SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits traveled to Wheeling, WV to take on the Wheeling Nailers this past weekend. They played Friday and Saturday night at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. It was a match-up between two teams that find themselves at the bottom of the ECHL standings early this season. The Swamp Rabbits were able to salvage a split in the weekend series with an OT winner on Saturday night.
Results from the Past Week:
Nov. 9th @ Wheeling Nailers
It was a different opponent but the same ole struggles for the Swamp Rabbits. The defense, which has been a rough spot, continued that trend during the past weekend. It was hard to tell if Wheeling’s offense was just that good, or the Swamp Rabbits defense was just that bad. I think it was a mixture of both on Friday night.
The Nailers came out firing and got two goals in the first period. They added just one goal in the second period before tallying two more in the third and final period. Honestly, the score could have been much worse if it was not for Garret Bartus’ play in goal. The only Greenville goal for the night was scored by Jake Bolton on the power play. Bolton has been on a tear lately with scoring three goals in his last couple of games.
Greenville was 1-7 on the power play. The Swamp Rabbits only got 18 shots on goal, while Wheeling got 26. It’s hard to pin this game all on the defense because it really looked like the whole team was confused on the ice. The offense looked out of place and confused most of the night. Wheeling had their way with Swamp Rabbits and won this game 5-1.
About the only thing the Swamp Rabbits fans had to cheer on Friday night was Tommy Mele going toe-to-toe with Kevin Spinozzi of Wheeling.
— Wheeling Nailers (@WheelingNailers) November 10, 2018
Nov. 10th @ Wheeling Nailers; W 3-2 OT
Thankfully, the same Greenville team did not show up at Wesbanco Arena on Saturday. Jake Bolton got the scoring started halfway for Greenville again on Saturday night, scoring his fourth goal in last three games midway through the first period. The lead doubled when Trevor Owens put back a rebound off of a shot from Kevin Miller.
It looked like the Swamp Rabbits would head into the first break with a 2-0 lead but that was not the case. Wheeling got a two-on-one break that allowed Troy Josephs the score and cut the lead to one. It was about halfway through the second period when Wheeling tied things up at 2-2. Bartus was great again on Saturday night.
For a while, it seemed like it was a matter of time before Wheeling scored to take the lead but Bartus never broke. During the second and third periods, Greenville was out-shot 25-10. The game was tied at the end of regulation and the game headed to overtime. It was just one minute into overtime when Sean Flanagan fed Austen Brassard for the game-winner. Brassard’s OT goal gave the Swamp Rabbits at 3-2 win in Wheeling.
Here is that wrister that won it for the Swamp Rabbits:
— ECHL (@ECHL) November 11, 2018
Player of the Week:
I’m sure you have already guessed it by reading the recap’s of the games this weekend, but Jake Bolton has been playing great as of late for the Swamp Rabbits. His ability to put pucks right on target from the blue line has made him one of the go-to guys when Greenville is on the power play. His four-goal week was a big part of keeping the Swamp Rabbits in games this week. He has added one assist with his four goals. I’m sure his goals this weekend against Wheeling carried even more weight with him. Bolton signed with Wheeling before last season, but was traded to Florida after just six games with the Nailers. This offense could be fun to watch if Bolton continues playing well.
- The offense is inconsistent. I’m not talking about the kind of inconsistency that trends from game-to-game. This offense shows inconsistency over the course of a single game. They start strong in some games before just looking lethargic towards the tail end. They have also had games where they start off slow but come on strong late. A perfect example of this was the Swamp Rabbits’ game Monday against Norfolk, which fit this exact model. The team has to find a way to play 60 minutes of hockey. Playing well for just small spurts of games is just not going to cut it.
- The defense has to make changes. They are just making it way too easy for the opposing team to get chances and really good looks at goal. The season is too early for a full overhaul at defense but it’s time to start changing some pairings.
Around the South Division:
The Swamp Rabbits still sit last in the South Division of the ECHL and three points out of the 4th and final playoff spot. Thankfully, there is still a lot of hockey to be played.
Norfolk Admirals, 8-4-0, 16 pts
Orlando Solar Bears, 7-3-1, 15 pts
Jacksonville IceMen, 7-4-0, 14 pts
South Carolina Stingrays, 6-6-0, 12 pts
Florida Everblades, 5-3-2, 12 pts
Atlanta Gladiators, 4-4-2, 10 pts
Greenville Swamp Rabbits, 4-8-1, 9 pts
It’s a four-game week for the Swamp Rabbits, which gets underway with a Kids Day game in Chili City Tuesday morning:
Tuesday, Nov. 13th: @ Cincinnati Cyclones (10:35 am ET)
Thursday, Nov. 15th: vs. Norfolk Admirals (7:00 pm ET)
Saturday, Nov. 17th: vs. Jacksonville Icemen (7:00 pm ET)
Sunday, Nov. 18th: vs. Wheeling Nailers (3:00 pm ET)
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