BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors could not finish off a sweep of North Division opponents this week as they fell 6-5 to the Cincinnati Cyclones at US Bank Arena on Saturday night. The loss dropped Greenville to 11-8-0 on the season.
Despite losing three regulars from their lineup to the AHL prior to the game, the Cyclones made a statement that they were ready to play and put three goals on the board in the first period. The Road Warriors kept things tight, though, with two of their own. After Mathieu Aubin put the Cyclones up 1-0, Jeff Prough fed a wrist shot from the left wing circle past Brian Foster for his 100th ECHL goal. The power play marker was set up by Wes Cunningham and Justin Bowers. The Cyclones answered back with a pair of goals from their defensive corps. Garrett Suter restored the one-goal lead at 10:54 and Chris Read doubled it at 4:18. Lee Baldwin had the reply for Greenville by beating Foster with a slap shot with 1:07 left in the first. Brendan Connolly and Connor Shields assisted on the goal.
The second period saw plenty more offensive fireworks as, again, the Road Warriors and Cyclones combined for five goals in the period. This time the Road Warriors out-scored the Cyclones 3-2 to leave the game deadlocked at five heading into the third. Greenville’s Brett Robinson tied the game at three with 6:32 gone by only to see the Cyclones’ Anthony Luciani and Daniel Koger answer back to put the home team up 5-3. Greenville made the Cyclones pay for a pair of turnovers, though, and Connolly’s markers at 12:45 and 15:39 put the Road Warriors back on even footing.
Greenville and Cincinnati battled to a scoreless draw for a majority of the third period but at the end of the night the Cyclones had just enough offense to pull off the victory. With 1:24 left to play Luciani lifted a backhand shot over the right should over Riopel for the game winning goal. The Road Warriors got Riopel off for the extra attacker shortly after the ensuing faceoff but many of their shots from high-quality areas were blocked by the Cyclones and the tying goal was not to be found.
Riopel finished the night with 30 saves in taking the loss. The Road Warriors were 1-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home to face the Gwinnett Gladiators on Thursday, December 8 at 7:35 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. Come out for the Road Warriors’ Throwback Thursday which features $2 draft beers, fountain drinks, pretzels and hot dogs, and $6 tickets for college students with a valid ID. Throwback Thursdays are sponsored by WSSL 100.5, The Greenville News, and New Rock 93.3. Don’t forget about great group packages that get you discounts off of the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Fans can call 864-674-PUCK (7825) to speak to a Road Warriors ticket representative and book their group outing.