BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
After earning six of a possible eight standings points in their four games last week the Greenville Road Warriors embark on another busy week this week. The slate is highlighted by a showdown with the division leading Gwinnett Gladiators on Tuesday.
Record: 29-18-3, 61 pts., 2nd place South Division
Goals – Marc-Olivier Vallerand: 24
Assists – Justin Bowers: 44
Points – Justin Bowers: 58
+/- – Brendan Connolly: +12
PIMs – T.J. Reynolds: 154
PPG – Marc-Olivier Vallerand/Jeff Prough: 9
SHG – Brendan Connolly/Marc-Olivier Vallerand/Jeremy Gouchie: 1
Wins – Nic Riopel: 13
GAA – Nic Riopel: 2.93
SV% – Nic Riopel: .910
Previewing the Upcoming Week:
2/14 vs. Gwinnett – 7:35 p.m., Home vs. GWT 5-0-0, Away vs. GWT 1-4-1
So far this season the Road Warriors are the only team in the Battle of I-85 to win in the other team’s building. They’ll try to keep that going on Tuesday as they welcome the Gladiators to Greenville for the sixth time this season. The Road Warriors (7-2-1) and Gladiators (7-1-2) enter this week as two of the hottest teams in the entire ECHL over the last ten games. Only Ontario (8-1-1) has won more games in its last 10 than the two South Division Rivals. Tuesday’s game starts a seven-game road swing for Gwinnett after playing eight straight home games and going 7-0-1. The Road Warriors, meanwhile, will be playing their fourth game of a six-game home stand (2-1-0).
2/17 & 2/19 vs. Toledo – 7:35 p.m. & 4:05 p.m., Home vs. TOL 1-0-0, Away vs. TOL 2-0-0
The Walleye enter this week one of three teams within at least four points of the eighth, and final, playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. In a desperate push to climb the standings, the Walleye have won four straight games and will carry that streak with them to the BI-LO Center. The Road Warriors have already won the season series between the clubs by winning the first three of five meetings with Toledo and will try to finish off the sweep this week. The Road Warriors will have to contend with Toledo goalie Alec Richards who has gone 4-0-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage since being sent down from Rockford of the American Hockey League.
2/13/12 – * Optional Practice/Off-ice Workout at BI-LO Center/Sportsclub, 10:00 a.m.
“Between the Pipes” radio show at Ford’s Oyster House and Cajun Kitchen, 7:00 p.m.
2/14/12 – * Pre-game skate at BI-LO Center, 10:00 a.m.
Road Warriors vs. Gwinnett, 7:35 p.m.
2/15/12 – * Practice at BI-LO Center, 10:00 a.m.
2/16/12 – * Practice at BI-LO Center, 10:00 a.m.
2/17/12 – * Pre-game skate at BI-LO Center, 10:00 a.m.
Road Warriors vs. Toledo, 7:35 p.m.
2/18/12 – Off
2/19/12 – Road Warriors vs. Toledo, 4:05 p.m.
* 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:
2/7 at South Carolina: W 4-1
Greenville’s power play was a force to be reckoned with on Tuesday night as it converted three of five opportunities to pave the way to the win over South Carolina. Defenseman Lee Baldwin had a career night with an assist on each of the three power play goals. Jeff Prough (1G, 1A), Jeremy Gouchie (1G, 1A), and Brett Robinson (1G, 1A) also had two point nights with all their scoring coming on the power play. For Prough, his power play goal tied him with Marc-Olivier Vallerand for the team lead with nine. For Gouchie, it was his first multi-point game since getting three (2G, 1A) against Florida on October 29, 2011. Jason Missiaen stopped 36 shots in earning the win.
2/9 vs. Kalamazoo: L 2-7
The Road Warriors were given a taste of their own medicine on Thursday night as Kalamazoo notched three power play goals in four chances and skated to the win in Greenville. After a scoreless first period, the Wings tallied five times in the second and had the Road Warriors on their heels with goals coming in bunches. The first two were scored 1:11 apart as Greenville fell behind 2-0 and then, after Bretton Cameron drew Greenville within one, the Wings scored 46 seconds apart to claim a 4-1 lead. Trailing by 5-2 heading into the third, the Road Warriors were unable to muster a comeback and the Wings tallied two extra goals to salt away the victory. Jason Missiaen played the entire game and stopped 25 shots in shouldering the loss.
