky’s first of the preseason at the 19:05 mark.
Atlanta bounced back in the second period with a pair of goals from Nate Condon and Mitchell Dempsey. At the 10:37 mark, Condon pursued Kyle Gibbon’s pass in the left circle and fired a shot past the blocker of Braely Torris to cut the deficit to one. Seven minutes later, Garry Nunn and Thomas Frazee teamed up to draw Torris out of his crease, helping Dempsey notch his first goal of the preseason.
The pendulum continued to swing in the final minutes of the middle frame when Emerson Clark put the Swamp Rabbits back on top at the 18:49 mark. Vandane created the threat with a shot from the perimeter that Clark tipped past Patterson in the crease for a 3-2 advantage.
Elbowing penalties to Justin DaSilva early in the third period helped the Gladiators tie the game for a second time. At the 2:23 mark, the Swamp Rabbits’ defenseman was given a two-minute elbowing minor and 10-minute misconduct, in which Frazee capitalized at 4:10 from Derek Nesbitt and Joe Stejskal.
The game continued its back-and-forth trend less than two minutes later when Rob Kwiet produced an even-strength, unassisted goal at 5:39. However, Atlanta’s Max Everson made it 4-4 with a power-play strike at the 12:31 mark when he capitalized on a cross-checking minor against Clark.
The Swamp Rabbits took command for good at 17:59 of the third period when Kashirsky slipped a pass to Vandane at the top of the point, where the rookie defenseman threaded a shot past Patterson for the 5-4 final.
Sunday’s exhibition contest also included the only two tilts of Greenville’s preseason. Joey Holka and Drew Baker dropped the gloves at 14:10 of the first period, followed by a bout between Tayler Thompson and Kevin Albers at 6:35 of the second.
Torris earned the victory between the pipes with seven saves on 11 saves in 30:26 of playing time, while starting goaltender Allen York stopped all 15 saves he faced in 29:04. Patterson suffered the loss with 19 saves on 24 shots.
The Swamp Rabbits finished the game 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill. Atlanta outshot Greenville 26-24.
The Swamp Rabbits kick off the 2015-16 regular season on Saturday, Oct. 17 against the Orlando Solar Bears at the Amway Center. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. and fans can stream all of the action through ECHL.TV. The season opener will also be covered live through the Swamp Rabbits Official Twitter page (@SwampRabbits).
Ticket plans for the inaugural season of the Swamp Rabbits’ era are available now and start as low as $81! Call an Account Executive today at 864-674-PUCK to secure your seats! The Swamp Rabbits open the home portion of the 2015-16 season on Friday, October 23 with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop against the South Carolina Stingrays. Opening Night tickets start at just $10 and the first 2,000 fans will receive a special edition Swamp Rabbits car magnet.