BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
GREENVILLE, SC - On the strength of a 3-for-5 power play effort, the Greenville Road Warriors defeated the Florida Everblades 5-2 on Friday night at Germain Arena. The win improved Greenville to 8-5-0 on the season.
The Road Warriors had to scrap and claw in their first road game in nearly a month, but their effort paid off with a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. Connor Shields won a faceoff in the offensive zone back to T.J. Reynolds at the right point. The Road Warriors’ captain banked a shot off the back boards to the front of the net where Brendan Connolly jammed home his sixth goal of the season. Greenville’s lead was in jeopardy when Jyri Niemi and Sam Klassen took penalties in succession and gave Florida a 5-on-3 power play for 1:12. A handful of saves from Nic Riopel and some blocked shots kept Florida at bay and Greenville held on to the 1-0 lead until the end of the frame.
Greenville’s offense erupted for three goals in the first 7:08 of the second period as the Road Warriors built a 4-0 lead. Brandon Wong tipped in a point shot by Cullen Eddy for a power play goal at 2:42 to begin the onslaught. Brett Robinson cashed in his fourth of the season a couple of minutes later, then Connolly notched his second of the night, on the power play, to close out Greenville’s scoring in the period. That goal chased John Muse, Florida’s starter, from the net and he was replaced by Pat Nagle. Nagle shut down Greenville over the final 12 minutes of the period and Florida received goals from Mike McKenzie and Ryan Donald to close the gap to 4-2.
In the final period, Greenville’s defense put the clamps on Florida’s offense and limited the Everblades to just seven shots. The Road Warriors managed 14 against Nagle with one hitting paydirt. With the Road Warriors on a power play, Jeff Prough punched home his 10th goal of the season by sending in a shot from a tough angle on the left wing. The goal was Prough’s 10th of the season and he needs just two more to reach 100 for his ECHL career.
Riopel earned his eighth win of the season by stopping 32 shots. The Road Warriors were 3-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home to face the Gwinnett Gladiators on Thursday, December 8 at 7:35 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. Come out for the Road Warriors’ Throwback Thursday which features $2 draft beers, fountain drinks, pretzels and hot dogs, and $6 tickets for college students with a valid ID. Throwback Thursdays are sponsored by WSSL 100.5, The Greenville News, and New Rock 93.3. Don’t forget about great group packages that get you discounts off of the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Fans can call 864-674-PUCK (7825) to speak to a Road Warriors ticket representative and book their group outing.