ROAD WARRIORS WEEKLY: 1/2 TO 1/8/12

Ray Schmitt

BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors

The Greenville Road Warriors head into the thirteenth week of the season having won three of their last four games and two straight. This week features four games over five days as the Road Warriors continue their road trip through the North Division.

Record:

18-10-2, 38 pts., 2nd place South Division

Leaders:

Goals – Brendan Connolly: 18
Assists – Justin Bowers: 26
Points – Brendan Connolly: 36
Plus/Minus – T.J. Reynolds/Brendan Connolly: +11
PIMs – Brendan Connolly: 92
PPG – Jeff Prough: 7
SHG – Brendan Connolly/Marc-Olivier Vallerand: 1
WinsNic Riopel: 11
GAA – Jason Missiaen: 2.39
SVP – Jason Missiaen: .927

Previewing the Upcoming Week:

1/4 at Cincinnati – 7:35 p.m., Home vs. CIN 0-0-0, Away vs. CIN 1-1-0

The Road Warriors are one of just three teams to defeat Cincinnati at US Bank Arena this season and will try to match the feat in their third visit to the Cyclones’ home on Wednesday. Greenville came away with a 4-3 shootout victory in its first game in Cincinnati on November 29, but fell in a wild 6-5 affair four days later. The Road Warriors are 3-2-1 all-time against the Cyclones and three of those six games have gone to overtime. The Cyclones enter this week having won five consecutive games and eight of their last 10. They last beat Toledo 3-0 on December 30 but still have played the fewest games in the ECHL at 25.

1/6 at Kalamazoo – 7:30 p.m., Home vs. KAL 0-0-0, Away vs. KAL 1-0-0

The Road Warriors are 3-1-0 at Wings Stadium in their history thanks to skating to a 5-2 victory on November 30, 2011. Greenville was out-shot 39-20 in the game and fell behind 2-0 in the first 3:31 but rode a 2-for-3 effort on the power play to the win. Jason Missiaen made 37 saves to earn his first professional victory that night. Kalamazoo enters the week as the top team in the North Division with a 17-11-3 record and is tied with Florida for the Eastern Conference lead in goals scored with 114.

1/7 at Toledo – 7:00 p.m., Home vs. TOL 1-0-0, Away vs. TOL 1-0-0

Saturday night will be the Road Warriors’ final visit of the season to the Huntington Center. They have won each of their first three trips to the building, two during the 2010-11 season, and have out-scored the Walleye 11-5 in the victories. Greenville went 3-for-6 on the power play in its 4-2 win over the Walleye back on December 2 and came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits. Toledo enters the week 8-7-1 at home this season but has lost three out of the last four games at the Huntington Center.

1/8 at Wheeling – 4:05 p.m., Home vs. WHL 0-1-0, Away vs. WHL 0-0-0

Sunday is the final matchup between Greenville and Wheeling this season after the Nailers came to Greenville for the Road Warriors’ home opener. The Road Warriors’ struck first in that game, but Wheeling came back for six straight goals in a 6-1 win and spoiled the party. It was Wheeling’s first regular season win against the Road Warriors. Greenville is 6-1-0 in its history against the Nailers including a 3-0-0 mark at WesBanco Arena. At the start of the week Wheeling is 7-6-1 on home ice and has lost six of its last eight home games. Wheeling is 5-6-2 under interim coach Clark Donatelli who took over on December 7 for Stan Drulia who was promoted to assistant coach of the Milwaukee Admirals.

Day-by-Day Schedule:

1/2/12 – Off

1/3/12 – Practice at Northlands Ice Center in Cincinnati, 9:00 a.m.

1/4/12 – Pre-game skate at US Bank Arena, 11:00 a.m.

      Road Warriors at Cincinnati, 7:35 p.m.

      Depart for Kalamazoo immediately following the game

1/5/12 – Practice at Wings Stadium, TBD

1/6/12 – Pre-game skate at Wings Stadium, 11:00 a.m.

      Road Warriors at Kalamazoo, 7:30 p.m.

