ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Josh McKechney got the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on the board in the first four minutes of the game, but the Newfoundland Growlers, led by Isaac Johnson and his hat trick, pulled away in the last two periods to take a third win in as many games head-to-head tonight by a 5-1 score from Mary Brown’s Centre. It is just the second time this season the Swamp Rabbits have fallen in three straight games.
Josh McKechney scored early for the Swamp Rabbits on their only power play of the game and gave them the only goal of the opening frame. Just 3:54 into the first period, McKechney took a pass down the left wall from Brannon McManus, and tight roped the goal line on his way to the net. McKechney slammed a point blank shot past Growlers goalie Luke Cavallin and put Greenville up 1-0 (McManus and Max Martin assisted).
The Growlers answered in the middle frame with two tallies in the final 10 minutes to take a lead into the last period. With 9:13 left in the second, the puck was turned over inside the Swamp Rabbits blue line and came to Tyler Weiss, who found Isaac Johnson trailing. He dished to Johnson, who fired his first of three home from the high slot past Swamp Rabbits net-minder Jacob Ingham, squaring the game at 1-1 (Weiss and Joe Gatenby assisted). Gatenby then broke the tie with 2:40 left in the second, firing a pass from behind the net from the high slot by Ingham to give the Growlers a 2-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the night (Weiss and Jordan Escott assisted).
Isaac Johnson’s hand continued to heat up, and it gave Newfoundland separation early in the third. With 5:05 gone by, Johnson transitioned up the ice, maneuvered by the Swamp Rabbits defense, and finished in close beating Ingham to double the Growlers lead to 3-1 (Jackson Berezowski assisted). Towards the end of the period trying to mount a comeback, the Swamp Rabbits pulled Ingham for an extra skater needing two goals to tie. Despite Ingham’s swap, he was required to go back in net when the Swamp Rabbits were forced to take a draw in their own zone. Right off the faceoff win, Johnson flung home his hat trick tally from the left side to separate Newfoundland with a 4-1 lead with 1:48 left in the game (Todd Skirving had the lone assist). Joe Gatenby added the final strike with 15 seconds left into the empty net to bring the game to its final score of 5-1.
Jacob Ingham, starting all three games of the “three-in-three”, suffered the defeat, stopping 29 of 33 shots (11-5-1-0). Tonight’s loss marks the second time all season the Swamp Rabbits have lost three consecutive games, matching the streak from December 17th to December 22nd against Atlanta, Savannah, and Orlando.
The Swamp Rabbits head back home for another “three-in-three”, with the first two games to be played on home ice. Puck drop for the weekend opener on Friday, February 16th, featuring “Outdoors Night” presented by AB Tree, is slated for 7:05 p.m. EST from Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Saturday, February 17th, is “Star Wars Night” presented by Champion Comfort Experts against the Atlanta Gladiators, featuring a lightsaber giveaway at the doors, is also set for 7:05 p.m. EST. The Swamp Rabbits conclude the weekend on Sunday, February 18th, from Gas South Arena for a 3:00 p.m. EST matinee showdown against Atlanta.
About the Greenville Swamp Rabbits …
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 the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL's LA Kings and the AHL's Ontario Reign. Greenville is a member of the ECHL, Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League.