WHEELING, WV – The Greenville Road Warriors defeated the Wheeling Nailers 5-1 on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena. The win forced Game Six of their best-of-seven series to be played at the BI-LO Center on Tuesday, April 26.
The Road Warriors were looking for the early leg up in the game, and their first goal couldn’t have come much earlier than it did. Marc-Andre Bourdon stole a Nailers breakout pass and launched a quick shot from out high on the left wing. Shane Harper was the deepest forward in the offensive zone as Wheeling was trying to exit, and off the turnover he was left wide open in front of the net. He deflected Bourdon’s shot past Delmas and underneath the cross bar 1:23 into the contest. The Nailers then found themselves in a world of penalty trouble and the Road Warriors on a 5-on-3 advantage. It took just four seconds for Brandon Wong to hit the back of the net with assists from Jimmy Kilpatrick and Justin Bowers. The goal at 6:34 was Wong’s second of the playoffs. Justin Bowers finished off Greenville’s first period onslaught with his first of the playoffs at 10:04. Wes Cunningham caused a turnover off of a Wheeling breakout attempt and hit Kilpatrick who wired a pass that Bowers one-timed home from the slot. Wheeling chipped away at the deficit with a goal from Mikael Bedard at 16:38, but that was the only shot Nic Riopel allowed in the frame.
In the second, the Road Warriors didn’t give the Nailers any life and were able to chase Delmas from the game with an early score. Marc-Olivier Vallerand tapped home a pass from Bowers 5:57 into the period and Delmas’ night was over. Patrick Killeen came on in relief and was promptly welcomed with Harper’s second goal of the night. After Chris Clackson dug a puck off of the left wing boards, he zipped a pass to Bourdon at the right point. His shot, just like the first, was tipped in by Harper and gave Greenville its biggest lead of the night at 5-1. Riopel was strong in the frame and denied each of the 14 shots sent his way. The Road Warriors faced a major obstacle to start the third period as Chris Chappell was whistled for a boarding major, and a game misconduct at 20:00 of the second.
The Road Warriors, though, clamped down in impressive fashion and limited Wheeling to just a pair of shots in the five minute power play. The Nailers managed six more in the frame, but none of the high-quality scoring chance variety. The final nail in the coffin came when Kyle Bushee went off for holding with 2:23 remaining in regulation. The Road Warriors didn’t convert on the power play but didn’t need to with the four goal advantage.
Riopel ended the night with 36 saves and earned his third win of the playoffs. Greenville finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return to home ice for Game Six against Wheeling at 7:35 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26. Upstate students from kindergarten to college can enjoy the game at the BI-LO Center for just $6 while groups of five or more qualify for discounted tickets and preferred seating based on availability. The $6 tickets are available through the BI-LO Center Box Office on the day of the game only and groups can be booked by calling 864-674-PUCK.