BY: Ray Schmitt, the Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors had a third period lead slip away and they fell to Gwinnett 2-1 in the shootout on Friday night at the BI-LO Center. The 3-2 setback left the Road Warriors‘ record at 40-22-6.
Greenville grabbed the all-important first goal of the game just near the midway point of the first period as a Gwinnett penalty was expiring. Jeff Caister ripped a slap-shot from the left wing that was tipped home by Sean Berkstresser for his 11th goal of the season. The Road Warriors used that goal, a triumphant penalty kill that survived over a minute of a late 5-on-3, and 13 first-period saves by Jason Missiaen to take the lead into the intermission.
The Road Warriors appeared to exorcise some of their second-period demons from earlier in the season as Brandon Wong cashed in a shorthanded goal 2:50 in to lift the Road Warriors to a 2-0 lead. It was Wong’s third shorthanded goal in the last two games, and 29th of the season overall. Greenville couldn’t maintain the advantage, though, as Doug Jones potted a power play goal just under 13 minutes gone by in the stanza. Gwinnett sent a healthy amount of rubber Missiaen’s way but the rookie stopped 11 of the 12 he saw. Gwinnett’ s Marc Cheverie faced five shots from the Road Warriors in the stanza and swatted away four.
The third was an extreme defensive struggle with both teams finding shots hard to come by. Gwinnett continued to chip away at the Greenville defense and finally created a crack when Justin Bowers was sent off for elbowing with 1:59 to play. Gwinnett pulled Cheverie for the extra attacker with about a minute and a half to play and jockeyed for the tying goal. Greenville bled the clock down to the final few seconds and was faced with a defensive zone draw with 25 seconds to go. Gwinnett won the draw and set up a play that was finished off by Joey Haddad for the tying goal with nine seconds left in the game.
After a scoreless overtime and just one shot on goal in the sudden death period the game went to a shootout. It took six shooters to set the final but it was Gwinnett’s Nikita Kashirsky and Tyler Murovich besting Missiaen and only Kale Kerbashian able to squeeze a shot past Cheverie in Greenville’s favor.
Missiaen turned away 30 shots in sustaining the loss. The Road Warriors were 0-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors are back at the BI-LO Center for their next home game on Saturday, March 24 at 7:05 p.m. against the Gwinnett Gladiators. Come out for Pucks and Paws night presented by Cleveland Park Animal Hospitals and Upstate Veterinary Specialists! It’s the Road Warriors annual game where fans can bring their dogs with them to the game, and if you have a small dog under 20 pounds be sure to call 864-250-4765 to register it for the Small Dog Derby. 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.
Get ready for the Road Warriors’ run to the Kelly Cup! Discounted playoff packages are on sale right now. With the playoff packages you can pay as you go throughout the playoffs and tickets start as low as $8.50 per game. Call 864-674-PUCK (7825) to get your 2012 Kelly Cup Playoffs tickets reserved today!