JACKSONVILLE, FL – Ryan Bednard’s 25-save performance paved the way for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits to win Game 1 of the South Division Semifinal 4-1 over the Jacksonville Icemen on Friday night at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Greenville and Jacksonville began their first-ever playoff meeting with an early flurry of chances at either end, before the Swamp Rabbits began to pepper the Jacksonville net. The Swamp Rabbits broke the deadlock, as Ben Freeman scored his first of the post season at 14:10, tipping in an Ethan Somoza feed to the crease. Tempers flared at the end of the period, as both teams sent representative to the box for roughing after the horn.
After a scoreless second period saw the two sides shoot eight time each, the Rabbits added insurance with Josh McKechney’s clean-up goal at 2:25. Moments later, at 3:39, Joe Gatenby walked a Dallas Gerads drop pass to the net and scored a backhanded goal for the 3-0 advantage. At 7:20, Jacksonville snapped Ryan Bednard’s shutout bid, as Craig Martin scored to cut the deficit to two. Late in the game, at 15:55, Alex Ierullo scored the empty-net goal to secure a 4-1 win.
Bednard stopped 25 of 26 Icemen shots to earn his first win of the post season.
Greenville’s victory gives it a 1-0 series lead against the Icemen in the best-of-seven South Division Semifinal.
The Swamp Rabbits and the Icemen meet for Game 2 on Sunday night from the Vystar Veterans Memorial in Jacksonville at 5 p.m.