BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
The Greenville Road Warriors were defeated by the South Carolina Stingrays 3-2 in their final home game of the regular season on Friday night. The loss left Greenville’s record at 42-24-6 on the season.
Greenville got off to a lightning-quick start in the first period with Jeremy Gouchie scoring his sixth goal of the season on the game’s first shift. Jason Wilson centered a puck out of the right wing corner as he was falling down and Gouchie quickly snapped a shot past Daren Machesney. Chris McKelvie also helped set up the goal 31 seconds into the game. South Carolina responded with a power play goal from Maxime Lacroix that took a review from the officials to determine whether the puck fully crossed the line. The goal stood, but the game didn’t remain tied for long. Marc-Olivier Vallerand sizzled a one-timer past Machesney 5:12 after Lacroix’s strike to restore Greenville’s lead. The 5-on-3 tally was assisted by Justin Bowers and Blake Parlett. Nic Riopel stopped 12 Stingray shots in the first to keep Greenville in front.
In the second period South Carolina put its offense in gear and out-shot Greenville 15-7 in the stanza. Riopel was strong with 14 saves, but Daniel Koger slipped a shot past him 90 seconds in to tie the score at two. Stingrays goalie Darren Machesney was making his first start since January 28 against Trenton, a 25-game absence, and he thwarted each shot he faced from Greenville in the second. The teams headed into the third with the score deadlocked at two.
The teams were more evenly matched in the third period and shots were dead even at 10 a side. Lacroix had the difference maker, though, as he picked up his second of the game at the 13:38 mark. It came as a result of South Carolina foiling a Greenville breakout attempt and a flip pass by Daniel Koger that put Lacroix in behind the defense. Greenville battled for the tying goal throughout the final minutes of the stanza, but even with Riopel pulled for the extra attacker couldn’t find the tying score.
Riopel suffered the loss while making 35 saves on the night. Greenville was 1-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Get ready for the Road Warriors’ run to the Kelly Cup! Greenville’s first home game of the opening round is Friday, April 6 at 7:35 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. 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. Discounted tickets and preferred seating based on availability are also available for groups of 10 or more. Call 864-674-PUCK (7825) to get your 2012 Kelly Cup Playoffs tickets reserved today!