Greenville Swamp Rabbits (0-0-0) vs. Jacksonville Icemen (0-0-0)South Division SemifinalApril 21, 2023 | 7:00 PM | Kelly Cup Playoffs First Round Game 1Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena | Jacksonville, FL
Referees: Jake Jackson (16), John Lindner (6)Linesmen: Tannum Wyonzek (74), Davids Rozitis (90)
BROADCAST INFORMATIONPregame Coverage begins at 6:45PMLISTEN: Greenville Swamp Rabbits Broadcast NetworkWATCH: FloHockey Live StreamVoice of the Swamp Rabbits Mark Shelley (Play-by-Play) on the callSWAMP RABBITS VS ICEMEN SERIES
Regular Season Record:
Overall: (5-4-2-0) Home:(1-3-2-0) Away: (4-1-0-0)
March 18, 2023 - Greenville 4 at Jacksonville 1
All-Time Playoff Record:
ROUND 1. GAME 1. GO TIME:
All eyes turn to one of the most intriguing matchups of the First Round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, as the Rabbits and the Icemen open their series on Friday night. After an 11-game regular season series saw the Rabbits claim victory in five games and points in an additional two, Greenville and Jacksonville drop the puck on a fresh best-of-seven series. The two sides waited until the final weekend of the regular season to sort out the final positionings, with the Icemen earning an overtime point against South Carolina in its penultimate game to put itself in second and the Rabbits in third. A pair of opening games at the Veterans Memorial Arena will set the stage for a two, and potentially three, game set at Bon Secours Wellness Arena when the series shifts to Greenville for Game 3.
SCOUTING THE ICEMEN:
Defense. That’s been the key to Jacksonville’s success over the last couple of seasons, and it is very much the case again as the Kelly Cup Playoffs get underway. Goals have come at a scarcity for opposing offenses, as the 4th-ranked defense in the ECHL allows just 2.88 goals per game. All season, then Icemen have run a trio of goaltenders, including Charles Williams, Olof Lindbom, and Parker Gahagen. As it stands, Gahagen remains in the AHL with the Hartford Wolfpack, but is eligible to join the Icemen for the postseason. Williams and Lindbom are more than capable of keeping up with a red-hot Rabbits offense and can be the deciding factors in games. Brendan Harris has done what few others have done against the Rabbits, score a hat-trick in the regular season. His six goals led the Icemen against Greenville over the 11-game series. Tuesday night, the Icemen saw the return of power forward Travis Howe. The former Swamp Rabbit has made a name for himself with his grit and tenacity when dropping the gloves.
The final weekend of the regular season pitted the Rabbit against the Icemen in the race for second place in the South. While Jacksonville edged in front by game 72, Greenville’s offense did its part in trying to capture home-ice advantage, thrashing both the Savannah Ghost Pirates and the South Carolina Stingray 7-1 in back-to-back games. The Rabbits’ 14 goals in two games were just the icing on the cake that was a massive o-zone onslaught over the final four games. Greenville outscored its final three oponents 26-7 over four wins to round out the regular season. The stretch helped cap off the most offensive season under Head Coach Andrew Lord, as Greenville tallied 244 goals, its highest mark since the 2016-17 season.
HISTORY FAVORS THE RABBITS:
Not only did Greenville earn points in seven of the 11 meetings with the Icemen, but they also went 4-1 at the Veterans Memorial Arena during the regular season. Greenville has a chance to capitalize on their strong play in the Sunshine State and, potentially, bring a lead or a split series back to The Well. The catch? The Rabbits are 1-3-2 against Jacksonville on home ice.
MOVEMENT IN THE BACK:
While Luke Richardson has turned heads with his 2-0 start since joining the Swamp Rabbits earlier this month, most of the attention has been on David Hrenak and Ryan Bednard. Hrenak, on Monday, became the third Rabbits goaltender in two seasons to be recalled to the NHL, landing on LA’s playoff roster. While the team leader is starts and wins departed, the Rabbits welcomed Ryan Bednard back from his PTO with Grand Rapids in the AHL. Bednard has been nothing short of influential for the Rabbits, going 11-8-1 with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .913 save-percentage. According to Andrew Lord in his postseason press conference and in an appearance on The Rob Brown Show on The Fan Upstate, Bednard is expected to be the starter for the postseason run.