2024 Orlando Solar Bears vs Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville Vs. Orlando ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

Greenville Vs. Orlando ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

The Greenville Swamp Rabbits will take on the Orlando Solar Bears in the first round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Apr 17, 2024 by Justin Cohn
Greenville Vs. Orlando ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

The Greenville Swamp Rabbits will take on the Orlando Solar Bears in the first round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs. This is the one of the two South Division semifinals. The other will feature the Jacksonville Icemen and Florida Everblades. 

Veteran ECHL writer Justin Cohn breaks it all down and tells you what you should keep an eye on during the series.

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South Division Semifinals

No. 1 Greenville Swamp Rabbits (44-23-5) Vs. No. 4 Orlando Solar Bears (38-24-10)

Game 1 – Sunday, April 21 at 3:05 p.m. ET at Greenville
Game 2 – Monday, April 22 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Greenville
Game 3 – Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando
Game 4 – Saturday, April 27 at 9 p.m. ET at Orlando
Game 5 – Sunday, April 28 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 30 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Greenville (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, May 1 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Greenville (If Necessary)

Greenville And Orlando Top Scorers

Greenville’s Carter Souch had 26 goals and 60 points in regular season; Orlando’s Brayden Low had 23 goals and 49 points, and Aaron Luchuk had 22 goals and 49 points, during regular season.

What You Need To Know About The Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Despite losing six of their last eight regular-season games, the Swamp Rabbits held on to the title in what might be the ECHL’s toughest division (though fans in the Central Division might disagree). 

Souch and Josh McKechney (21 goals) are the most formidable offensive players, but the Swamp Rabbits just come at opponents in waves with a polished style and the good coaching of Andrew Lord, who was selected ECHL Coach of the Year on Wednesday. 

While Greenville’s penalty kill is solid, ranked eighth with 81.7% efficiency, the power play isn’t going to scare many with a 18% efficiency that ranked 22nd during the regular season. 

Much of the Swamp Rabbits’ success has depended on the goaltending of Jacob Ingham, Luke Richardson and Ryan Bednard.

What You Need To Know About The Orlando Solar Bears

The Solar Bears went on a 9-2-1 roll to close to the regular season, get their first playoff berth since 2019 and keep the South Carolina Stingrays out of the postseason. 

Low’s play has been better that any other time in his career – he’s got three goals and five points in the last six games – and been a real spark for the upstart Solar Bears the last couple months. 

They have a lot of underrated scorers, such as Jesse Jacques and Darik Angeli. 

Defensively, the Solar Bears rank fifth with 2.86 goals against per game, and they’re not afraid to get physical, using players such as defenseman Jimmy Mazza and forward Tanner Schachle. 

This is a 2-3-2 formatted series, but oddly, we don’t know when the Orlando games will be because it depends on the NBA’s Orlando Magic’s playoff schedule.

Two Players To Watch In Greenville-Orlando Series

Greenville’s Max Martin is one of the most underrated two-way defensemen in the ECHL – he had five goals and 25 points in 46 regular-season games – but he’s going to have to polish some things heading into this series because he’s been scoreless with a minus-9 rating in his last five games. 

Orlando goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick has played in 16 of the last 17 games, helping spark the Solar Bears’ run to the postseason, and he finished the regular season with a 12-7-4 record with a 2.59 GAA, a .915 SP and two shutouts.

X-Factor For The Greenville-Orlando Series

Orlando’s penalty kill. 

The Solar Bears have trouble staying out of the penalty box – they averaged 14.13 penalty minutes, seventh in the league – and that’s less of an issue for the Swamp Rabbits, but the Solar Bears have been able to get away with it because their penalty kill is so good, ranked first at 85.3%. They need to keep it up and may be able to do so against Greenville’s mediocre power play.

Greenville Swamp Rabbits Vs. Orlando Solar Bears Predictions

Not only are the Solar Bears one of the hottest teams in the league, they’ve also proven they can beat Greenville – they were 5-1-1 in the regular-season series, including a 3-0-0 record this month. 

Lord gets the best out of his team, but he’s going to have his hands full against the Matt Carkner-coached Solar Bears. Orlando wins in six games. 

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