BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors capped off a sweep of the Florida Everblades on Saturday night with a 3-2 win at Germain Arena. The win improved Greenville to 26-16-2 on the season and, coupled with an Elmira loss, moved Greenville into the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Justin Bowers had a big hand in Greenville’s early success in the week’s series against the Everblades. He had a goal and two assists on Wednesday and followed that with three assists on Thursday. His hot streak continued with his 13th goal of the season that came with only 53 seconds left in the period. Bowers collected his 25th point of the month with a goal that was set up by T.J. Reynolds and Jeff Prough. Greenville had a 39 second 5-on-3 power play earlier in the period but wasn’t able to convert. Florida also had two power play chances, but five saves by Nic Riopel let Greenville go into the break with the lead.
In the second, Florida’s defense did a better job of limiting the Road Warriors’ chances and notched the only goal of the frame to tie the score. Scott Pitt took a lead pass from David Rutherford on the left wing and sent a wrist shot past Riopel at the 8:20 mark of the second. That was one of 10 shots that Riopel faced in the frame. His counterpart, Pat Nagle, saw six shots from the Road Warriors and stopped each one.
As they had the first two games of the series, the Road Warriors owned the third period on Saturday night and rode a pair of goals to the victory. They came less than two minutes apart from Prough (1G, 2A) and Bowers (2G, 1A) who each earned three points in the game. Prough put the Road Warriors ahead by one at 7:42 with a wrist shot from an impossible angle that beat Nagle. Bowers followed by finishing off an odd-man rush at 9:29 with the eventual game winner. Matt Beca drew Florida within one at 12:14, but Riopel shut the door from there and sealed the victory.
In all Riopel turned in 19 saves in the winning effort. The Road Warriors were 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
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.