2/11 vs. Kalamazoo: W 5-2
With revenge on their minds, the Road Warriors hit the ground running and raced out to a 5-2 advantage in the first period. The five goals tied the high water mark in the league for goals in a period this season. After being held off the scoresheet the game before, Lee Baldwin got back to putting up points in bunches by scoring one and setting up two others to match his career high for points in a game. Baldwin wasn’t the only defenseman chipping in, though, as Jeff Caister posted two points (1G, 1A) and scored what turned out to be the game winning goal – his first of the season. With the Wings trying to close the gap, goalie Jason Missiaen faced 22 shots over the final two periods, but could not be beat as he helped lead Greenville to the win.
2/12 vs. Chicago: OTW 7-6
Chicago’s first ever visit to the BI-LO Center proved to be a memorable one as they engaged the Road Warriors in a wild back-and-forth affair that ended with Greenville picking up a dramatic victory. Greenville held a 2-1 lead after one on goals by Brendan Connolly and Marc-Olivier Vallerand, but Chicago scored three goals in a span of 2:27 in the second period to lead 4-3 heading into the third. The game became a punch/counter-punch affair from there as Greenville scored twice in the first 4:04 of the frame to lead 5-4, but Chicago roared back with two goals in a span of 1:02 and reclaimed a one-goal advantage. Connolly got the last word in regulation with the tying goal at the 8:38 mark and the game eventually went to overtime. After killing off a penalty at the start of the extra session, the Road Warriors set to work looking for the winning goal and found it courtesy of Jyri Niemi with 37 seconds left in overtime. Goalie Jason Missiaen’s 11th win of the season came on the back of 34 saves.
* Brendan Connolly is nominated for ECHL Player of the Week honors after earning seven points (3G, 4A) in three games this week. He scored in each of his three games after returning from the AHL’s Texas Stars and tied his own club record with a 12-game point streak (9G, 12A).
* Greenville’s defensive corps was a big part of the offensive effort last week. Jyri Niemi, Wes Cunningham, Lee Baldwin, Jeff Caister, Francis Meilleur, and T.J. Reynolds combined for three goals, 12 assists, and a +4 rating. Baldwin was the leading scorer of the group with six points (1G, 5A) while Caister (1G, 3A) and Cunningham (4A) were right behind.
* Brendan Connolly’s four point (2G, 2A) game against Chicago on Sunday made the Road Warriors one of just two teams in the ECHL with two skaters in the top ten in scoring. Connolly (50 pts; 23G, 27A) ranks seventh while Justin Bowers is third (58 pts; 14G, 44A). Las Vegas has the top two scorers in Eric Lampe (60) and Adam Miller (59).
* Goalie Jason Missiaen has started each of Greenville’s six games in February which has given him the longest stretch of consecutive starts in his pro career. He is 3-2-1 over that span with a 3.42 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage.
* In winning two of three home games last week, the Road Warriors improved their win percentage at the BI-LO Center to .680. That ranks third in the Eastern Conference and sixth in the entire ECHL. Their 76 goals scored at home are fourth most in the conference.
Tuesday, Feb. 14: Road Warriors vs. Gwinnett Gladiators, 7:35 p.m. – Singles Night. Celebrate your independence with the Road Warriors on Tuesday night. You can take advantage of the Two For Tuesday offer presented by BI-LO where you can get a free ticket with the purchase of another ticket of equal value when you show your BI-LO BONUSCARD at the ticket office window. Also, as part of the festivities select Road Warriors players will be auctioned off after the game with the winning bidders getting dinner with their favorite Road Warrior.
Friday, Feb. 17: Road Warriors vs. Toledo Walleye, 7:35 p.m. – Warriors For Your Cause. Get your group of 10 or more together for Friday’s game and book your tickets in advance! When you purchase group tickets to Friday’s game $2 from every ticket you purchase will be donated to a charity of your choice. The Road Warriors will also offer the Spinx Family Four-Pack which gets your four tickets, four hot dogs, four bags of chips, and four fountain drinks for just $48!
Sunday, Feb. 19: Road Warriors vs. Toledo Walley, 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.