GREENVILLE, SC – The previous night’s game ended up being all Beast in the third as they scored three unanswered goals to take the win. The Swamp Rabbits then have something to prove as they came into this game with a four-game losing streak at home.
December 29: at Greenville Swamp Rabbits
At first, it seemed like the first period was going to be another scoreless affair, especially after Evan Jasper was awarded a penalty shot on Zach Fuacle, but the puck never made it on net. At about the nine-minute mark, Derek Sutliffe slammed home the one-timer from Joseph Widmar. Two minutes later, Fucale was caught out of position behind the net and Joe Basaraba put Bretton Cameron’s centering pass into an empty net.
A short time later, Joe Houk got two minutes for boarding and Brandon MacLean made it a costly penalty as he put it in the net behind Brandon Halverson. The Swamp Rabbits did opt to switch up their goalie, but the Beast stayed with Fucale in net, which seemed to be a mistake in the first period. The defence needs to own their own lack of support to Fucale as well in that period. The final goal of the first period came from a Cameron one-timer from Jasper. The period ended with the Beast on the power play and started the second period with 1:46 carried over.
The second period proved to be the goalie we were promised in the previous games as the two goalies again combined for a total of 31 saves and no goals. The Beast defence definitely helped Fucale more, but Fucale was also back in Beast mode to save everything that came at him. Likewise, Halverson also stopped everything that came at him, including making some saves he should not have been able to make.
The Beast found themselves in penalty trouble in the period as they could not keep the puck in the Swamp Rabbits’ end and David Vallorani got two minutes for slashing the man on the breakaway. This negated a Beast power play, but proved to be a spark for the Beast. They ended up outshooting the Swamp Rabbits 5-1 during that penalty and Mike Folkes two minute interference call a short time later. The Beast were strong on the forecheck, but could not beat Halverson. Blain broke up a play, stole the puck, moved it into a 2-on-1 and got the shot off, but could not get it in the net. The Beast got down early to be outshot, but by the end of the period had almost tied the Swamp Rabbits on the shot count. Given how strong the Beast are in the third period, all attention was then focused on how they would do in the third.
While the Beast came out to play hard, they got a little too excited and quickly got a penalty for too many men on the ice. The Beast held off the Swamp Rabbits well enough, as Fucale made some excellent saves and the defence helped clear the end. A little 4-on-4 later saw Alex Foster in the box when Cameron his second goal and a third point on the night. This would prove to be the game-winning goal. When Jordan Henry got nailed into the boards, the Beast faithful were excited to see that Jack Nevins got a five-minute boarding call and a game misconduct for the hit. The Beast faithful were also scared as Henry stayed down for a long time and both trainers had to help him off the ice and down the ramp, as his night was finished.
With the Beast on the power play, the first line was not very successful and barely got any shots off as they focused too much on passing. Then out came the second line and they proved to be successful as Stefan Fournier put in Reggie Traccitto’s broken stick shot in the net. With just under two minutes left in the power play, Fournier got stupid and didn’t like getting cross-checked so retaliated and got the two minutes to make it 4-on-4. The Beast have proven to work well in those conditions and took all of the remaining shots on net. However, Halverson just could not be beat that fourth time and ended up with 42 saves on the night.
In the end, the Beast played two good periods of hockey and almost won back-to-back games in Greenville. Instead, they take two out of four points and get a travel day before playing the Cyclones in Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve, with an early 6 pm start.
Score: Beast 3 – Swamp Rabbits 4
Shots: Beast 45 – Swamp Rabbits 40
Penalties: Beast 6 – Swamp Rabbits 5
Beast goals scored by Fournier (1), Scott Jacklin (1) and Brandon MacLean (1). Assists from Luc-Olivier Blain (1) and Jamie Doornbosch (1), Fournier (1), Brandon Marino (1), Reggie Traccitto (1) and Vallorani (1). Beast shot leaders were MacLean with eight and Nathan Todd with five.
Swamp Rabbits goals scored by Basaraba (1), Cameron (2) and Sutliffe (2). Assists from Cameron (1), Houk (1), Jasper (2), Matt Prapavessis (2), Carter Sandlak (1) and Widmar (1). Swamp Rabbits shot leaders were Basaraba and Sanlak with six each.