GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits skated to a 5-4 overtime victory over the Jacksonville Icemen on Saturday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Patrick Bajkov scored twice and Greg Meireles walked-off the contest with an overtime game-winner at 5:32 of sudden-death.
In the first period, Bajkov opened the scoring with a power move to the net at the 7:00 mark. Bajkov raced towards the Icemen cage and beat Jacksonville goaltender Charles Williams low to the ice.
The Icemen answered courtesy of Brendan Miller at the 12:05 mark. Miller fired a slapper from inside the left circle and beat Rabbits goaltender John Lethemon to tie the game at 1-1.
A back-and-forth period continued with Liam Pecararo converting 14 seconds later unassisted at 12:19. Before the first frame expired, Jacksonville found the equalizer on Trevor Hamilton’s second goal of the campaign at 15:41.
In the middle frame, Jacksonville tallied at 5:50 to grab their first and only lead of the night. Wacey Rabbit cleaned up a loose puck sitting in the low-slot to provide his club a 3-2 advantage.
At 10:03, Bajkov scored his second of the night and ninth of the campaign after burying a perfect cross-ice pass from David Broll. With the score even at 3-3 courtesy of Bajkov’s second, Garrett Thompson provided the Bits a late-period 4-3 edge. On the power play after Jason Binkley was flagged for slashing at 17:09, Thompson redirected a Bajkov feed from the low-slot past Williams at 18:14.
Late in the third period, Jacksonville tied the contest for a third time on a power play of their own. Jake Elmer finished a net-mouth scramble and deposited a loose puck past Lethemon at 16:14.
In sudden-death overtime, the Swamp Rabbits were granted a four-minute man-advantage with 3:39 left. On a transition, Pecararo raced up the left-wing and fed across to an open Greg Meireles. For his seventh goal of the season, Meireles kicked the puck from skate to stick and converted the overtime winner at 5:32 of overtime.
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits and Jacksonville Icemen will conclude a three-game set tomorrow afternoon, March 28, at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Ticket information is available online at swamprabbits.com.
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Acquired by Spire Sports + Entertainment (SS+E) in 2020, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits hockey team have been providing family friendly, live entertainment at Bon Secours Wellness Arena since 2010. Formerly the Greenville Road Warriors, the Swamp Rabbits are the highest level professional minor league franchise in South Carolina. The Swamp Rabbits are proud affiliates of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Greenville is a member of the ECHL, Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League. Since the conclusion of the 2019-20 NHL Season, 678 former ECHL players have debuted in the NHL. Nine former Greenville Road Warriors/Swamp Rabbits have later made their NHL debut