After four minutes of hockey on Wednesday, the misfortunes were piling up for the Jacksonville Icemen.


A goal allowed before the 20-second mark. An injury to a top prospect. A goal of their own wiped off the board.

So it didn’t feel like the night when the Icemen’s four-game winless and luckless slump was about to melt away.

Tyson Fawcett changed all that.

Fawcett’s game-winner snapped the skid and sparked the Icemen to a 4-2 comeback victory, the team’s first of 2018, against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at Veterans Memorial Arena.

The smallest man on the ice at 5-feet-7 and 165 pounds, Fawcett squeezed into the perfect spot to put away the puck at 1:37 of the third period.

The Icemen offense took 40 total shots, and Josh Erickson and Tanner Eberle’s first-period goals lifted Jacksonville out of an early Rabbit hole.

After a frustrating start to 2018, this was just the response that head coach Jason Christie was looking for.

“The guys battled back,” he said. “I thought the second period was the change, how we came out.”

Trouble started early for the Icemen on just about every front.

The Swamp Rabbits (17-16-2-1) stormed the net almost from the opening face-off, scoring after just 19 seconds when Joe Basaraba’s shot beat goaltender Jamie Phillips.

Adding to Jacksonville’s problems, Jansen Harkins crashed to the ice after a hard check near the Greenville bench and did not return. He had scored two goals and two assists in his four games.

But after a quiet spell in which the Icemen slowly tightened their grip, Fawcett’s goal put Jacksonville (10-19-3-2) in front and Phillips overcame his shaky start to shut out Greenville for the last 48 minutes.

“It was good to see him battle back, especially after that first shot,” Christie said.

Elgin Pearce sealed victory with an empty-net finish.

Though the gap is large, the Icemen closed to within 12 points of Greenville for the final playoff spot. The season’s halfway mark is Saturday.

Icemen captain Garet Hunt played his 596th career ECHL game to move into the top 10 of the league’s all-time games list, surpassing former Bakersfield Condors left wing Patrick Ianiero.

The Icemen next travel to the Florida Everblades for a pair of weekend games, beginning Friday at the Everblades’ home near Fort Myers.