TOLEDO, OH– Behind 24 saves from Nic Riopel the Greenville Road Warriors picked up a 3-0 win over the Toledo Walleye on Saturday night at the Huntington Center. The win was Riopel’s second shutout of the season and improved Greenville’s record to 34-20-3 on the season.
In their first visit to Toledo on February 11, the Road Warriors fell behind by a pair of goals in the first period before battling back for the win. They made sure not to make the same mistake this time around and tallied a pair of first period goals and took a 2-0 lead into intermission. Jimmy Kilpatrick cashed in from close range off of a faceoff win in Toledo ice. Brandon Wong won the draw to Chris Clackson who lifted a quick shot on Thomas McCollum. The Walleye netminder made the initial save, but Kilpatrick was positioned perfectly off of the far post to jam in the rebound. The goal at 8:55 was Kilpatrick’s 12th of the season. Not content with just a one-goal lead, the Road Warriors converted on the power play with just 1:45 left in the frame. After taking an outlet pass from Sam Klassen, Marc-Olivier Vallerand spun away from a defender, raced in alone on McCollum, and fed a wrist shot through on the glove side. The goal was Vallerand’s team-leading 21st of the season.
Stout defense and goaltending were the themes of the second period as the Road Warriors and Walleye both struggled to alter the scoreboard. Toledo had the better of the play in terms of time spent in the attack zone thanks to a 2-0 advantage in power play chances. Sean Berkstresser took a necessary hooking minor 1:58 in to break up a Toledo odd-man rush and Wes Cunningham was sent off at 14:28 for slashing. Even though Toledo out-chanced Greenville on the power play the Road Warriors’ penalty killing was exemplary and held the Walleye off the scoreboard. Greenville nearly added a tally to the board midway through the frame when Clackson teed up a slap shot off of a rebound. His bid, however, rang off of the cross bar and bounded away from the goal. McCollum turned away seven Greenville shots in the frame while Nic Riopel had eight saves in the frame to help Greenville maintain the two-goal advantage.
The Road Warriors turned in a picture-perfect third period and never gave Toledo a chance to mount a comeback effort. Toledo did surge early on and out-shot Greenville 4-1 over the first few minutes, but Riopel was at his best when he was needed most and kept Greenville up a pair. In just his second game with the Road Warriors, Andrew Rowe put his skills on display in a big way near the midpoint of the period and built a three-goal advantage for Greenville. Toledo coughed the puck up deep in Greenville ice and Rowe had a clear lane out to center. His speed allowed him to elude a couple of check attempts and eventually split the Toledo defense. As Rowe closed in on the goal he lifted a shot past McCollum on the blocker side and netted his first ECHL goal at 11:44. That was plenty of offense to get the job done as Riopel kept Toledo off the board the rest of the way.
Riopel turned in 24 saves in picking up his 16th win of the season. Greenville was 1-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors will return home to the BI-LO Center to battle the Trenton Devils on Friday, March 4 at 7:05 p.m. In conjunction with SHINE 96.7, the Road Warriors will be presenting “Church Night 2011” with a live, post-game performance from recording artists MyCalvary. Tickets for church groups start as low as $7. The SPINX Friday Family Four-Pack is also available for that game through the BI-LO Center Box Office and gets you four tickets, four hot dogs, four pretzels, four bags of chips, four fountain drinks for $48! For more information on these promotions and more contact a Road Warriors sales representative at 864-674-PUCK.