BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors erased a three-goal third period deficit to claim a 4-3 shootout victory over the Florida Everblades at Germain Arena on Thursday night. The win improved Greenville to 25-16-2 on the season.
In the opening frame the Road Warriors generated a number of good scoring chances and out-shot Florida 12-8 but was unable to find the back of the net. Brandon Wong hit the pipe with a deflection of Wes Cunningham‘s point shot, but it hit the post and bounced through the crease behind goalie Pat Nagle. A bit later, Brett Robinson swatted a loose puck on the right side of the net out of mid-air and right across the open goal mouth. That shot could have tied the game because Florida grabbed the 1-0 lead on a 2-on-1 goal by Brayden Irwin. Jason Missiaen made seven stops in the period for the Road Warriors.
The second period belonged to the Everblades, as well, as they took advantage of a pair of Greenville turnovers to widen their lead to three. The first came at 14:10 when Deron Cousens sprung Scott Pitt on a breakaway after stealing a Greenville head-man pass. Pitt’s wrist shot snuck past Missiaen on the blocker side to double Florida’s lead. The Everblades’ second of the frame came with 14 seconds left on the clock after a breakout pass missed Jeremy Gouchie in the middle of the zone. Matt Beca took a pass low on the left wing and one-timed it past Missiaen. Greenville managed 10 shots in the period, but none got behind Nagle.
The Road Warriors only won one of the three periods in regulation, but they won the third period in a big way and gave themselves a chance to pick up the win. The comeback began in earnest when Marc-Olivier Vallerand scored a power play goal at 4:22. Justin Bowers continued his torrid month with his 23rd point in January with the lone assist. Bowers then set up Brett Robinson’s 15th of the campaign at 11:07 as the Road Warriors drew within one. They never let up the pressure, but time started to work against them late in the frame. So with just over a minute to go Missiaen was pulled for the extra attacker and it was Vallerand who found the back of the net for the tying goal with 38 seconds to play. That goal forced overtime, but the Road Warriors were far from out of the woods.
At the end of regulation Greenville was whistled for a too many men on the ice minor and began overtime shorthanded. They were able to kill off the ‘Blades power play but once back at 4-on-4 they couldn’t find the winning goal despite a handful of shots. It took a shootout to decide the winner and the Road Warriors had a brick wall on their side. Missiaen stopped all four Florida shooters while Brandon Wong and Vallerand notched goals for Greenville to win the breakaway contest.
Missiaen stopped 26 shots in his eighth win of the season. Greenville was 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 1-for-3 on the power play.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home on Thursday, February 9, 2012 to take on the Kalamazoo Wings. Join us for a Throwback Thursday presented by WSSL 100.5, The Greenville News and New Rock 93.3. Throwback Thursday feature select draft beers, fountain drinks, hot dogs, and pretzels for just $2, and college students can get in for just $6 with a valid ID. Your group of 10 or more can also get a discount off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability by booking in advance. Call 864-674-PUCK to book your group outing with the Road Warriors.