GREENVILLE, SC – On a night that featured the theme “Stop Polio Cold”, the Road Warriors stopped a two-game losing streak cold, defeating the South Carolina Stingrays 3-1. The win extended Greenville’s record to 24-8-1 when they score first and kept them atop the South division standings with 64 points.
Struggling in their last 10 games and looking to stop a two-game skid, the Road Warriors opened the first period looking like the team that went 19-6-1 combined in November and December. Greenville was tested early after a hooking penalty by Chris Clackson, but the defense gave up only one shot during the power-play. South Carolina kept pounding Road Warriors goalie NicRiopel with shots, only to see them turned away one after another. Taking advantage of a slashing penalty by Stingrays’ defenceman Joe Finley midway through the first, the Road Warriors scored on the power play for their league-leading 33rd first goal of the season. Andrew Carroll beat Stingrays’ goalie Jared DeMichiel for his tenth goal of the season. Wes Cunningham and Shane Harper picked up assists on the play. The defense continued to set the pace for the rest of the period as the penalty-kill unit was called once again after the Road Warriors picked up four penalties in a two-minute spanlate in the first. Greenville was outshot 17-4 in the first and went 1-for-2 on the power play.
The second period opened with much of the same with the Road Warriors facing a Stingrays’ power play opportunity that carried over from the end of the first. Greenville tested DeMichiel early putting some shots on goal and taking advantage of a rebound opportunity by Shane Harper just under four minutes in. Harper was in perfect position to punch in the second Road Warrior goal of the night after an initial shot by Andrew Carroll deflected off DeMichiel. Carroll and Trevor Glass picked up assists on the play. Greenville’s Sean Berkstresser was hit with a roughing call at 6:18 giving the Stingrays’ their fourth power play opportunity of the night. South Carolina’s Derek Keller scored with only three seconds left on the power play to bring the Stingrays’ to within one. Greenville picked up a late power play opportunity after a high sticking call against DeMichiel, but was unable to cash in. Greenville outshot South Carolina 9-8, but was 0-1 on the power play.
Greenville came out swinging in the third period extending the lead quickly a little over two minutes into the third on Jimmy Kilpatrick’s 11th goal of the season. Mark Voakes extended his assist streak to four games and Andrew Carroll picked up second assist of the night on the play. The defense seemed to feed off of the crowd as the game tightened into the third piling up the hits and shutting down the Stingrays offensive attack. South Carolina had one last attempt to close the gap after a penalty by Greenville’s Mark Voakes gave them a power play opportunity with just under five minutes left in the game. The defense stymied the ‘Rays offense giving up only five shots in the third period. A late penalty by the Stingrays Rob Ricci all but sealed their fate.
NicRiopel stopped 29 of 30 shots en route to his 14th win of the season. Greenville was outshot 30-24 and finished 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors battle the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday, February 19 at 7:05 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. The Road Warriors will be holding their first annual scout night in the BI-LO Center. Over 1,000 scouts will flood the BI-LO Center with most camping out inside overnight. Individual and group tickets are still available. For more information call 864-674-PUCK to speak to a Road Warriors sales representative.