BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
GREENVILLE, SC – The Road Warriors saw their six-game home winning streak snapped last week as they dropped a pair of games to the Reading Royals. This week offers a chance at redemption with two home matches against South Division opponents before embarking on a 10-day road trip.
Record: 15-9-2, 32 pts., 2nd place South Division
Leaders (as of 12/26/11):
Goals – Brendan Connolly: 17
Assists – Justin Bowers: 22
Points – Brendan Connolly: 32
+/- – T.J. Reynolds/Brendan Connolly: +10
PIMs – T.J. Reynolds: 72
PPG – Jeff Prough: 7
SHG – Brendan Connolly/Marc-Olivier Vallerand: 1
Wins – Nic Riopel: 11
GAA – Jason Missiaen: 2.27
SVP – Jason Missiaen: .930
Previewing the Upcoming Week:
12/27 vs. South Carolina – 7:35 p.m., Home vs. S.C. 4-0-0, Away vs. S.C. 1-1-0
Tuesday’s game is the seventh of 16 meetings between the Road Warriors and Stingrays this season and the fifth of eight at the BI-LO Center. The Road Warriors have won five of the previous six meetings against the Stingrays this season including all four in Greenville. The Road Warriors’ defense has been the big key in those wins with a team goals-against average of one against South Carolina at home. Greenville is 9-3-0 all-time in the Battle of the Palmetto State on home ice. The Road Warriors’ win in North Charleston on Dec. 18 was the first win for a road team in the season series between the Road Warriors and Stingrays.
12/29 vs. Florida – 7:35 p.m., Home vs. FLA 3-1-1, Away vs. FLA 1-1-0
Thursday night is the final meeting of the season in Greenville for the Road Warriors and Everblades, and also the final home game of 2011 for the Road Warriors. The game begins a five-game road trip for Florida and is the end of a stretch of seven of eight games at home for Greenville. The Everblades pulled off an improbable 4-3 shootout win over Greenville the last time the teams met on December 17. Greenville surrendered a 3-2 lead with seven seconds to play on a power play goal by Rylan Galiardi and then lost 1-0 in a seven-round shootout. After Thursday only three games remain between Greenville and Florida and will be played on Jan. 25, Jan. 26, and Jan. 28 at Germain Arena.
12/31 at Chicago & 1/1 at Chicago – 7:30 CST & 4:00 CST, Home vs. CHI 0-0-0, Away vs. CHI 0-0-0
The Chicago Express were one of two expansion teams added to the ECHL in the summer of 2010 and Saturday will be the first meeting ever between Greenville and Chicago. The Express entered this week having lost three consecutive games and holding down the second spot in the North Division standings. The Express are coached by Steve Martinson who is in his 16th season as a professional coach. He has won six championships as a head coach (four with WCHL San Diego and one with UHL Rockford) and has previously coached in the ECHL with Elmira (117-76-23). The Express are the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets and the AHL’s Springfield Falcons.
12/26/11 – Off
“Between the Pipes” radio show at Ford’s Oyster House and Cajun Kitchen, 7:00 p.m.
12/27/11 – * Pre-game skate at BI-LO Center, 10:00 a.m.
Road Warriors vs. South Carolina, 7:35 p.m.
12/28/11 – * Practice at the BI-LO Center, 10:00 a.m.
12/29/11 – * Pre-game skate at BI-LO Center, 10:00 a.m.
Road Warriors vs. Florida, 7:35 p.m.
Depart for Chicago from BI-LO Center immediately following game
12/30/11 – Practice at Sears Center, TBD
12/31/11 – Pre-game practice at Sears Center, Noon
Road Warriors at Chicago, 7:30 p.m. CST
1/1/12 – Road Warriors at Chicago, 4:00 p.m. CST
* Denotes an appearance/event that is not open to the general public.
Road Warriors Broadcast Information
All Greenville Road Warriors games are broadcast live online courtesy of America One. You can listen to every game for free by clicking on the “Listen Live” link located on the Road Warriors’ home page – www.greenvilleroadwarriors.com. The Road Warriors Pre-Game Show kicks off every broadcast 15 minutes prior to faceoff.
Recapping Last Week:
12/22 vs. Reading: OTL 2-3
Brandon Wong provided a pair of goals but it wasn’t enough offense as the Royals received two goals from Olivier Labelle, including a power play strike in OT, to skate away with their third win over Greenville this season. The Road Warriors peppered Reading goalie Mark Owuya with 39 shots in the game, but after Wong converted twice in the first period, Owuya shut Greenville down. The Road Warriors had seven chances on the power play in the game, including two 5-on-3’s but were held without a power play goal. Nic Riopel sustained the loss in net for Greenville as he stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced.
12/23 vs. Reading: L 4-6
Brendan Connolly recorded the second hat trick in the Road Warriors’ history last Friday, but it was not enough to overcome a Reading power play that went 3-for-6 to power the Royals to victory. Connolly’s first of the night came midway through the first to slice a 2-0 Reading lead in half, but the Royals built it up to 4-1 before the opening frame expired. Greenville out-scored Reading 3-2 over the final two periods and had tied the game at four when Justin Bowers banked home a power play goal 5:58 into the third. Reading bounced back with a 4-on-3 power play goal from Rob Kwiet to reclaim the lead then Olivier Labelle capped the scoring with his fourth goal of the week with 7:20 left in the game. Jason Missiaen played the entire game and stopped 24 of the shots he faced.
*Both hat tricks scored in the Road Warriors’ history have come in losses. Brandon Wong scored three in an 8-6 defeat against Gwinnett on January 14, 2011 and Brendan Connolly’s three weren’t enough offense in a 6-4 loss to Reading last Friday.
* Jason Missiaen has three shutouts in the month of December and is tied with Alaska’s Gerald Coleman and Gwinnett’s Jeff Jakaitis for the most shutouts in the ECHL. He has a .6 goals-against average in his wins this season and a .983 save percentage.
* Entering this week, the Road Warriors have played the fewest away games (10) of any team in the ECHL. Their six road wins, however are tied for fifth most in the league. Starting Saturday they play six games on the road over 10 days against the North Division. They are 10-2-1 on the road against the North Division since 2010.
* The Road Warriors have the fourth most power play chances in home games in the ECHL at 71, but have the 12th rated home power play at 18.3 percent. Away from the BI-LO Center the Road Warriors have the top PP at 29.3 percent.
* Greenville’s third period defense is the fifth best in the ECHL with 24 goals given up in 27 games. The Road Warriors have been nearly as stingy in the first period with 26 goals given up which are the seventh fewest in the league.
Thursday, Dec. 29: Road Warriors vs. Florida Everblades, 7:35 p.m. – Throwback Thursday Presented by WSSL 100.5, The Greenville News, and New Rock 93.3. Come out to enjoy $2 draught beers, $2 fountain drinks, $2 hot dogs, and $2 pretzels. Also, any college student with a valid ID gets in for just $6.
Thursday, Jan. 12: Road Warriors vs. Gwinnett Gladiators, 7:35 p.m. – Throwback Thursday Presented by WSSL 100.5, The Greenville News, and New Rock 93.3. Come out to enjoy $2 draught beers, $2 fountain drinks, $2 hot dogs, and $2 pretzels. Also, any college student with a valid ID gets in for just $6.
Friday, Jan. 13: Road Warriors vs. Gwinnett Gladiators, 7:35 p.m. – Spinx Family Four Pack. Fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks, and four pretzels for just $48! The Road Warriors will also be wearing special Clemson University-themed jerseys which will be auctioned off live after the game.