BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors turned their season-long second period struggles around on Sunday night and scored three unanswered goals in the middle frame to claim a 3-1 win over the Reading Royals at the Sovereign Center. The win improved Greenville to 33-20-4 on the campaign.
Goaltenders Jason Missiaen and Jussi Rynnas were pitted against one another in a rematch of Saturdays’ 1-0 goaltenders duel. And they picked up right where they left off less than 24 hours earlier. Rynnas stopped 11 Greenville shots in the first period while Missiaen stopped nine for the Road Warriors leaving the game scoreless headed into the second period. Jason Wilson had the best chance to dent the scoreboard in the opening stanza when he was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down on a breakaway. Wilson kept it simple with a wrist shot intended to beat Rynnas through the five-hole but Reading’s goaltender shut the door. Missiaen made a handful of key saves as well, with Reading out-chancing Greenville 3-1 on the power play in the first.
For the 10th straight game, Reading was able to convert first with Denny Urban’s power play goal coming in the first minute of the second period. But it took Greenville just 1:01 a few minutes later to erase the Reading advantage and break Rynnas’ shutout streak. Jeff Prough made a fancy stickhandling move to elude the Royals’ defense and score on a backhand goal at 5:43. Reading’s Dale Mitchell took an unsportsmanlike conduct minor right after the goal and Brandon Wong capitalized on the power play to put Greenville in the lead. Sean Berkstresser padded the advantage to two
The third period was a nail-biter as the Royals received an early goal and pushed the Road Warriors to the limit in an effort to find the tying score. Kyle Neuber scored his first professional goal at 6:10 of the third to pull Reading within one at 3-2. Greenville nearly extended the lead back to two a few minutes later when Tim Kauffman took off on a breakaway after stealing the puck from Yannick Tifu. But Coffman’s shot hit off the crossbar and Rynnas gloved the rebound before any of the Road Warriors could make a play for it. Greenville’s lead was put in jeopardy by a late penalty to Wong for interference and then Reading pulling Rynnas for the extra attacker within the final minute. But behind some big saves by Missiaen and a solid defensive effort, the Road Warriors preserved the lead and the win.
Missiaen turned in 26 saves in picking up his 15th win of the season. Greenville was 2-for-5 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.