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SWAMP RABBITS FALL IN SECOND GAME TO ORLANDO

Friday, April 5th
SWAMP RABBITS FALL IN SECOND GAME TO ORLANDO

ORLANDO, Fla. – Ethan Somoza deflected a five-on-three power play goal in with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game, but the Orlando Solar Bears rode a hot offense throughout the night to a 5-1 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Friday night. Despite the loss, the Swamp Rabbits earned home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs with a South Carolina loss to Savannah.

Orlando scored twice quickly in the opening frame and jumped to a 2-0 lead. Marc-Andre Gaudet got things started for the Solar Bears when a loose puck was presented to him in the high slot area. Coming in off the blue line, Gaudet fired a shot that squeaked under the leg of Swamp Rabbits net-minder Ryan Bednard, giving Orlando a 1-0 advantage at 4:42 of the first (Luke Boka and Tanner Schachle assisted). Exactly 92 seconds later, Aaron Luchuk batted a puck out of mid-air on a Bednard save and it rolled behind him, doubling Orlando’s advantage to 2-0 at 6:14 (Darik Angeli and Kurt Gosselin assisted).

Spencer Kersten stayed hot for the Solar Bears in the second period, scoring for a second time in as many nights. With 8:45 left in the second, Kersten came in the Greenville zone in transition, and tight roped the goal line. He rifled his shot off of Bednard’s back and in from a semi-negative angle, tripling the Solar Bears lead to 3-0 (Darik Angeli and Ben Carroll assisted). Following the goal, Jacob Ingham came in the place of Bednard in net for the remainder of the game.

Orlando kept their foot on the gas in the final period, with Angeli continuing to add to his point total for the evening. Just 68 seconds into the final period, Angeli beat Ingham in the midst of a chaotic net-front scramble, burying a Spencer Kersten pass to vault Orlando to a 4-0 lead (Kersten and Alex Frye assisted). In the latter stages of the game, with the Swamp Rabbits on the power play, Brayden Low jumped into a two-on-one rush and elected to shoot, beating Ingham’s glove to push the Solar Bears to a 5-0 advantage with 2:53 left in the game on his shorthanded tally.

In the final minute, tensions boiled over between the South Division rivals, and it led to 248 of the game’s 258 penalty minutes on the game sheet. Jimmy Mazza jumped JD Greenway, leading to five fights. Moments later, with the Swamp Rabbits working on the power play, Kelly Bent escalated an altercation with Brett Kemp, resulting in more fisticuffs, and more players on both sides getting sent off the playing surface. After the dust settled from the fireworks, Ethan Somoza deflected an Anthony Beauchamp shot past Evan Fitzpatrick with 8.3 seconds remaining, ending his shutout and bringing the game to a 5-1 final in favor of Orlando.

Ryan Bednard stopped 11 of 14 shots in 31:15 of his start (20-12-0-0). Jacob Ingham stopped 10 of 12 shots in relief. 

The Swamp Rabbits conclude their “three-in-three” with the Solar Bears tomorrow, April 6th. Puck drop for both games at the Kia Center is slated for 7:00 p.m. EST.

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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.

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