BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors finished off their six-game home stand by picking up a standings point, but ultimately fell 2-1 to the Toledo Walleye in overtime on Sunday at the BI-LO Center. The defeat dropped Greenville to 31-18-4 on the season.
In the first period of Sunday’s game it was an unlikely source netting the first goal of the game to lift the Road Warriors to the 1-0 advantage. With Sean Berkstresser serving a fighting major, Brent Cornelius, a natural defenseman, was pressed into duty for a pair of shifts as a forward. On his second time out, Jeremy Gouchie hit him with a clean pass on the left wing and Cornelius slipped it past Alec Richards for his first professional goal. The Road Warriors received 10 saves from B.J. O’Brien, called up today from Louisiana of the Southern Professional Hockey League, to maintain the one-goal lead after one.
The second period was a defensive struggle as the defense and goaltenders clamped down. The Road Warriors were held to seven shots in the frame while Toledo was credited with 12. The Walleye generated more quality chances in the frame, but the best two didn’t even register as shots on goal. Todd Griffith hit the post from low on the left wing early in the frame, and just before the midway point, Bryan Rufenach hit iron with a shot from the blue line. Greenville wasn’t without its chances in the period, but even an early power play could not produce a shot that beat Richards.
Greenville’s defense tried to keep the lead in tact in the third period, but Toledo’s pressure finally put one past O’Brien. Joey Martin collected a loose puck at center and took off on a breakaway. The goal at 10:40 evened the score at one and would eventually continue a Sunday tradition for the Road Warriors. It was the third straight Sunday game to go to overtime. With 2:52 left in the extra session, Harrison Reed was hit with a roughing minor that gave Greenville a 4-on-3 power play. But the Walleye penalty kill prevented the winning score and Kyle Page rewarded their efforts with a breakaway goal of his own with six seconds left in the extra session.
O’Brien sustained the loss while making 34 saves in his ECHL debut. Greenville was 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.