ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Nikita Pavlychev’s second period go-ahead strike gave him a career-high eight-game point streak, but the Newfoundland Growlers tied the game early in the third and found the back of the net in overtime to defeat the Greenville Swamp Rabbits 3-2 on Thursday night from Mary Brown’s Centre.
For a seventh consecutive game, the Swamp Rabbits opened the scoring entries and did so while down a skater. With 9:18 left in the first period while killing off their second penalty of the game, Ben Freeman flipped the puck to a wide-open Ethan Somoza in neutral ice. Somoza went down with Joe Leahy and they played catch, with Somoza blasting a Leahy pass behind Growlers goalie Luke Cavallin to put the Swamp Rabbits ahead 1-0 on the only goal of the first 20 minutes (Leahy and Freeman assisted).
Newfoundland found an answer, but so did Greenville to maintain their lead heading into the final frame. Jordan Escott squared the game coming off the right wing wall, maneuvering in close, and out-waiting Swamp Rabbits net-minder Jacob Ingham to knot the game at 1-1 with 5:26 gone by in the second (Brock Caufield and Jonny Tychonick assisted). Greenville took back the lead moments later, and it led to a career-high moment for Nikita Pavlychev. With 3:57 left in the middle frame, Mark Louis rifled a shot from inside the blue line through traffic, which got to Cavallin in his crease. Cavallin made the stop, but Pavlychev put back the rebound to put the Swamp Rabbits back on top at 2-1, marking a personal best eighth consecutive game with a point (Louis and Tanner Eberle assisted).
Jonny Tychonick provided the only ignition of the goal lamp in the final period, doing so on the second shift of the frame. Just 56 seconds into the last 20 minutes, Tychonick skated full bore off the bench and into the puck on the left wing side of the Swamp Rabbits zone. He continued his momentum, wrapping around to the opposite post where he squeaked the puck past Ingham to square the game at 2-2 (Matt Brassard and Tate Singleton assisted). The remaining 19:04 of the third didn’t produce a winner, necessitating overtime.
In a back-and-forth three-on-three period, Singleton eventually provided the game-winning tally. With 70 seconds left before the breakaways, Singleton carried the puck inside the Swamp Rabbits blue line and fired a wrister from just shy of the right circle that beat Ingham’s glove, sealing the second point and the win for the Growlers at 3-2.
Jacob Ingham stopped 33 of 36 shots in the overtime defeat (11-3-1-0). With Somoza’s shorthanded goal in the first, the Swamp Rabbits now have “shorties” in back-to-back games and six on the season, the latter figure tied for fifth in the entire ECHL. Pavlychev’s eight-game point streak, a new career-high, has seen him evenly distribute his scoring between five goals and five assists since January 7th at South Carolina. He also has goals in three straight games.
The Swamp Rabbits rematch the Newfoundland Growlers tomorrow night for the middle act of their “three-in-three” series. Puck drop for game two is slated for 5:30 p.m. EST from the Mary Brown’s Centre on February 9th.
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.