WEEKLY RECAPThe Greenville Swamp Rabbits emerged from the holiday break rested and ready to go against the Eastern Conference's top team this past weekend. Both games played like a playoff series, with drama, lead changes, and overtime being necessary on both nights.Friday night saw the Swamp Rabbits score the first goal, thanks to Stephen Pierog, give up the lead, and tie the game on a shorthanded goal by Thomas Ebbing in the third period against a team that had only lost once when leading after two periods of play. Ultimately it was Blake Winiecki who gave the 'Blades the lead in the shootout, and a controversial call in the third round saw the shootout come to a close, and the Everblades pick up the extra point.Saturday had fireworks. Lots of them. The game featured 73 minutes in penalties, 87 shots on goal, nine goals, three lead changes in regulation, and another shootout. The Swamp Rabbits got into penalty trouble all night, and were forced to kill off nine of ten penalties, and yet still have the lead in the game twice. Yet, the league's best team kept finding a way to fight back, take the lead twice of their own accord, and then finish the game off in a shootout on a goal by Nathan Perkovich in the bottom of the third round, on a decisive shot.Wednesday's game in Orlando is the official halfway point of the season as the 2018 part of the schedule has come and gone.12/28 vs. Florida Everblades - OTL 3-212/29 vs. Florida Everblades - OTL 5-4 FAMILY DENTAL HEALTH PLAYER OF THE WEEKChris Nell - 2 GP | 0-0-2 - 2.77 GAA - .939 sv%Chris Nell may not have picked up the wins for his team this past weekend, but his performances were nonetheless incredible. He made 38 saves on 40 shots fired his way on Friday night, and held the fort repeatedly as the Everblades took the lead. One would think that was enough for a weekend. Then, Saturday happened. The Everblades threw every shot possible at him—59 of them throughout the course of regulation and beyond, and he made a career-high 55 saves. Many of them were in the midst of a stretch of time where the Everblades were on the man advantage early. And, as many in hockey say, your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer, and the penalty kill went 9-for-10 on Saturday night. RABBIT TAILS
- The Greenville Swamp Rabbits are among the league leaders in the amount of one-goal games they have participated in, including two this past weekend. The team is 8-5-5 in those games, meaning they have picked up points in the standings in 13 of the 18 tries.
- Since the Swamp Rabbits took part in two shootouts this past weekend, the first two of the season, only one team has yet to take part in one this season—the Orlando Solar Bears. Greenville was one of the final few teams that hadn't yet.
- Michael Pelech has been a consistent source of points all season long, but December was his best month yet. While he struggled to start, his career-best five-point effort against Orlando got him moving in the right direction. The captain posted four goals and nine assists in December.
- Other great performers in the month of December include Thomas Ebbing, who posted 12 points, Johno May, who notched 11, and Chris Izmirlian, who scored 9 points in the month.
- This upcoming weekend will feature the Swamp Rabbits' first meetings with the North Division, as the Worcester Railers come to town. They will not see another North Division team until the Swamp Rabbits play three games in a row against North Division foes in early February.
- Wednesday, January 2 | at Orlando Solar Bears | 7:00 p.m.
- Saturday, January 5 | vs. Worcester Railers | 7:00 p.m. - Nickelodeon Night featuring Rocket Power
- Sunday, January 6 | vs. Worcester Railers | 3:00 p.m. - Autism Day
SOUTH DIVISION STANDINGS
- Florida Everblades (21-6-5) - 47 pts
- Jacksonville Icemen (18-13-1) - 37 pts
- South Carolina Stingrays (18-13-1) - 37 pts
- Orlando Solar Bears (16-12-3) - 35 pts
- Norfolk Admirals (14-16-3) - 31 pts
- Greenville Swamp Rabbits (12-18-5) - 29 pts
- Atlanta Gladiators (7-17-6) - 20 pts
*standings as of 10:00 a.m. on December 31, 2018