Ray SchmittBY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors

The Greenville Road Warriors earned five of a possible eight standings points last week and are now just two away from the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They will try to ascend to those heights this week with a trio of games on the slate.

Record: 38-21-5, 81 pts., 2nd place South Division


  • Goals – #Marc-Olivier Vallerand/Brandon Wong: 27/24
  • AssistsJustin Bowers: 56
  • Points – Justin Bowers: 74
  • +/- – #Brendan Connolly/Brandon Wong: +18/+16
  • PIMs – T.J. Reynolds: 177
  • PPG – #Marc-Olivier Vallerand/#Jeff Prough/Brett Robinson: 9/8
  • SHG – Brendan Connolly/#Marc-Olivier Vallerand/Jeremy Gouchie: 1
  • Wins – Jason Missiaen: 20
  • GAA – Jason Missiaen: 2.82
  • SVP – Jason Missiaen: .912
  • # = Not on current roster

Previewing the Upcoming Week:

3/16 at S.Carolina – 7:05 p.m., Hm vs. S.C. 6-0-0, Away vs. SC 4-2-0

  • The Road Warriors have swayed control in the Battle of the Palmetto State in their favor by winning four straight, including three on the road, against the South Carolina Stingrays. Last week Greenville edged out the Stingrays for a pair of wins at the North Charleston Coliseum. The 3-1 win on Friday night was the Road Warriors’ ninth in the season series (16 total games) and gave them the win in the season series for the second straight season. Friday’s game will be the fourth of seven between the Road Warriors and Stingrays in the month of March.

3/17 at Gwinnett – 7:05 p.m., Home vs. GWT 6-1-0, Away vs. GWT 1-4-2

  • The Road Warriors had their winless streak at the Arena at Gwinnett Center hit five (0-3-2) when they suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Gladiators last Sunday. The Road Warriors have been extremely close to taking down the Gladiators over the losing skid but can’t quite get over the hump. Of the five losses, four of them have been by one goal, and the Road Warriors haven’t given up more than three goals in regulation in any of the losses. Saturday will be the Road Warriors’ last chance to end the skid because it’s the final trip to Gwinnett. The final two games of the Battle of I-85 will be played in Greenville, where the Road Warriors have won six of seven, on March 23 and 24.

3/18 vs. Cincinnati – 4:05 p.m., Home vs. CIN 0-0-0, Away vs. CIN 2-2-0

  • The Road Warriors and Cyclones will engage in the finale of their entertaining season series with a Sunday matinee in Greenville. Three of the previous four meetings have been decided by a goal, one via a shootout, and in every game the team that surrendered the first goal battle back to forge a tie during regulation. Sunday is Cincinnati’s lone visit to the BI-LO Center after playing three games here last season. Greenville went 2-1-0 in those games including a 5-0 triumph on March 18, 2011. It will be Greenville’s first game at home after playing five straight on the road from March 9 to March 17, 2012. Cincinnati, meanwhile, will close out an eight-game road trip with the game.

Day-by-Day Schedule:

3/12/12 – Off

  • “Between the Pipes” radio show at Ford’s Oyster House and Cajun Kitchen, 7:00 p.m.

3/13/12 – Off

3/14/12 – * Practice at The Pavilion, 9:30 a.m.

  • Shannon Forrest Christian School Kickoff Party – 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

3/15/12 – * Practice at The Pavilion, 9:30 a.m.

3/16/12 – * Pre-game skate TBD

  • Depart for North Charleston, 1:30 p.m.
  • Road Warriors at South Carolina, 7:05 p.m.

3/17/12 – * Pre-game skate TBD

  • Depart for Gwinnett, 2:45 p.m.
  • Road Warriors at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.

3/18/12 – Road Warriors vs. Cincinnati, 4:05 p.m.

  • Denotes an appearance/event that is not open to the general public. The Road Warriors’ schedule is subject to change.

Road Warriors Broadcast Information

  • All Greenville Road Warriors games are broadcast live online courtesy of America One.  Listen free to every game by clicking on the “Listen Live” link on the Road Warriors’ home page – The Road Warriors Pre-Game Show kicks off every broadcast 15 minutes prior to faceoff.

Recapping Last Week:

3/6 vs. Gwinnett: L 1-3

Box Score

  • With first place in the Eastern Conference on the line the Road Warriors were able to take an early first period lead thanks to a power play goal by Blake Parlett. It was the defenseman’s first goal in seven games after being reassigned to the club from Connecticut of the American Hockey League. Goalie Jason Missiaen made the lead stand up through two periods with 21 saves, but in the third the momentum pendulum swung in Gwinnett’s favor. Bryan Brutlag tied the game with a power play goal just over four minutes into the frame and was followed by Andy Brandt and Dallas Jackson markers. Despite 12 shots in the third period against rookie goalie Ryan Zapolski the Road Warriors were unable to dent the back of the net again.

