BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors suffered a 4-3 setback to the Gwinnett Gladiators on Sunday evening. Greenville earned a standings point for making to overtime, but lost 2-0 in the shootout. The loss dipped Greenville’s record to 38-21-5.
The Road Warriors were playing their third game in as many days on Sunday afternoon and weren’t able to start the game as quickly as they had the two previous nights in North Charleston. Gwinnett grabbed a 1-0 lead on a power play goal 5:54 in from Jonathan Parker. The goal was set up by a point shot from Tyler Kindle that bounced off of T.J. Reynolds and out of the reach of Nic Riopel who made his first start since January 28. Riopel knocked down the rest of the shots he saw in the frame and the Road Warriors’ offense woke up for a pair of goals. Bretton Cameron jammed home a power play goal at 10:15 to tie then Brett Robinson broke it at 11:57 with a breakaway goal set up by Justin Bowers.
Early in the second period Greenville was dealt a setback when Jyri Niemi was whistled for a major penalty for boarding 44 seconds in. Gwinnett’s captain Paul Flache pushed a backhand shot past Riopel one minute into the power play to knot the score at two. The Road Warriors shut down Gwinnett’s power play from there, but moments after Niemi exited the box Gwinnett defenseman Tyler Kindle threw a puck across the slot that banked off of Lee Baldwin and in to put Gwinnett ahead 3-2. The Road Warriors did not wilt when faced with the deficit and Chris McKelvie set up Sean Berkstresser’s 10th goal of the season to tie the score 2:15 after Kindle’s goal.
The third period was a defensive struggle with both clubs finding scoring chances hard to come by. The Gladiators thought they had netted the go-ahead goal early in the stanza when Will Colbert slapped a shot past Riopel right after a faceoff win. The goal was waved off, though, because the Gladiators were ruled to have encroached on the faceoff. Greenville did end up with a nine to five shot advantage in the stanza but could not put one past Marc Chevrie. So with the score knotted at three it went to overtime for the second straight game.
Greenville had a healthy four to one shot advantage in the sudden death session but, again, Chevrie denied all attempts. Riopel also stopped the one shot he faced so it was back to the shootout. This time around the Road Warriors could not hit pay dirt while Nikita Kashirsky and Justin Milo scored for Gwinnett.
Riopel stopped 24 shots in taking the loss. The Road Warriors were 1-for-3 on the power play and 0-for-2 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.