Greenville Swamp Rabbits (0-0-0-0) vs. South Carolina Stingrays (0-0-0-0)
October 23, 2021 | 6:05 PM | Regular Season Game #1
Referees: Logan Gruhl (29)Linesmen: Shane Gustafson (87), Antoine Budjold-Roux (72)
After a regular season that saw the Greenville Swamp Rabbits total 38 victories, the postseason brought a pair of challenging series that would both go to 4 games. The Swamp Rabbits took an early 2-0 series lead over the Indy Fuel in the Conference Semifinals before dispatching their midwestern foe with a 3-2 victory at home in Game 4. The Eastern Conference Finals paired the Swamp Rabbits with in-state rival South Carolina and saw Greenville fall 5-1 in the opening game of the series. Two nights later, Greenville responded with a 5-2 victory before falling in back-to-back games to the the Stingrays to fall in the series.
The Swamp Rabbits enter the 2021-22 opener after a bare-bones preseason schedule that saw the team perform only once ahead of the regular season. In Greenville’s only warmup contest, against South Korean side Anyang Halla, the young Swamp Rabbits squad looked like a well-oiled machine in its 6-1 victory. Rookies Dallas Gerads (1-2-3) and Gavin Gould (0-3-3) totaled multi-point night’s to lead the team in the victory. Goaltender John Lethemon stopped 14 of 14 shots in his half-game performance.
The Swamp Rabbits and the Stingrays met 15 times during the 2020-21 regular season as Greenville posted a 9-3-1-2 record against their in-state rival. Over half of the meetings (8), were decided after 60 minutes of play, and two regulation endings came down to one-goal seperation. Max Zimmer led Greenville in the season-series with five goals including an overtime game-winner, and shared the team lead with Matt Bradley with 10 points.
The Swamp Rabbits will meet up with two familiar faces from last season as former defenseman Jake Massie and goaltender Ryan Bednard will appear on the opposite bench for the Stingrays after both being signed to AHL contracts by the Hershey Bears. Massie appeared in 31 games for Greenville last season and totaled 11 points (3-8-11) during the regular season. Bednard, who had spent both the 2019-20 and 202-21 seasons with the Swamp Rabbits, posted a 20-6-8 record with a 2.43 goals against average in 35 games last season. Bednard appeared in 5 postseason games for the Swamp Rabbits in 2021 and went 2-3 with an 2.44 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.
LEANING ON LETHEMON:
Rookie goaltender John Lethemon showed little of his professional inexperience as the former Michigan State Spartan shined in his opening season, tallying a 13-5-4-1 record in his debut campaign. Through his 25 regular season appearances, Lethemon racked up a .903 save percentage and a 2.71 goals against average.
LOOKING NEXT LEVEL:
Prior to the start of Swamp Rabbits training camp, 6 Greenville players appeared in AHL training camps. Max Zimmer attended training camp with the Charlotte Checkers. Frank Hora, Bobby Russell, Christian Kasastul, and Dallas Gerads participated in camp with the Ontario Reign. Liam Pecararo made an appearance in camp with the Springfield Thunderbirds.