Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits clinched a spot in the 2023 Kelly Cup playoffs with a dominant 7-3 victory on Friday night over the Orlando Solar Bears at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
In the opening frame, the Swamp Rabbits attacked the Solar Bears net, outshooting Orlando by a total of 15-6 in the opening frame and jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead. Greenville tallied goals by Ethan Somoza at 1:58, Brett Kemp at 6:53, and Dallas Gerads at 19:10. Rookie Colton Young, who was acquired by the Swamp Rabbits yesterday morning, recorded his first assist with the dump off to Brett Kemp’s breakaway strike.
In the second, Orlando got on the board, as Bennett MacArthur snuck one by David Hrenak at 5:29 before chaos ensued. Following the goal, a scrum brought Ross Olsson, Jay Powell (ORL), and Evan Wardley (GVL) to the penalty box for roughing penalties. Brett Kemp lit the lamp for the second time of the night at 11:39, as Colton Young made a nifty move around Solar Bears defenders, dropping off the puck to Kemp to give the Swamp Rabbits a 4-1 advantage heading into the final twenty minutes of action.
In the third, the Solar Bears attempted to make a run, scoring at 2:59 from a snipe shot by Jimmy Mazza. Greenville answered with a pair of goals, with the first coming from a blue-line shot from defenseman Joe Gatenby at 3:26. Brett Kemp capped off the hat-trick performance, capitalizing on another breakaway opportunity at 7:10 to give Greenville the 6-2 lead. The Solar Bears wouldn’t go down without a fight however, as Eric Esposito beat David Hrenak glove side at 10:08 to bring the deficit to three. With just 1:41 remaining, Bobby Russell capped off the explosive offensive night, getting a shot by Jack LaFontaine off of a deflection to give the Swamp Rabbits a 7-3 victory in front of the home crowd.
With the win and an Atlanta loss to Jacksonville, Greenville clinched a playoff spot to the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Swamp Rabbits (37-23-8-1) look to improve their seeding in the postseason, as they currently sit in third place with 83 points.
The Swamp Rabbits stay at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Saturday, April 8th, for a 7:05 p.m. meeting with the Orlando Solar Bears, the second of a back-to-back to close out the weekend’s slate of games.
Swamp Rabbits tickets can be purchased at SwampRabbits.com or at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena Box Office.