BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
Behind a hat trick from Brandon Wong the Greenville Road Warriors defeated the Cincinnati Cyclones 5-1 at the BI-LO Center on Sunday afternoon. The win was Greenville’s 40th of the season and clinched a second-straight Kelly Cup Playoff berth.
In their previous five home games the Road Warriors had managed to score three power play goals in 16 chances. On Sunday, though, they quickly reversed that trend and cashed in their first power play of the game to take a 1-0 lead. Bretton Cameron netted his fourth goal as a Road Warrior, 12th of the season overall, to lift Greenville in front at 5:11. Wong assisted on the goal and became the fourth Road Warrior, along with Justin Bowers, Marc-Olivier Vallerand, and Brendan Connolly, to net 100 points in his Greenville career. The Road Warriors made the lead stand up by killing off two Cincinnati power plays in the period, including 24 seconds of a 5-on-3. Jason Missiaen faced 17 shots in the frame and stopped each one. Greenville managed to send 21 Chet Pickard‘s way.
Cincinnati gave Greenville three power play opportunities in the second period and the Road Warriors were happy to take advantage and capitalize to extend their lead to 2-0. After setting up Cameron’s strike in the first period, Wong scored his 26th of the season with a high, hard wrister from the right wing circle at 11:47. Sean Berkstresser also picked up his second assist of the game. Cincinnati trimmed the lead when Anthony Luciani pushed a rebound of an Alain Goulet point shot past Missiaen 2:03 after Wong’s goal. The offenses continued to pepper the goaltenders at either end of the ice as Greenville and Cincinnati managed 15 shots on goal a side in the second.
In the third period the Road Warriors quickly wiped out any hopes the Cyclones might have had of a comeback. Chris McKelvie netted his second of the season 4:36 in on a shot from the right wing corner that bounced off of Pickard and in. Wong then stole the show with a pair of shorthanded goals to net his second professional hat trick. The first came on a breakaway at 7:06 and he capped of the scoring at 15:04 by firing a long-range shot into an empty net. With just over five minutes left in the game Cincinnati pulled Pickard for a 6-on-4 skater advantage on the power play. Along with Wong’s four points Cameron (1G, 2A) and Berkstresser (2A) registered multi-point games.
Missiaen turned in a career-high 46 saves in earning the win. Greenville was 2-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors are back at the BI-LO Center for their next home game on Friday, March 23 at 7:35 p.m. against the Gwinnett Gladiators. Come out and take advantage of the Spinx Family Four Pack which features four tickets, four hot dogs, four fountain drinks and four bags of chips for just $48! 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.