GREENVILLE, SC – Tonight the Greenville Road Warriors host the Wheeling Nailers in Game Six of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Wheeling leads the series three games to two and the Road Warriors must win to force Game Seven. Faceoff tonight is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. at the BI-LO Center.
RECAPPING THE ACTION:
4/14/11 – GRW 3 – WHL 4
Greenville came out of the gates firing in Game One and grabbed a 1-0 lead just over a minute into the game. Shane Harper banged home his first pro playoff goal off of a set up by Brendan Connolly on a 2-on-1 rush. Wheeling, though, swung momentum in its favor with three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead. Tyler Murovich tied the score at 8:33 of the first and was followed by Joey Haddad’s shorthanded breakaway that beat Chris Beckford-Tseu at 10:45. Marc-Olivier Vallerand chipped a backhander behind Peter Delmas 4:46 into the third period and pulled Greenville back within one. But the deficit grew to two, again, with Murovich’s second of the night 4:56 later. Brendan Connolly netted Greenville’s third of the night 2:22 after Murovich’s score, but Delmas shut the door from there. Beckford-Tseu sustained his first loss of the playoffs with 17 saves on the night. Delmas turned away 33 bids in the win.
4/15/11 – GRW 2 – WHL 1 (OT)
Nic Riopel made his first start since taking the decision in the 6-3 loss to Elmira on April, 6 and out-dueled Peter Delmas in a dramatic, low-scoring affair. For the second straight game Shane Harper gave the Road Warriors a 1-0 lead with a first period goal. The goal at 17:33 came with assists from Brendan Connolly and Andrew Rowe. Riopel had 13 saves through two periods, including two during a Wheeling 5-on-3 power play in the second, and Greenville’s lead remained 1-0 heading into the third. The advantage evaporated 42 seconds into the period when Tim Crowder finished off a 2-on-0 break with his brother Paul. It was his first goal of the playoffs. With neither team able to score again in regulation, the scene shifted to overtime. Greenville had a handful of great scoring chances among its eight shots, but Delmas was a tough nut to crack. Finally, at 11:21, Jimmy Kilpatrick spiked home a rebound for the win and evened the series at one game each.
4/20/11 – GRW 2 – WHL 3
In their first road playoff game since April 6, the Road Warriors could not match Wheeling early and fell behind 2-0 within the opening 10 minutes of the first period. Joey Haddad converted a 3-on-2 rush off of a pass from Jason DeSantis 1:06 into the game and then Alex Grant scored an unassisted marker at 9:52. Wheeling kept the advantage despite Greenville holding a 15-9 shot advantage in the period. Greenville’s offense chipped away at the lead in the second with a power play goal from Chris Clackson as part of its 17-shot barrage on Peter Delmas. Then 1:38 into the third Brendan Connolly netted the tying goal by pouncing on a rebound from a Brad Cole point shot. Brandon DeFazio, however, turned out to be the hero with his backhand shot at 10:47 that beat Nic Riopel high to the glove side. Riopel had 21 saves on the night but sustained the loss.
4/22/11 – GRW 1 – WHL 2 The Road Warriors came out of the gate strong and picked up the game’s first goal for their efforts. Working a strong forecheck, Chris McKelvie and Chris Chappell teamed up to set up Sean Berkstresser in the high slot. His wrist shot beat Peter Delmas 4:40 into the game for Greenville’s 1-0 lead. It was the only lead the Road Warriors held in the game as Andrew Orpik netted the tying score at 9:35 of the first. Orpik batted his own rebound past Chris Beckford-Tseu after the initial shot was blocked. The score stayed tied heading into the second but Mikael Bedard broke that with a wraparound that rattled home 7:13 into the period. Greenville surged with 13 shots in the third period, but Delmas held Greenville at bay and Wheeling earned the one-goal win.
4/23/11 – GRW 5 – WHL 1
Greenville asserted itself early and often in the first period as the Road Warriors took control in Game Five. Shane Harper tipped in a Marc-Andre Bourdon point shot 1:36 into the first period to establish a 1-0 Greenville lead. The lead grew through the first half of the frame thanks to a 5-on-3 power play goal from Brandon Wong at 6:34 and a four-on-four goal from Justin Bowers at 10:04. Before the frame ended Mikael Bedard pulled Wheeling with two with his second goal in as many games at 16:38. That was as close as the Nailers would get, though, as Marc-Olivier Vallerand (5:57) and Harper (9:17) notched second period scores to stretch the lead to 5-1. Nic Riopel blanked Wheeling in the second and third periods with 22 combined saves and earned his third win of the playoffs.
WHAT’S ON TAP FOR TONIGHT:
The Road Warriors and Nailers meet tonight in Game Six of their Eastern Conference semifinals series. The Road Warriors extended the series with its 5-1 win in Game Five at Wheeling last Saturday. The Road Warriors are looking to take advantage of two games on home ice to close out the series. They are 3-1-0 at the BI-LO Center in the playoffs and have held opponents to an average of 1.5 goals per game. Wheeling, meanwhile, hasn’t lost on the road in regulation in the playoffs. This series has been tight with four of five games decided by one goal, three winning goals scored in the third period or later, and an average winning margin of 1.6.
Center Justin Bowers has been a strong playmaker for the Road Warriors so far in the playoffs. He leads the Road Warriors, and is tied for first among all playoff skaters, with nine assists through nine games. He had his third two-assist game of the playoffs in Game Five on Saturday night and added a goal for his first three-point night of the playoffs. Bowers has an assist in six of Greenville’s nine playoffs games and Greenville is 2-1-0 when Bowers posts more than one point in a playoff game. This is Bowers’ first trip to the Kelly Cup Playoffs but had 30 points (12G, 18A) in 20 CHL playoff games last season.
– There has not been a power play goal scored at the BI-LO Center in the playoffs.
– The Road Warriors have scored the first goal in six of their nine playoff games so far. They are 4-2-0 in those games.
– Shane Harper has nine goals in his last 12 games dating back to March 31, 2011 vs. Gwinnett.
– Nic Riopel has the best GAA (2.13) and SVP (.924) of any rookie goalie still playing in the playoffs.
– No Road Warriors player has played more games in the playoffs and regular season than T.J. Reynolds’ 79. The Road Warriors are 2-0-0 in games Reynolds has missed (both due to suspension).
The Road Warriors are offering up great ticket deals for tonight’s Game Six. Students from all over the Upstate from kindergarten to college can get in for just $6 while others can take advantage of the Two-fer Tuesday special. The Two-fer Tuesday gets you two center ice tickets, two hot dogs, two boxes of popcorn, and two sodas for just $30. The student special tickets and Two-fer Tuesday deal are available through the BI-LO Center Box Office only. Groups of five or more can book discounted tickets by calling the Road Warriors at 864-674-PUCK.