ORLANDO, Fla. — A largely defensive effort fell onto the back of goaltender Garrett Bartus, who was in search of his first win since November 15. He rebounded strongly, and made 29 saves in a 2-1 win over the Orlando Solar Bears on Wednesday night at the Amway Center.
BOXSCOREBartus made 12 saves in the first period, 15 saves in the second, and six more in the third period to complete his best game of the season and pick up the 56th win in his ECHL career. He ended both the first and second period with flurries out in front of his goal to keep Orlando off of the board at key moments.Dylan Vander Esch lifted the Swamp Rabbits to victory with his goal at the 9:02 mark of the third period. Thomas Ebbing and Chad Duchesne helped to work the puck to the netmouth, and Vander Esch scored his second goal in as many games to break the 1-1 tie and grab the Swamp Rabbits' second lead of the game.The Swamp Rabbits' first lead came late in the first period with Austen Brassard in the box for roughing. Dan Milan picked off a Solar Bears dump in attempt, flung the puck to Michael Pelech at center, who then, after making a move to the middle, dropped the puck to Brendan Harms, who connected for his fifth goal of the season. It was Greenville's sixth shorthanded goal of the season, which ranks sixth in the league.Orlando appeared to tie the game after the conclusion of a penalty about six minutes into the second period, as a rebound opportunity popped up in the air off of the stick of Mathieu Foget. The initial call on the ice was no goal, but upon further review, the call was reversed, and the Solar Bears tied the game at one.Special teams proved dicey in the second period, which saw the Orlando Solar Bears control the play for the most part. Orlando outshot the Swamp Rabbits 15-6 in the middle frame, and was awarded three power play chances. The penalty kill, however, was up to the task.Greenville's penalty kill has killed off 13 of the last 14 opportunities against them.The win swings the standings towards Greenville's favor, as the Swamp Rabbits now close the gap even further. They trail the Orlando Solar Bears by just four points in the standings with the regulation win, and pull even in a tie with the Norfolk Admirals at 31 points.The Greenville Swamp Rabbits return home to take on the Worcester Railers in a weekend set starting Saturday for Nickelodeon Night featuring Rocket Power, and Sunday for Autism Day. Tickets are available at SwampRabbits.com.
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