BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors used some timely goal scoring and solid defense to pick up a 3-1 win over South Carolina on Friday night. The win improved Greenville’s record to 37-21-4 for the season.
In his first regular season game with the Road Warriors since January 17, 2011 Chris McKelvie made a rousing return to the blue and white. In the first shift of the game McKelvie took a drop pass from Justin Bowers on the left wing and laced a wrist shot past South Carolina’s Philipp Grubauer for a 1-0 advantage. The goal came just 24 seconds into the contest on Greenville’s first shot of the game. The Road Warriors had a chance to extend the lead shortly after that with their first power play of the night, but could not cash in. The Stingrays then got the next three power plays in a row but Jason Missiaen was up to task on each of the four shots he faced in the frame to keep the Road Warriors in control.
At the onset of the second period South Carolina was bringing the heat in a big way. The ‘Rays equaled their shot total from the first period in just the first four minutes of the stanza. But Missiaen answered the bell each time and made McKelvie’s early goal stand up. At one point South Carolina had earned four consecutive power plays but failed to convert any into a goal. With the killers holding the fort, the Road Warriors were then rewarded with three straight man advantages of their own. It took nearly the entire period for them to cash in, but patience proved to be a virtue. With just eight seconds left in the period Jeff Caister put his former team down by a pair with his third goal of the season. Bowers and Jyri Niemi set up the score.
South Carolina refused to go away quietly in the third period and got a late power play goal to answer the Road Warriors’ man-up goal from the second period. After a hard point shot by Zach Tarkir was turned away by Missiaen a net-front scramble ensued for control of the rebound. With the manpower advantage the ‘Rays outmanned Greenville’s defense and Derek Keller spiked the puck home to make it 2-1 with 4:35 to play. South Carolina continued the surge through the waning moments of the third, but with Grubauer pulled for the extra attacker Brandon Wong stole a puck and the point and raced in for an uncontested empty-net goal.
Missiaen made 18 saves in picking up the victory. The Road Warriors were 1-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return to the BI-LO Center for their next home game on Sunday, March 18 at 4:05 p.m. against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Join the Road Warriors for Family Fun Day. Any child 12 years old or younger can get a seat anywhere in the building for just $5! Following the game come down to the ice for a post-game skate with the Road Warriors players, it’s free to anyone who has a ticket to the game. Skates are also available to rent. There are discounted tickets and preferred seating based on availability for any group of 10 or more that books in advance. Call 864-674-PUCK (7825) to book your group outing. Visit Greenvilleroadwarriors.com for more information.