BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors used a late third period and a late overtime goal to skate to a 2-1 comeback win over the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday night. The win improved Greenville to 35-20-4 on the season.
The Road Warriors and Stingrays treated an enthusiastic crowd to a fast-paced and physical first period. Ultimately, it was Jason Missiaen of Greenville and Philipp Grubauer of South Carolina stealing the show as the goaltenders completely shut down the offenses. The Road Warriors had the better of the chances and out-shot the Stingrays 9-7 in the stanza. Justin Bowers had the best chance in the first but his backhand shot from low on the left wing was thwarted by a Grubauer pad save. A few minutes later, Missiaen turned in a sparkling blocker save on South Carolina’s Trent Campbell.
The second period belonged to South Carolina as the ‘Rays pumped 11 shots Missiaen’s way and finally found a way to break through. The goal by Daniel Koger at 5:11 of the frame was South Carolina’s first against Missiaen in over 140 minutes of play between the clubs at the BI-LO Center. Missiaen had shut out South Carolina in its prior two trips to the Upstate. Greenville had some solid chances to tie it after the initial goal, but Bowers had a tipped shot swatted away by Grubauer. South Carolina took the lead into the third which set the stage for a dramatic finish.
Greenville blasted away from the onset of the final stanza but was still having trouble solving Grubauer until the waning moments. After an save and cover up by Grubauer with just under two minutes to play the Road Warriors burned their timeout and pulled Missiaen for the extra attacker. On the draw Bowers punched it forward where Brandon Wong collected the puck just on the edge of the crease, deked to the forehand and found the back of the net. Neither team could lurch ahead in the final minute of regulation so the game went to overtime.
In the sudden death session the Road Warriors found themselves in a bind when Jeremy Gouchie was whistled for tripping with 2:56 to play. Some key saves by Missiean, however, prevented South Carolina from grabbing the extra standings point. Once back at full strength Greenville went on the attack and Bowers finally cashed in for the winning goal with 15 seconds to play.
Missiaen earned the win with 27 saves on the night. Greenville was 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for0
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home on Saturday, March 3, 2012 to take on the Trenton Titans at 7:05 p.m. Join the Road Warriors for Faith and Family Night which features specially discounted tickets for any group from an Upstate church! Call 864-674-PUCK (7825) to book your group outing. Visit Greenvilleroadwarriors.com for more information.