GREENVILLE, S.C. — It took a largely defensive effort, a key third period goal, and the second shutout in Chris Nell's pro career to sweep the weekend. The Greenville Swamp Rabbits struck twice in the third period and topped the Atlanta Gladiators 2-0 on Saturday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.The game saw no goals through two periods of play—only a spirited goaltender's duel between Nell and Gladiators goaltender Miroslav Svoboda. Svoboda had made 29 saves through two periods of play, and Nell made 16 heading into the decisive third period.A breakthrough came in the form of an Atlanta defensive breakdown. A turnover at the defensive blue line forced by newcomer Brendan Harms started the play. Harms stretched the ice and found captain Michael Pelech waiting at the offensive blue line. His initial shot was denied by Svoboda, but he followed up his rebound and buried the biscuit for his eighth of the season.Stephen Pierog put the game away after another Atlanta turnover at the 19:08 mark and put the puck into an empty net to notch an insurance goal.The Gladiators had their opportunities to jump on the scoreboard, including a third-period opportunity in which Nell forced out the left pad to deny, and a double minor penalty for high sticking on Chad Duchesne early in the second period gave Atlanta a chance to get the first tally, but neither were successful. The Glads went 0-for-4 on the man advantage as the Swamp Rabbits' penalty kill came up large.Nell's shutout was the second of his career, and counted for the last two shutouts that the Swamp Rabbits have closed out. His last came on April 7, 2018 against these same Atlanta Gladiators, where he made a career-high 49 saves to put up the clean sheet.Greenville posted back-to-back wins to increase the gap between themselves and the Gladiators, extending the chasm to six points, and clawing to within three points of their next opponent, the South Carolina Stingrays, who have 22 points. The Swamp Rabbits head to the road to begin a four-game road swing. The trip begins in Charleston as the Swamp Rabbits take on the Stingrays. Coverage of the game can be found on 106.3 WORD FM, or on ECHL.TV starting at 6:45 for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.
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