BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice Of The Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors nearly pulled off an improbable comeback on Monday afternoon against the Gwinnett Gladiators but fell by a goal for the second straight game. The loss dropped Greenville to 21-15-2 on the season.
After being held to a season-low 14 shots one game earlier on Saturday night, the Road Warriors launched 15 shots on the Gwinnett goal in the first period on Monday. The only issue was that goalie Jeff Jakaitis swatted away each shot that he faced. Brett Robinson and Marc-Olivier Vallerand each had a look on a partial breakaway in the first, but pad saves on each of their shots kept the game scoreless. Gwinnett finally broke through late in the period on a one-timer goal by Colin Vock. Jason Missiaen faced five total shots in the opening period and stymied four of them.
In the second period the Road Warriors could not generate as many chances as they did in the first period because they were whistled for four consecutive penalties to begin the frame. The penalty killers held the fort as long as they could but eventually, with 10:47 gone by, Andy Brandt hit the back of the net with a deflection on a 5-on-3 advantage. The Road Warriors finally got a power play chance of their own with just over three minutes left in the period, but despite a couple of quality chances they couldn’t solve Jakaitis.
The Road Warriors saw their deficit grow to three 14 seconds into the third period as Brand ripped a one-timer past Missiaen for his second goal of the game. That proved to be the biggest goal of the game because the Road Warriors mounted a furious comeback rally. Goals 3:04 apart by Jyri Niemi and Marc-Olivier Vallerand gave the Road Warriors a jolt of life as they closed to within one goal. The Gladiators then gave Greenville four consecutive power play chances, including 38 seconds of a 5-on-3. Jakaitis and the Gwinnett penalty killers slammed the door, though, and the Road Warriors could not finish off the comeback.
Missiaen suffered the loss while making 18 saves for the Road Warriors. Greenville was 0-for-8 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors face off against the Gwinnett Gladiators on Saturday, January 21 at 7:05 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. Get your group of 10 or more together to come out and enjoy a night with the Road Warriors. Groups qualify for discounts off of the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Also be sure to check out greenvilleroadwarriors.com/tickets/groups for information on birthday party packages and luxury suite rentals. Call 864-674-PUCK (7825) for more info or to book your group.