Admirals (18-25-5-1) vs. Swamp Rabbits (20-26-3-1)
Last Time Out:
Jacksonville scored the first two goals of the game on Wednesday night as the Icemen topped the Admirals 5-2, taking their third straight victory over the Admirals. Wednesday was the first time in the five-game season series that the Admirals and Icemen had kept a game from going into overtime.
Norfolk cut the lead to a single goal early in the second period, before the Icemen netted another two consecutive goals. The Admirals got goals from Domenic Alberga and Christian Horn in the loss, as the team fell to 18-26-5-1. Ty Reichenbach made 34 saves on 38 shots in the loss.
Friday will be the Swamp Rabbits first visit to Norfolk this season, and the third meeting between the teams. Each of the final four matchups this season will take place at the Scope.
The Admirals have claimed each of the first two meetings, outscoring the Swamp Rabbits 13-3 on the season. Patrick D’Amico leads all skaters with six points (2g, 4a) in the two games. TJ Melancon, who netted a hat trick the last time the teams met, has scored four times and added an assist against the Swamp Rabbits. Former Greenville skaters Brodie Dupont (2g, 3a) and Domenic Alberga (2g, 1a) are the only other Admirals who’ve scored multiple goals against the Swamp Rabbits this season.
Greenville’s Jack Nevins has scored two of the teams three goals against the Admirals. Carter Sandlak is the only other player to have scored in the season series. The only other skater to net multiple points is Joe Basaraba (2a). Ty Rimmer, who has started both games, has allowed eight goals to the Admirals.
Scouting the Swamp Rabbits:
Branden Trook leads the Swamp Rabbits offense averaging over a point per game with 37 points (16g, 21a) in 35 games. Evan Jasper, who has skated in 45 games for the Swamp Rabbits, ranks second among active skaters with 36 points (15 g, 21a). Joe Basaraba is the only other Swamp Rabbit with more than 30 points this season.
Ty Rimmer has been a mainstay in the Greenville net this season appearing in 31 of the teams 51 games. Rimmer, who appeared in 34 games with the Admirals during the 2015-16 season, is 12-15-0-1 with a .903 save percentage and a 3.83 goals against average. Greg Dodds made his Swamp Rabbits debut on Thursday night against Manchester. After beginning the season in the SPHL, Dodds has played in six ECHL games allowing 3.46 goals per game while posting a save percentage of .923.
Race is Tightening Up:
The race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division has continue to tighten up in the last few weeks. Norfolk, sitting in a tie for sixth place in the division, is only eight points back from the Orlando Solar Bears. In addition, the Admirals are only two points behind the Swamp Rabbits for fifth place in the South Division. Victories by Norfolk and Jacksonville on Friday would create a three-way tie for fifth place in the South. Florida (73 points) and South Carolina (68 points) continue to hold the top two spots in the South Division.
Former Teammates Reunited:
On Tuesday the Admirals signed Tyler Piacentini, reuniting the forward with three Admirals whom he has played with at one point during his hockey career. Most recently Piacentini paired up with netminder Ty Reichenbach to win the 2017 NCAA Division III National Championship at Norwich University. Piacentini was the captain of the Cadets during his junior and senior season. Prior to attending Norwich, Piacentini wrapped up his junior hockey career playing with Jamie Murray as a member of the South Shore Kings (EJHL). Piacentini netted 85 points in 89 games with the Kings. Growing up the South Weymouth, MA native played youth hockey with Norfolk forward Alex Pompeo. Piacentini becomes the fourth Massachusetts native on the Norfolk roster.