ROAD WARRIORS WEEKLY RELEASE: 1/23 TO 1/29/12

Ray SchmittBY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors

The Greenville Road Warriors played through a busy week last week with four games in five days. This week won’t give much reprieve with Greenville heading to southwest Florida for three games in four days against the Florida Everblades.

Record: 23-16-2, 48 pts., 3rd place South Division

Leaders:
Goals – Marc-Olivier Vallerand: 22
Assists – Justin Bowers: 37
Points – Justin Bowers: 48
+/- – #Brendan Connolly; T.J. Reynolds: +9; +7
PIMs – T.J. Reynolds: 144
PPG – Jeff Prough/Marc-Olivier Vallerand: 8
SHG – Brendan Connolly/Marc-Olivier Vallerand/Jeremy Gouchie: 1
Wins Nic Riopel: 11
GAA – Bryan Hince: 1.59
SVP – Bryan Hince: .940

# = Not on active roster.

Previewing the Upcoming Week:

1/25, 1/26, & 1/28 at Florida – 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m., & 7:00 p.m.

Home vs. FLA 3-2-1, Away vs. FLA 1-1-0

This week’s road trip to Estero will finish the season series between the Road Warriors and Everblades. With 11 games between the clubs, the Everblades are the Road Warriors’ least common divisional opponent. Greenville hasn’t been to Florida since a pair of games on November 18 and 19 which were split with a 5-2 Greenville win (11/18) and a 5-0 Florida triumph (11/19). Historically, the Road Warriors have had success at Germain Arena and have a 6-2-2 record there since joining the league for the 2010-11 season. The Everblades enter the week having lost three straight games, all on the road, against South Division opponents. At Germain, though, they have won five straight dating back to December 22. On the flip side, the Road Warriors have won two in a row entering the week, but have lost four in a row on the road since beating the Walleye in Toledo on January 7.

Day-by-Day Schedule:

1/23/12 – Off

“Between the Pipes” radio show at Ford’s Oyster House and Cajun Kitchen, 7:00 p.m.

Team departs for Florida, 11:00 p.m.

1/24/12

Practice at Germain Arena, 11:30 a.m.

1/25/12

Pre-game skate at Germain Arena, 11:00 a.m.

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

1/26/12

Pre-game skate at Germain Arena, 11:00 a.m.

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

1/27/12

Practice TBD

1/28/12

Pre-game skate at Germain Arena, 11:00 a.m.

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

1/29/12 – Off

^ = Game rescheduled from January 27 due to concert at Germain Arena on that date.

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

Recapping Last Week:

1/16 at Gwinnett: L 2-3

Box Score

Facing a 3-0 deficit after the third period was 14 seconds old, the Greenville Road Warriors mounted a furious comeback effort against the Gladiators on Monday. Jyri Niemi netted his second goal of the season 3:01 after Gwinnett had stretched its lead to three, then Marc-Olivier Vallerand followed with a goal 3:04 after Niemi’s and pulled Greenville within one. The Road Warriors had three straight power plays after Vallerand’s goal but could not send home the tying score and the Gladiators claimed the one-goal victory.

1/20 at South Carolina: L 1-4

Box Score

Nic Riopel made his first start for Greenville since December, 29 but he couldn’t stem the Stingrays’ attack that provided two goals in each the first and third periods. The Road Warriors offense was limited to 24 shots in the game, but did manage a number of quality chances against goalie Daren Machesney. Justin Bowers had tied the game at one at 12:13 of the first period and nearly gave the Road Warriors a lead on the power play minutes later, but his shot missed an open net over the crossbar. David de Kastrozza scored shorthanded just over two minutes after Bowers’ goal and it proved to be the game winner.

1/21 vs. Gwinnett: W 4-2

Box Score

Greenville’s power play was in full effect on Saturday night as a 3-for-7 effort with the advantage paved the way to the win. Justin Bowers had a huge night with two power play goals and an assist on Jeff Prough’s power play strike that iced the game just over halfway through the third. Gwinnett kept things tight by tying the game at one in the second and drawing within one in the third, but the Road Warriors did not relent on the attack. Along with Bowers, Jeff Prough (1G, 1A) and Marc-Olivier Vallerand (2A) had multi-point efforts.

1/22 vs. Gwinnett: W(OT) 5-4

Box Score

After Sean Berkstresser had given the Road Warriors a 4-2 lead with 4:26 left in the third period it looked like they would skate away with another regulation. Gwinnett had other ideas, though, and scored twice in the final 4:18 of regulation to force overtime. Fifty-seven seconds in Cullen Eddy was whistled for a penalty and Gwinnett had a golden chance to end it. Greenville, though, generated the best scoring chances with a breakaway by Jyri Niemi and a penalty shot from Marc-Olivier Vallerand. Vallerand, who was trying to complete a hat trick, had his shot blockered away by goalie Jeff Jakaitis and overtime marched on. Once back at full strength, the Road Warriors’ third breakaway of overtime produced the winner. Connor Shields took an outlet pass from Jeff Prough, raced in behind the defense, and lifted a wrist shot past Jakaitis with 25 seconds left in the extra session.

Quick Hits:

* Justin Bowers is nominated for ECHL Player of the Week honors. He had three goals and three assists, including two power play goals and a game-winning goal, this week to take over the Road Warriors’ point lead with 48. He leads the ECHL with 37 assists.

* Goalie Nic Riopel has earned a 9-2-2 career record against the Everblades. He is 3-1-0 against Florida this season but lost his most recent start against the ‘Blades, a 3-1 setback, on December 29, 2011. For his career, Riopel is 4-1-1 at Germain Arena and has won his lone start there this season on November 18, 2011.

* The Road Warriors are in the midst of a stretch where they play 13 straight games against South Division opponents. After seven games of that span they are 4-3-0 with all four wins coming at home and the three losses on the road. For the season the Road Warriors are 13-2-1 at home against the South and 3-6-0 on the road.

* Greenville enters this week with the best road power play in the ECHL at 23.6 percent, and third best power play overall at 21.4 percent. Greenville is 5-for-29 on the power play in its last five road games. The Road Warriors will go up against a Florida penalty kill that ranks 16th (79.7 percent) overall and 16th (79.7 percent) at home.

* Forward Jeff Prough snapped a 10-game goal drought with his power play score on January 21 vs. Gwinnett. It was the longest such stretch of his career in the ECHL. Prough did have four assists over that 10-game stretch and is currently working on a four-game assist streak (7A).

Upcoming Events:

Thursday, Feb. 9: Road Warriors vs. Kalamazoo Wings, 7:35 p.m. – Throwback Thursday. Come join the Road Warriors for $2 draft beers, fountain drinks, hot dogs, and pretzels! Also, college students can get in for just $6 with a valid college ID. Throwback Thursdays are sponsored by WSSL 100.5, The Greenville News, and New Rock 93.3.

Saturday, Feb. 11: Road Warriors vs. Kalamazoo Wings, 7:05 p.m. – Scout Night. Calling all Scouts in the Upstate! The Road Warriors are offering special group prices and a cool Road Warriors Scout Patch for those who come out to the game against Kalamazoo.

Sunday, Feb. 12: Road Warriors vs. Chicago Express, 4:05 p.m. – Family Fun Day. All children 12 and under can get a ticket for just $5. Stick around after the game to Skate With the Road Warriors. Anyone with a ticket can attend the post-game skate and if you don’t have your own skates you can rent a pair for $3.

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