NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Jordan Timmons scored his first goal with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Brannon McManus assisted for a third game in a row, and Ryan Bednard turned aside 34 of 36 shots to power the Greenville Swamp Rabbits to a 3-2 win against the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday night. The win gives Greenville three straight victories and maintains their share of first place in the ECHL with 55 points in the standings (27-10-1-0).
The Swamp Rabbits hopped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes of play. Jordan Timmons got things started for the visitors when Ethan Somoza found him behind the net in the Stingrays zone. Timmons wrapped around with a backhand and squeaked it by Stingrays goalie Mitchell Gibson to give the Swamp Rabbits a 1-0 lead at 5:17 of the first (Somoza had the lone assist). In the final minutes of the first, Lordanthony Grissom knifed a puck up to Jake Smith, who spearheaded a transition sequence up the ice. Smith evaded two assailants in neutral ice, created an odd-man break into the zone, and dished to his trailer, Nick Prkusic, who rifled a shot right down “Broadway” to double the Swamp Rabbits lead with 91 seconds remaining in the first (Smith and Grissom assisted).
South Carolina cut the deficit early in the second to keep things close for a stretch. At 3:35 of the middle act, Michael Kim fired a shot from inside the blue line through traffic that flubbed off the glove of Swamp Rabbits net-minder Ryan Bednard and trickled in, slashing the Swamp Rabbits lead to 2-1 (Ryan Leibold and Garet Hunt assisted).
Joe Leahy answered for Greenville early in the third, providing what was eventually the game-winning strike. At 2:37 of the final frame, Leahy came off the blue line and blasted a cross-ice Brannon McManus pass down low past Gibson, putting the Swamp Rabbits ahead 3-1 (McManus assisted and now has helpers in three straight). South Carolina again threatened thanks to Jarid Lukosevicius, who with Gibson pulled for the extra skater, fired a one-timer past Bednard from the left side to close the gap to 3-2 (Connor Moore and Kevin O’Neil assisted). Bednard and company held off the Stingrays in the final 108 seconds to secure their win, 3-2 the final score.
Ryan Bednard won his twelfth game of the season, and his third straight head-to-head against South Carolina with 34 saves on 36 shots (12-8-0-0).
The Swamp Rabbits are back at home tomorrow and Sunday, January 21st, against the Jacksonville Icemen. Puck drop for Saturday’s “NASCAR Night”, presented by Alloy Employer Services, is slated for 7:05 p.m. EST. Sunday is a matinee finale schedule for a 3:05 p.m. EST start.