BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors were unable to pick up their first win of the season against an Atlantic Division foe on Wednesday night as they fell to the Elmira Jackals by a 5-3 score. The loss dropped Greenville’s record to 31-19-4 on the season.
Greenville’s league-leading power play was on display for all to see in the first period on Wednesday. In the early stages, with Wacey Hamilton serving a slashing minor, Sean Berkstresser connected for his sixth goal of the season. The score came with assists from Justin Bowers and Jeff Prough just eight seconds into the advantage. The Road Warriors‘ showed their strength on the penalty kill to protect the lead when Jason Wilson was whistled for cross checking at 13:18. Not long after that penalty expired, Wilson helped to set up Jyri Niemi’s seventh goal of the season, with Greenville on the power play, to extend the lead to 2-0. Jason Missiaen turned in six saves during the first 20 minutes, while former Road Warriors goalie Brian Stewart faced 14 shots from his old club.
In the second period the Road Warriors found themselves in penalty trouble for much of the frame and didn’t get a chance to do any work offensively. Elmira out-shot Greenville 21-4 in the stanza and scored once to cut Greenville’s lead in half. The Road Warriors did not allow a power play goal, but after killing off the final Elmira advantage of the frame, they couldn’t get a whistle to sort out the line combination and defensive pairing. Elmira’s Rob Bellamy got lost behind the defense while coming onto the ice on a line change and chipped a shot past Missiaen at 17:46.
The Road Warriors couldn’t find their third period magic on Wednesday night as Elmira scored four times in the last frame to put the game out of their reach. The Jackals tied it 2:21 into the third with John Kurtz creating a turnover in the Greenville zone and lifting a shot past Missiaen. Niemi restored Greenville’s lead at 3-2 with his second of the night just past the midway point of the stanza. The lead didn’t stand up, though, because Bellamy potted his second of the night just over three minutes after Niemi’s tally. Jordan Pietrus netted the eventual winner with 1:26 left on a power play goal and Jean Bourbeau potted an empty netter for insurance.
Missiaen stopped 36 shots in his return to the lineup after a brief call up to the Connecticut Whale. Greenville was 2-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home on Friday, March 2, 2012 to take on the South Carolina Stingrays at 7:35. Join the Road Warriors for their second-annual Pink in the Rink presented by Greenville Hospital System to benefit the Mary Kay Foundation. The Road Warriors will be wearing pink-themed jerseys, skating on pink ice, and doing much more to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Book your group of 10 or more in advance to get discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Call 864-674-PUCK (7825) to book your group outing. Also, please note that the Road Warriors game scheduled for March 1 has been moved to Saturday, March 3 at 7:05 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. Visit Greenvilleroadwarriors.com for more information.