SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits have had a busy week going up against South Division opponents. Monday night, they ended a four-game in a six-day stretch where the Swamp Rabbits went 1-3-0-0 and earned just two points.

Results from the Past Week:

Oct. 31st @ Norfolk Admirals; L 3-2

  • If this Halloween night game is any indication, the season series between Norfolk and Greenville will be a fun one to watch. Chris Izmirlian provided the only two tallies the Swamp Rabbits would get against the Admirals on this night. Norfolk grabbed a 3-2 lead late in the 2nd period on a power-play goal and held it that way until the final horn. It was a great game with a lot of action but the Swamp Rabbits wound up on the short side of the result.

Nov. 2nd vs. Orlando Solar Bears; W 3-2 / OT

  • This was a great game from both teams and an exciting one to watch. Nobody got on the board until 7:48 into the 2nd period when the Swamp Rabbits struck first. The Solar Bears answered the goal quickly before grabbing the lead on the power play just a short time later. The Swamp Rabbits answered quickly with a quick goal of their own from Johno May. May has been one of the rare bright spots for the Swamp Rabbits this season. The game went to overtime, tied 2-2. Overtime was just about to end and the game head to a shootout when May fed Chris Izmirlian for the game-winner with just 38 seconds left. You can see the game-winning goal below.

Nov. 3rd vs. Orlando Solar Bears; L 4-0

  • After an OT loss on Friday night, the Solar Bears came out ready to go on Saturday night. Devin Buffalo started in goal for the Swamp Rabbits and could not catch a break. Orlando had so many chances in the first ten minutes that it just felt like a matter of time before they got one, or ten, past Buffalo. Orlando got the scoring started in the middle of the first period and did not let up. The Swamp Rabbits had 36 shots on goal but nothing got past the rookie goalkeeper for Orlando, Corbin Boes. The Solar Bears shutout the Swamp Rabbits, 4-0.

Nov. 5th vs. Norfolk Admirals; L 3-2

  • This game was an exciting one that came right down to the last few minutes. After a scoreless first period, Norfolk scored two goals in the 2nd period to take a 2-0 lead. The Swamp Rabbits scored quickly to start the 3rd period and the crowd came to life. Jake Bolton redirected a shot to get Greenville on the board. It was halfway through the 3rd and final period that the Admirals doubled their lead again. It was 3-1 but Bolton answered again. Jake Bolton got another goal with under five minutes to play to cut the Norfolk lead to 3-2, which was how the game would end. There was a great offensive possession stretch of Norfolk in the last couple of minutes that did not allow Greenville to pull the goalie and add an attacker. The Swamp Rabbits played great even though they did not earn a win. They had plenty of really good looks but Ty Reichenbach, the Norfolk goalie, was incredible on this night.

Player of the Week:

The POTW for the Swamp Rabbits this week is forward Chris Izmirlian. In the four games this week, Izmirlian scored three goals. The most impressive of those goals was the game-winner in overtime against Orlando on Friday night. Check out Izmirlian’s game-winner:

Weekly Takeaways:

  • Garret Bartus is really good! It is clear early on that Bartus is going to be the workhorse for the Swamp Rabbits in the net. He is the clear number one guy as Devin Buffalo has just looked lost early in his pro career. Bartus played in three of the four games this past week and made some incredible saves that kept the games manageable. He has 30 saves on Wednesday, then 42 saves on both Friday and Monday nights. He has five losses early on but none of that should be a bad reflection on his play.
  • The defense for the Swamp Rabbits continues to struggle. On Saturday night, against Orlando, it seemed like a puck was crossing the center of the zone on every Orlando possession. The defense was better on Monday night against Norfolk so let’s hope that continues.
  • The Greenville penalty kill cannot get worse, right? After being one of the worst penalty-killing teams last season, they find themselves at the bottom of the league again early on. After 11 games they have given up 14 power-play goals on 49 times they have found themselves short-handed. That is only 71.4 % on the penalty-kill and ranks them last in the ECHL.

Stacking Up the South Division:

The Swamp Rabbits continued a familiar trend this week by struggling against teams in the South Division of the ECHL. It is going to be an uphill battle for any team if they cannot take care of business against teams in their division. Coach Kevin Kerr’s squad has to find a way to turn this season around pretty quickly. Here is how the South Division stacks up on Wednesday morning:

  1. Norfolk Admirals, 7-3-0-0, 14 pts
  2. Orlando Solar Bears, 6-3-1-0, 13 pts
  3. Jacksonville Icemen, 6-2-0-0,  12 pts
  4. South Carolina Stingrays, 6-4-0-0, 12 pts
  5. Atlanta Gladiators, 3-3-2-0, 8 pts
  6. Florida Everblades, 3-3-2-0, 8 pts
  7. Greenville Swamp Rabbits, 3-7-1-0, 7 pts 

The Swamp Rabbits find themselves in the cellar of the South Division although they have played more games than anyone else in the division.

Up Next for the Swamp Rabbits:

The Swamp Rabbits will travel to West Virginia this weekend. They will take on the Wheeling Nailers on Friday and Saturday night at WesBanco Arena. Both games will start at 7:05 pm.

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