BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
GREENVILLE, SC – The Greenville Road Warriors had their six-game home win streak snapped by a 4-3 shootout loss to the Florida Everblades on Saturday night. The Road Warriors‘ record slipped to 14-8-1 on the season, but the point for making it to overtime coupled with South Carolina’s loss to Gwinnett moved Greenville into second place in the division.
Unlike last night, there were no teddy bears to be tossed after the first goal of the game, but just like last night it was Greenville’s Marc-Olivier Vallerand putting the Road Warriors up 1-0. The goal at 5:09 was Vallerand’s 11th of the season and was set up by Connor Shields and Francis Meilleur. Despite falling behind early, Florida kept peppering the net and the 13th shot of the period by Leigh Salters beat Jason Missiaen with 17:17 gone by. The goal not only tied the game at one, but broke Missiaen’s shutout streak at 178:41.
The Road Warriors faced their first deficit of the week in the second period when Trevor Bruess broke in behind the defense and sifted a backhand shot past Missiaen at the 4:55 mark. But the Road Warriors didn’t like that position and didn’t stay in it long. After a point shot by Jeff Caister was blocked, Sean Berkstresser swept up the rebound and blasted it past Florida’s Pat Nagle just 53 seconds after Bruess’ goal. It was Berkstresser’s first of the season. He had a chance late in the period to give Greenville the lead back, but his wraparound try hit the post and Florida quickly cleared the rebound away.
Berkstresser scored a hard-working goal late in the third period which seemed to have Greenville in good shape to pick up the win. But a tripping minor to Jyri Niemi with under two minutes to play in the third sent Florida on a power play. Nagle was pulled for the extra attacker and with six seconds left in the period, Rylan Galiardi lifted a wrist shot over Missiaen’s blocker-side shoulder. Florida had all the momentum in overtime and was aided by a tripping minor to Lee Baldwin 1:03 in. But four saves by Missiaen kept Florida at bay and moved the game to a shootout.
In the breakaway competition it was Kyle Lawson in the bottom of the seventh round scoring the only goal and lifting the Everblades to the 4-3 win.
Missiaen sustained the loss while making 31 saves. The Road Warriors were 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home to face the Reading Royals on Thursday, December 22 at 7:35 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. Come out for the Road Warriors’ Throwback Thursday brought to you by WSSL 100.5, The Greenville News, and New Rock 93.3. On Throwback Thursdays fans get draft beers, fountain drinks, hot dogs, and pretzels for just $2! College students can purchase tickets for $6 with a valid ID. You can also save on your tickets by bringing out a group of 10 or more! The Road Warriors offer discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability to groups who book in advance. Call 864-674-PUCK (7825) for more info or to book your group.