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ECHL Swamp Rabbits move to Eastern Conference final

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Greenville Swamp Rabbits advanced to the ECHL’s Eastern Conference Finals thanks to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Indy Fuel Saturday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

After starting the first three games of the series, including back-to-back on Thursday and Friday, Florida Panthers prospect Ryan Bednard backed up John Lethemon, who stopped 27 shots in the win, last night.

Greg Meireles, an unsigned Panthers sixth round draft choice from 2019, powered the Swamp Rabbits offense with a goal and two assists, and registered a game-high six shots on goal.

Alec Rauhauser had three shots on goal and finished the tilt with a -1 rating. Benjamin Finkelstein drew the primary assist on Meireles’ goal, which turned out to be the series-winner, 6:14 into the third period. Patrick Bajkov did not play in the game.

Greenville will take on the winner of the series between Florida Everblades or South Carolina Stingrays. The Everblades lead the series two games to one. Round 2 dates and times are to be announced.

Stanley Cup Semifinals

The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning will kick off the Stanley Cup Semifinals this afternoon at Amalie Arena.

The Islanders and Lightning are playing each other in the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. Tampa Bay eliminated New York in the Eastern Conference Final in six games last season before defeating the Dallas Stars to win the franchise’s second Stanley Cup.

Game 1: New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning 3 p.m. NBC