Icemen Battle Hard, but Fall Short to Greenville on Friday
JACKSONVILLE, FL – Ryan Bednard made 38 saves to help lead the Greenville Swamp Rabbits to a 5-3 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen on Friday night at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Late first period, and shortly after Greenville assumed 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Jake Smith, the Icemen were forced to kill off another penalty. The Icemen poked the puck away to create a 2-on-0 opportunity the other way. Dominick Mersch set up Garrett Van Wyhe for a one-timer , but Swamp Rabbits’ goaltender Ryan Bednard made an unbelievable stop to keep it out.
Early in the second period, Greenville’s Max Martin took off on a breakaway and managed to sneak a shot past Icemen netminder Matt Vernon to make it a 2-0 lead.
The Icemen found a spark halfway through the middle frame, when Matheson Iacopelli fed Brendan Harris above the crease. Harris caught the puck forehand, but switched to the backhand and lifted a shot over the shoulder of an outstretched Bednard for the goal to pull Jacksonville within one.
Five minutes later, Greenville’s Josh McKechney scored a second power play goal for the Swamp Rabbits to give them a 3-1 edge. However, the Icemen quickly countered on a snap shot from the left wing circle by Iacopelli who netted his third goal in the past two games to make it a 3-2 count.
Greenville netted another goal in the waning seconds of the period and took a 4-2 lead into the second break.
Jacksonville continued to battle hard in the third, and even received three power play opportunities in the final stanza to try to aide their cause. However, a stingy Greenville penalty kill, and stellar goaltending by Bednard would keep the Icemen off the board.
The Icemen managed to pull back within one with 1:07 remaining in regulation when Chris Grando delivered a shot along the goal line that hit off of Bednard’s skate and banked into the net for the tally to make it a 4-3 game.
The late push would fall short as the Swamp Rabbits added an empty-net goal with 13 seconds left to seal the 5-3 victory.
The two teams meet again on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.
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