April 6, 2012 - ECHL (ECHL) - Greenville Swamp Rabbits
GREENVILLE, SC - The Greenville Road Warriors were defeated 3-2 by the Florida Everblades on Friday night at the BI-LO Center. The win gave Florida a 3-0 series win over Greenville.
Florida notched the first goal for the third straight game and used a couple of tallies in quick succession to snag a 2-0 lead. Sebastian Piche scored on a breakaway 1:06 into the game and was followed by Matt Beca wristing home a shot on a 2-on-2 rush at 3:32. The Road Warriors' hole could have been much deeper, but the penalty killing units and goaltending of Nic Riopel kept Florida scoreless in four power play chances. That included over a minute of a 5-on-3 at the end tail end of the stanza.
The Everblades had about 30 seconds of power play time carry over to the start of the second, but couldn't convert on that either. However, just seconds after Jyri Niemi exited the box Beca found a loose puck in the high slot and snapped a shot over Riopel's glove for his second of the night. The goal came just 33 seconds into the session. The Road Warriors pushed back immediately with Jeff Prough netting his first goal of the playoffs 10 seconds after Beca's marker. Prough was loaned to Greenville earlier in the day by the Connecticut Whale and made his playoff debut. The early two-goal exchange was all the offense the second provided as Florida's John Muse stopped nine shots and Riopel thwarted eight.
In the third Brendan Connolly brought the Road Warriors within striking distance with a near identical goal to his tying marker in Game Seven of the second round of 2011 against Wheeling. A low, hard slapshot from high on the left wing eluded Muse and made the score 3-2 with 13:27 left on the clock. Greenville's continued effort to tie the game produced nine shots on goal in the third, but Connolly's marker was the only one. Riopel was pulled for the extra attacker for 46 seconds of play but it wasn't enough time to produce the tying score.
Riopel suffered the loss while making 31 saves. Greenville was 0-for-4 on the power play and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill.
The Road Warriors would like to thank all of the fans who came out to the BI-LO Center this season and supported Road Warriors hockey. The 2011-12 season was a success thanks, in large part, to the dedicated fans who came out to support their team.