GREENVILLE, S.C. — While it may not have been a victory on the ice, it was a victory for the Greenville community on Friday night. Nearly 2,000 stuffed animals were tossed onto the ice after Jacob Pritchard's first-period tally that will benefit Happy Wheels and Toys for Tots in the Upstate. The Orlando Solar Bears defeated the Greenville Swamp Rabbits 5-1 on Friday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
BOXSCOREThe 1,897 stuffed animals will help a mixture of children in the hospital, and underprivileged families in the Upstate with gifts during the holiday season.
Orlando struck for four unanswered goals to close out the game. Jimmy Lodge's goal, which came on the rebound of a Johno May shot from the wing on a two-on-one break, beat Callum Booth and served as the game-winning goal at the 8:26 mark of the second period.It was Booth's first start since October 19 in Atlanta.The third period seemed to come off the rails early, with the game still hanging in the balance at 2-1. May won a puck battle to the point, and a shot from Michael Brodzinski found a way through the traffic and into the back of the net to extend the lead to two.Mikhail Shalagin and Chris LeBlanc put the game away with two late tallies.While Trevor Olson got the scoring started late in the first, the Swamp Rabbits responded in the nick of time. Pritchard took a pass from Matt Marcinew down the wing, and took a sharp angle shot that found a precise corner over the shoulder of Zach Fucale to even the score with just 10 seconds left in the period, and opened the floodgates for cascading stuffed animals.Greenville appeared to have all of the momentum heading into the second period, with an aggressive forecheck, and 13 shots to Orlando's 11 in the middle frame. Zach Fucale stopped the final 23 shots of the game to seal the win for the visitors.The power play is searching for consistency, as it has been shut out since its first taste of success since November 29, when Liam Pecararo's power play goal was the game-winning tally in the 3-2 win over Atlanta.The Swamp Rabbits are set to duel the top team in the South Division, the South Carolina Stingrays, on Saturday night at the North Charleston Coliseum on Saturday, December 14 at 6:05 p.m. Catch the action on the Swamp Rabbits Broadcast Network, or on ECHL.TV.
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