WEEKLY RECAPWhat a week. The Greenville Swamp Rabbits recovered from a shaky weekend in Orlando with a hectic stretch of four games in five days. The Swamp Rabbits took three of the four games, all against teams desperate to get into the Kelly Cup Playoffs in the South Division. Greenville swept the South Carolina Stingrays, and split with the red-hot Atlanta Gladiators over the week. Each game featured playoff-style intensity against South Division rivals, and the Swamp Rabbits are not out of it yet.The week started with a morning game in Charleston against a Rays team in the midst of a historic struggle. Greenville jumped out to two separate leads, and held on to their second one thanks to a strong performance in net from Garrett Bartus. Folk hero Travis Howe gave the Swamp Rabbits the lead in the closing moments of the second period with a blast from the right circle, and Brendan Harms gave Greenville the insurance they needed to hold on for their first win of the week.The Rays' struggles hit a high and historic point on Thursday evening in Greenville, as the Swamp Rabbits pulled the reversal. South Carolina took a 1-0 lead into the third period on a goal from Andrew Cherniwchan. Heading into the game, the Swamp Rabbits had a record of 0-31-2 when trailing after two periods of play. Thanks to Will Merchant and Michael Pelech, the Swamp Rabbits picked up their first win in that situation. Both goals came within inches of the blue paint, and Pelech's dagger came with just a minute to go in the third period. The Rays' losing streak hit 11 games—the longest in franchise history.The Swamp Rabbits then took on their I-85 rival, the Atlanta Gladiators, on Friday. Goaltender Kyle Hayton put on the performance of a lifetime in a losing cause with 40 saves, including double-digit saves in all three periods. The Swamp Rabbits almost overcame the massive discrepancy in puck possession by getting to within a goal late in the third period, but mistakes in the defensive zone and Atlanta's seven power play chances added to Greenville's woes in the one-goal loss. Jake Bolton and Austen Brassard scored for the Swamp Rabbits.Following the one-goal loss, the Swamp Rabbits needed to dig deep and find a way against the Gladiators at home, who found themselves on the doorstep of overtaking South Carolina for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. In perhaps the most entertaining game of the season, the Swamp Rabbits battled the Gladiators stride for stride. Tied at two after 20 minutes of play, Greenville outscored Atlanta 3-1 the rest of the way, including goals from Dylan Vander Esch and Brassard to pull away. Stephen Pierog's late power play goal ended a personal 20-game goal drought and put the game away in front of a raucous crowd at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.2/26 @ South Carolina Stingrays - W 3-22/28 vs. South Carolina Stingrays - W 2-13/1 @ Atlanta Gladiators - L 3-23/2 vs. Atlanta Gladiators - W 5-3FAMILY DENTAL HEALTH PLAYER OF THE WEEKGarrett Bartus - 3 GP | 3-0-0 | 2.00 GAA | .938 sv%Nominated for ECHL Goaltender of the Week, Garrett Bartus was absolutely sensational in net for the Swamp Rabbits, with a perfect 3-0-0 week, and three wins against potential playoff teams. The Swamp Rabbits were in a position where they needed to bank as many points as possible. Bartus made 90 saves on 96 shots faced over the week, and held the fort with two one-goal wins, and a season-high in save percentage in a game, .968, against South Carolina on Thursday night. RABBIT TAILS
- The Swamp Rabbits are not out of it yet. They will likely need to win a vast majority of their 12 games remaining (of which 11 are against South Division foes), but they are 10 points out of a spot down to the wire and a potential photo finish.
- During the course of the six-games-in-eight-days stretch, the Swamp Rabbits' penalty kill was perfect. This past week, the Swamp Rabbits' PK went 15-for-15.
- What could have been unknown commodities in a new environment have become found gold. Goaltender Kyle Hayton, acquired from the Allen Americans off of waivers, made his Swamp Rabbits debut on Friday, and made a career-high 40 saves. In Brian Morgan's first six games as a Swamp Rabbit, he has three assists. Tyler Bird, acquired from the Reading Royals, has a goal and two assists in two games since joining the club.
- Michael Pelech led the way in scoring for Greenville with a goal and four assists on the week. His 54 points are tied for eighth in ECHL scoring, and his 39 assists are sixth in the league.
- Friday, March 8 | @ Jacksonville Icemen | 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, March 9 | @ Jacksonville Icemen | 7:00 p.m.
SOUTH DIVISION STANDINGS
- Florida Everblades (39-15-5) - 83 pts
- Orlando Solar Bears (31-20-4) - 66 pts
- Jacksonville Icemen (30-25-4) - 64 pts
- South Carolina Stingrays (26-27-5) - 57 pts
- Atlanta Gladiators (24-23-8) - 56 pts
- Norfolk Admirals (23-28-7) - 53 pts
- Greenville Swamp Rabbits (21-34-5) - 47 pts
*standings as of 10:00 a.m. on March 4, 2019