Greenville, SC – The Greenville Road Warriors outlasted the Cincinnati Cyclones 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday night and closed in further on a playoff berth. Brandon Wong scored the decisive goal of the shootout for the Road Warriors to lift them to a 3-1 shootout victory. The victory improved the Road Warriors record to 39-21-4.
The Cyclones and Road Warriors skated to a scoreless first period as each team’s goalie stood on his head and stopped each shot he faced. The Road Warriors received some early opportunities to score first as both Wong and Shane Harper beat Cyclones’ goalie Brian Foster, but were each denied by the post. Neither team could cash in a power play opportunity in the frame, either. Cincinnati outshot Greenville 10-5 in the frame.
The Road Warriors notched the first goal of the game for the 40th time this season on Andrew Rowe‘s breakaway goal that slipped past Foster. Rowe’s second goal of the season came 1:24 into the period with the assists going to Sam Klassen and Brad Cole. Cincinnati, however, picked up some momentum after T.J. Reynolds received a minor penalty at 3:48. The Road Warriors killed the Cyclones’ second power play opportunity of the night, but Cincinnati cashed in just as Reynolds exited the box. The Cyclones’ Dan Eves found Casey Pierro-Zabotel alone in front of the net and he punched a shot past Nic Riopel to knot the score at one. Shortly after the Cyclones killed a Road Warriors power play opportunity Justin Bowers slipped a beautiful feed across the front of the net to a wide open Lee Baldwin who blasted one past Foster to give the Road Warriors a 2-1 lead at 15:52. Jimmy Kilpatrick also recorded an assist on the goal which extended his current point streak to ten games.
Cincinnati tied the score at two only 40 seconds into the third period. The Road Warriors second ranked defense was unable to clear the puck from in front of the net and Eves shoveled a shot past Riopel for his sixth goal of the season. Brock Sheahan recorded the assist on the goal. The Road Warriors penalty-kill unit had two shorthand opportunities on a minor penalty to T.J. Reynolds a few minutes into the period, but those chances fell by the way side and the game remained tied. Not to be outdone by his counterpart in goal, Riopel made two saves that brought the crowd to its feet to keep the score even at two each. Both defenses began to settle in as the goalies took control of the rest of the period.
After both teams were unable to score in the sudden-death overtime period, they prepared for the shootout to decide the game. Bowers made a nifty move to get Foster out of position and easily scored the first shootout goal for the Road Warriors. Riopel stuffed Pierre-Zabotel’s attempt to even the shootout for the Cyclones. Wong scored the second shootout goal and eventual game-winner. Shane Harper punched in the third consecutive shootout goal for the Road Warriors to preserve the victory.
Riopel stopped 25 of 27 shots faced for his 21st win of the season. Greenville outshot Cincinnati 29-27. The Road Warriors were 0-for-3 on the power play, but went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return to home ice at the BI-LO Center to battle the Cincinnati Cyclones for the second of their three game series on Friday, March 18th at 7:05 p.m. Join the Road Warriors for their popular SPINX Friday Family Four-Pack which offers unmatched savings on a night out. The family four-pack is available through the BI-LO Center Box Office and features four gold-level tickets, four hot dogs, four bags of chips, four pretzels, and four fountain drinks for just $48. On Friday, the Road Warriors won’t just be competing on the ice, but off it as well. Six players will participate in a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising challenge. There will be a donation location set up on the BI-LO Center concourse and fans can donate money in the name of their favorite six participants. The player who has the most money donated in his name will then have his heads shaved in support of the cause. All money raised for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation will benefit childhood cancer research. Tickets are still available and groups of 10 or more qualify for discounts off of the box office price, preferred seating based on availability, and other great benefits. Call 864-674-PUCK to speak to a Road Warriors group sales representative.