3/9 at South Carolina: W 3-1

Box Score

  • The Road Warriors picked up a hard-fought win on Friday night in North Charleston and used the win to pick up a game in hand, along with two points, over the idle Gladiators. In his first game of the season with Greenville Chris McKelvie snapped a shot past Philipp Grubauer 24 seconds into the game and gave Greenville a lead it would not relinquish. Former Stingray Jeff Caister padded the lead to two with a power play goal at 19:52 of the second period. It turned out to be the game winner because South Carolina’s Derek Keller punched a goal past Jason Missaien late in the third to trim Greenville’s lead to one. But Brandon Wong responded with an empty net goal to salt away the win.

3/10 at South Carolina: SOW 3-2

Box Score

  • Greenville finished off its pair of games against South Carolina with a flourish as the Road Warriors captured a dramatic shootout victory. The Road Warriors gained a 2-0 advantage on first-period goals by Brandon Wong and Tim Coffman. For the second straight game Greenville scored on its first shot of the game, but this time around Wong didn’t register it until 3:43 had run off the clock. The Road Warriors held South Carolina without a shot for the first 9:38 but, just like them, the Stingrays scored on that to trim the deficit to one. Billy Ryan scored the equalizer for South Carolina just over 14 minutes into the second, but neither team found the net again in the third or overtime. Ryan scored again in the shootout but Jason Missiaen blanked the next four shooters. Wong and Kale Kerbashian scored for Greenville to pave the way to the win.

3/11 at Gwinnett: SOL 3-4

Box Score

  • It was their second-straight game going into a shootout, but the second time around wasn’t as sweet for the Road Warriors. They battled back from an early 1-0 deficit to grab a 2-1 lead after one thanks to goals by Bretton Cameron and Brett Robinson. Nic Riopel made his first start since January 28 and stopped eight of the nine shots he saw in the first to ensure the lead. In the second Gwinnett scored a pair of goals, including one on a power play, to briefly take a 3-2 lead before Sean Berkstresser potted his 10th of the season to tie it. Despite a 13-6 shot advantage over the third period and overtime the Road Warriors could not put any more pucks past Marc Cheverie. It remained the same in the shootout as Justin Bowers, Brandon Wong, Kale Kerbashian, and Robinson were all stonewalled while Nikita Kashirsky and Justin Milo scored on Riopel.

Quick Hits:

  • Brandon Wong has scored at least one point in 16 of the last 20 games he has played in. That run has pushed him to a career-best in goals (24), assists (28) and points (52). Brandon is now two points away from 100 in his Road Warriors career. He would join Justin Bowers (126), Brendan Connolly (105), and Marc-Olivier Vallerand (103) in the 100 point club.
  • Justin Bowers leads the ECHL with 56 assists and is second in points with 74. He has recorded an assist in five of the six games Greenville has played in February. He also needs just five more goals to tie his career-best 23 from the 2009-10 season with Allen of the Central Hockey League.
  • Brett Robinson became the fourth Road Warriors player to reach 20 goals on the season with his score on March 11 at Gwinnett. Greenville is tied with Ontario for the most players (active and inactive combined) with 20 or more goals scored. Last season Greenville had four players reach 20 or more goals and finished with the second most goals in the league – 255.
  • Greenville has a magic number of five to clinch a Kelly Cup Playoffs berth entering this week’s play. The maximum points ninth place Reading can earn is 85 so by subtracting Greenville’s 81 points and adding one you get Greenville’s magic number. Greenville’s magic number is reduced any time the ninth place team loses in regulation and the Road Warriors win or lose in overtime/shootout, or when the ninth place team loses in overtime/shootout and Greenville wins in regulation.
  • Greenville carries the league’s best power play on the road at 26.4 percent. The Road Warriors’ 37 road power play goals are also tops in the league. They have scored at least one power play goal in each of their last five games since being shut out in Reading on February 25.

Upcoming Events:

  • Sunday, March 18: Road Warriors vs. Cincinnati, 4:05 p.m. – Family Day. It’s the final Sunday home game of the season so don’t miss the last post-game skate with the Road Warriors after the game. Anyone with a ticket can skate for free after the game and skates are available to rent. On Family Day, children 12 years old and younger can get a ticket for $5 anywhere in the arena.
  • Friday, March 23: Road Warriors vs. Gwinnett, 7:35 p.m. – Spinx Family Four-Pack. Round up the family and save on a night at the game with the Spinx Family Four-Pack. With it you get four tickets, four hot dogs, four fountain drinks, and four bags of chips for just $48.
  • Saturday, March 24: Road Warriors vs. Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m. – Pucks and Paws presented by Cleveland Park Animal Hospital and Upstate Veterinary Specialists. The BI-LO Center will be going to the dogs on March 24! Fans can bring their dogs with them to the game to enjoy the Dog Fun Zone, take part in the cutest dog contest, and more. Also, call in advance to enter your dog in the small dog derby that will take place at intermission.

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