GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits got off to a rough start in their home-opener weekend as they struggled against the Florida Everblades. With several new players, new head and assistant coach, and a truncated season with little time to prepare, the Swamp Rabbits have yet to truly gel on the ice.
Florida opened the scoring Friday with a power play goal in the first period by Patrick Harper (draft pick of the Nashville Predators). The lead was snatched by Greenville’s Karch Backman and Greg Meireles, scoring their first pro goals respectively in the second period, before Florida tied the game up with another power play goal from Cameron Hebig.
The Everblades swiftly regained the lead in the third as Cole Smith earned his first pro goal, Michael Huntebrinker got one in on the power play, and Tanner Jeannot pushed through the Rabbits’ defense with a short-handed goal. Swamp Rabbits rookie Nick Poehling broke through to score his first pro goal, however the Rabbits fell 6-3 to the Everblades as Patrick Harper returned with an empty-net goal from Florida’s blue line.
Saturday was a similar story. The first period ended scoreless, and the second ended tied 1-1 with the Everblades’ Alex Kile scoring on the power play and the Rabbits’ Joey Haddad responding at 16:06 with an offensive rush. Florida wasted no time in the third as Tommy Novack and Patrick Harper scored within a minute of each other at the onset, soon to be followed by a goal from John McCaron and the final goal coming from Blake Winiecki.
The Swamp Rabbits are currently 1-3 in the season. Friday’s game demonstrated that special teams currently leave a lot to be desired, and they need to address the breakdown that occurred in both games during the third period. It was heartening to see several rookies earn their first pro goals, and with time and opportunity, the Rabbits could be a serious force to be reckoned with.
Greenville will host their next game at home Saturday, December 26 against the South Carolina Stingrays (who have provided them their only win so far this season). You can listen to the game on The Sin Bin app!
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