BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors suffered their fifth straight road loss on Friday night in a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the South Carolina Stingrays. The defeat dropped Greenville’s record to 21-16-2 on the season.
In his first game with the Road Warriors since December 29, Nic Riopel was a busy goaltender early in the first period. South Carolina registered nine of the first 10 shots on goal and was able to grab a 1-0 lead on Max Lacroix’s third of the season 9:11 into the game. The Road Warriors answered quickly with Jeff Prough hitting Justin Bowers with a crisp pass on the back door. Bowers deposited the puck in the net for his ninth of the season and a 1-1 tie with 7:47 left in the period. South Carolina regained the lead 2:05 later when David de Kastrozza scored on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush with Trent Campbell.
The second period had a decisively more defensive feel than the first as Greenville and South Carolina combined for just over half as many shots (11) as they posted in the first (21). Greenville had the best of the chance early as the Road Warriors had the first two power plays of the frame. Bowers nearly netted his second of the night, but with the puck on edge he couldn’t get a shot off on a rebound chance at the side of the net. South Carolina had the next two power play chances late in the second, but was held at bay by Riopel and the Road Warriors’ penalty killers.
South Carolina was able to sway momentum in its favor with a power play goal by Pierre-Luc O’Brien 26 seconds into the third period. The Road Warriors’ comeback never materialized as they were limited to seven shots in the period and did not generate a power play chance. Bowers got the best look at the net after a shot by Marc-Olivier Vallerand was deflected in the slot and goalie Daren Machesney was left out of position. But Bowers shot rattled wide of the goal and the Stingrays’ lead held at two. Trent Campbell added an insurance marker with 2:50 left to play and set the final.
Riopel made 21 saves in his return to the Road Warriors’ lineup. Greenville was 0-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-3 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.