BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors were unable to come away with a win to close out their six-game road trip as they fell 5-3 to the Wheeling Nailers on Sunday afternoon. The loss dropped Greenville’s record to 19-13-2 on the season.
Less than 12 hours after arriving in Wheeling from Toledo, the Road Warriors were back on the ice looking for their second consecutive victory. They hit an early speed bump as the Nailers’ Chris Barton struck a slap shot past goalie Jason Missiaen for a 1-0 Wheeling advantage at 9:16. The Road Warriors were not derailed by that goal, however, and with some consistent pressure were able to win some power play chances of their own. Wheeling goalie Peter Delmas made a couple of brilliant saves while Greenville was on a 5-on-3, but with a 5-on-4 advantage Jeff Caister blistered a shot that was tipped by Connor Shields to tie the game at one. It was Shields’ sixth goal of the season with the second assist going to Francis Meilleur.
The second period did not start or end well for the Road Warriors as Wheeling scored a pair of goals to go up 3-1 heading into the third. The first belonged to Barton just eight seconds into the period. His slap shot from the left wing eluded Missiaen on the glove side. The Road Warriors brought the pressure and registered the next 10 shots on goal in the period but Delmas turned away each one he faced. Then with 5:01 left in the period, Mikael Bedard swatted a one-time past Missiaen for Wheeling’s third of the contest.
Wheeling snagged another goal in the first minute of a period to begin the third and put Greenville in a three goal hole at 4-1. Matt Lombardi snapped a one-timer into an open net after Jason Missiaen was caught out of his crease trying to play a loose puck. Trying to wipe out Wheeling’s advantage, the Road Warriors’ power play roared to life and popped in a couple of third-period markers. The first came from Brett Robinson at 8:41 and the second from Shields at 17:34 as Greenville clawed back within one goal. With just under two minutes left Missiaen was pulled for the extra attacker, but Cody Chupp hit the empty net to seal the win for Wheeling.
Missiaen took the loss while making 21 saves. The Road Warriors were 3-for-8 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home to face the Gwinnett Gladiators on Thursday, January 12 at 7:35 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. Come out for a Throwback Thursday which features $2 draft beers, fountain drinks, hot dogs, and pretzels. College students can also get in for $6 with a valid ID. Throwback Thursdays are sponsored by WSSL 100.5, The Greenville News, and New Rock 93.3. 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.