      Depart for Toledo immediately following the game

1/7/12 – Pre-game practice at Huntington Center, 11:00 a.m.

              Road Warriors at Toledo, 7:00 p.m.

              Depart for Wheeling immediately following the game

1/8/12 – Road Warriors at Wheeling, 4:05 p.m.

              Depart for Greenville immediately following the game

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 –  greenvilleroadwarriors.com. The Road Warriors Pre-Game Show kicks off every broadcast 15 minutes prior to faceoff.

Recapping Last Week:

12/27 vs. South Carolina: W 2-0

Box Score

Greenville goalie Jason Missiaen dueled with South Carolina’s Darren Machesney through 40 minutes of scoreless hockey in last Tuesday’s contest. Missiaen was tested with 25 shots while the  Road Warriors managed 21 on Machesney in the first two periods. South Carolina kept the pressure on with 13 more shots in the third period but it was Greenville that did the only damage offensively. Brendan Connolly netted the eventual winner early in the third while Brandon Wong added an insurance tally. The win kept Greenville’s perfect home record against South Carolina intact.

12/29 vs. Florida: L 1-3

Box Score

After missing a pair of games due to injury, Marc-Olivier Vallerand returned to the Road Warriors’ lineup and made an immediate impact. He scored 1:41 into the game and staked Greenville to a 1-0 lead. That was the only lead Greenville would manage in the contest as the Everblades answered back with three scores. Matt Beca had the big game for Florida with a goal and an assist, including the lone helper on Trevor Bruess’ game winning goal. Pat Nagle turned away 30 of the shots sent his way while Nic Riopel shouldered the loss for Greenville after making 33 saves.

12/31 at Chicago: OTW 3-2

Box Score

After going 16-1-0 to start the season with the Knoxville Ice Bears of the Southern Professional Hockey League, Bryan Hince was called up to Greenville to fill the void created by Nic Riopel’s and Jason Missiaen’s promotion to the American Hockey League. Hince answered the bell with 22 saves for the Road Warriors as Greenville came away with the win in its first ever game against Chicago. Brandon Wong had a big game for the Road Warriors with the game winning goal in OT and an assist on Francis Meilleur’s third-period goal. Jyri Niemi scored his first ECHL goal in the first minute of the second period as Greenville grabbed a 1-0 lead.

1/1 at Chicago: W 4-2

Box Score

Sunday’s victory gave Greenville back-to-back wins for the first time since mid-December and was powered by Justin Bowers’ three points (2G, 1A) and Jason Missiaen’s 29 saves. Chicago snared a 1-0 lead early in the first period, but the Road Warriors tallied back-to-back goals in the second to take a 2-1 lead. It took only 52 seconds for Chicago to knot the score and the game entered the third deadlocked at two. Bowers’ second of the night midway through the third proved to be the game winner and Marc-Olivier Vallerand secured insurance with an empty net goal at 19:45.

Quick Hits:

* Brendan Connolly is nominated for ECHL Player of the Month for December after registering 16 points (8G, 8A), a +8 rating, and two game winning goals. Connolly was also the player of the month for the month of November 2010.

* Jason Missiaen is nominated for ECHL Goalie of the Month for December after going 4-1-1 with a 1.65 goals-against average, a .949 save percentage, and three shutouts. Missiaen was the goalie of the week for the week ending December 11.

* The Road Warriors have killed off 14 consecutive power plays and are 25-for-29 on the penalty kill in their last five games. They are also 24-for-27 on the PK in their last five road games and haven’t given up a PPG in the last two away from the BI-LO Center.

* Brendan Connolly enters play this week ranked second in the ECHL with 18 goals on the season while Justin Bowers is second, first among active skaters, with 26 assists. Jason Missiaen ranks sixth in goals-against average at 2.39 and fifth in save percentage at .927. He is tied for second in shutouts with three.

* Greenville’s eight road victories are the third most in the ECHL despite having played the fewest road games at 12. The Road Warriors’ .667 win percentage on the road is second best in the league behind only Reading at .676.

Upcoming Events:

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.

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