TOLEDO, OH – Today the Greenville Road Warriors are in Toledo to take on the Walleye in a matchup that features the two newest teams in the ECHL. The Road Warriors will try to slow down a Walleye club that has won three in a row and eight of its last 10 games.
RECAPPING THE ACTION:
2/9/11 – GRW 1 – S.C. 2
The Road Warriors were looking to carry the momentum of their series win over the Florida Everblades into their first home game in over two weeks, but the offense never got completely on track and the Stingrays were able to skate away with the two points. After a scoreless first period, the Road Warriors found themselves in penalty trouble to begin the second period. They began the frame already on the penalty kill for 33 seconds and moments before that penalty expired Sam Klassen and Connor Shields were whistled for separate penalties at the 1:24 mark. Down by two men for over two minutes, the Road Warriors battened down the hatches and held the Stingrays off the board. Near the midway point of the period Jake Hauswirth scored off of a faceoff to put South Carolina up by one and that lead carried over to the third. Marc-Olivier Vallerand pulled Greenville even at 2:55, but 16 seconds later Tommy Goebel stuffed a shot past Nic Riopel for the eventual game winner. Riopel had 28 saves in the game, but the Road Warriors went 0-for-3 on the power play.
2/5/11 – TOL 5 – GWT 2
The Walleye finished up a two-game mini-series with the Gwinnett Gladiators with a comfortable win last Saturday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Toledo dominated from the onset of the game as evidenced by its 29-9 shot advantage through two periods of play. Despite that, Gwinnett scored first with a marker by Dustin Cameron 5:04 into the game. Unfazed, Toledo retaliated with a late first-period shorthanded goal by Mike Hedden and cruised to a big advantage in the second period. Thirty six seconds into the middle frame Toledo took the lead on Scott Fletcher’s second goal of the season then rattled off a pair of other goals by Hedden and Willie Coetzee late in the frame to build a three-goal lead heading into the third. At 7:20 of the third Pat Galivan pulled Gwinnett back within two, but an empty net goal by Zach Torquato with 16 seconds remaining sealed the win for Toledo. Joe Palmer earned the win in net with 18 saves on the night.
WHAT’S ON TAP FOR TONIGHT
Even though this is the first meeting of the season between the Road Warriors and the Walleye there are some connections between the clubs. Walleye defenseman Dave Phillips and forward Tyler Doig are familiar foes to the Road Warriors. Phillips began the season with the Gwinnett Gladiators and played five games, totaled one assist, against the Road Warriors while Doig had two games against Greenville while he was a member of the Kalamazoo Wings. On the Road Warriors’ end, former Charlotte Checkers T.J. Reynolds and Andrew Carroll skated against the Walleye last season in the Kelly Cup Playoffs while new acquisition Chris Clackson had 1G, 1A in five games against Toledo while he was with the Cincinnati Cyclones. There are even some ties on the coaching staffs. Road Warriors assistant coach Jason Spence was a former teammate of Walleye forward Randy Rowe with the Johnstown Chiefs and Toledo is coached by ECHL Hall-of-Famer, and former Greenville Grrrowl goalie/assistant coach Nick Vitucci. Vitucci played three seasons for the Grrrowl and compiled a 44-38-8 record.
The Road Warriors boast one of the largest contingents of rookies in the ECHL with 11 on the active roster. They are also the only team in the league with three players in the top 20 among rookie scoring thanks to Marc-Olivier Vallerand (34 Pts), Brandon Wong (30 Pts.) and Blake Parlett (26 Pts.). Parlett is also the top scoring rookie defenseman in the ECHL and third overall. On the season, rookies have accounted for 58 of the Road Warriors’ 160 goals (36 percent). Toledo has a potent duo of rookies, as well, with Andy Bombach (41) and Zach Torquato (40) ranking fourth and fifth among league rookies in scoring.
– T.J. Reynolds leads the Eastern Conference, and all ECHL defensemen, with 148 penalty minutes.
– Greenville is 8-1-0 against North Division teams this season.
– The Road Warriors have been tied or trailing going into the third period in each of their last five games (2-3-0).
– Greenville has been shorthanded the seventh fewest times (215) in the ECHL while Toledo is sixth at 209.
– Greenville has the league’s fifth-best offense at 3.33 goals/game while Toledo’s defense is last at 3.70 goals against/game.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home to battle the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday, February 18 at 7:05 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. The Road Warriors are teaming with Rotary Club of Greenville to host their first “Stop Polio Cold” game. The night features the Road Warriors wearing special red and gold jerseys which will be auctioned off live following the game. Proceeds from the jersey auction and that night’s ticket sales will be donated to Rotary’s “End Polio Now” campaign. You can also take advantage of the Friday Family Four Pack which features four tickets, four hot dogs, four pretzels, four bags of chips, and four sodas for just $48! Also, for information on group packages call 864-674-PUCK to speak to a Road Warriors group sales representative.