Warriors Hold on for 4-3 Victory over Gwinnett
Greenville, SC - The Greenville Road Warriors (36-29-4), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, jumped out to an early three-goal lead on Friday, but were forced to battle hard down the stretch to preserve a 4-3 victory over the Gwinnett Gladiators (19-44-6) at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Bretton Cameron, Emerson Clark, Dallas Jackson and Sam Noreau each scored in the winning effort, while Jason Missiaen (16-15-3) stopped 27 shots between the pipes.
With the victory, Greenville closed to within four points of Orlando for the final playoff spot in the East Division with just three games left in the regular season. The Solar Bears notched one point on Friday following an overtime loss to South Carolina.
For the second night in a row, the Road Warriors struck first in the opening frame as Clark netted his 16th goal of the season at the 6:32 mark. Paul Rodrigues began the attack on the right side when he collected the puck and circled behind the net before hitting Clark in the slot for a one-time finish.
The Road Warriors extended their lead a little more than six minutes later when Ryan Hegarty guided a pass to the right point, where Noreau stepped up and sent a perfectly placed wrist shot past the right leg pad of goaltender Mike Lee. It was Noreau's second goal of the season and first since November 23rd.
Jackson made it 3-0 at 15:57 of the first period with his third goal of the season to complete a tic-tac-toe play. Michael St. Croix found Thomas Frazee at the bottom of the right circle, who quickly pushed a backhand pass to Jackson at the left post for a slam dunk.
The Gladiators jumped on the board for the first time in the final half-minute of the opening frame courtesy of former Road Warriors' forward Jason Wilson. At the 19:32 mark, Tyler Murovich helped the puck to Wilson in the slot, who beat Missiaen for the first time in the game.
Following a scoreless second period, the Road Warriors regained their three-goal advantage at 2:33 of the third period courtesy of Cameron and a bad turnover by the Gladiators. From behind the cage, Lee stepped out of his crease to settle the puck and pushed it to the right corner, but Cameron forced it free and banked a shot off a body in front to find an open net. It was Cameron's fifth goal of the season.
Gwinnett rallied less than two minutes later when Tyler Shiplo scored his first professional goal to cut the deficit to one. Justin Buzzeo dug the puck out of the left corner and filtered a pass to Shiplo, who walked through the slot and beat Missiaen on a forehand shot at 4:17.
Gladiators' head coach Andy Brandt emptied his net with just under two minutes to play and was rewarded at 18:46 of the third period when Mike Merrifield snuck a low shot past Missiaen from the slot with several bodies in front. Despite the momentum, the Road Warriors held on for the victory.
The game included one fight when Clark and Justin Buzzeo squared off at 13:08 of the third period.
Greenville finished the game 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Lee (3-11-2) stopped 30 shots in the loss.
The Road Warriors outshot Gwinnett 34-30, which marked the ninth straight game that Greenville has outshot its opponent.
Follow: Keep up with the Road Warriors all season long and interact with other fans on the Official Road Warriors Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and Instagram pages.
Next Time Out: The Road Warriors conclude their final three-game series this season with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Gwinnett Gladiators tomorrow in Duluth, Georgia. It will mark the 36th and final road contest for Greenville during the regular season. F ans can listen or watch the game live via ECHL.TV .
For tickets or more information, please call a Road Warriors Account Executive at 864-674-PUCK or visit GreenvilleRoadWarriors.com/tickets-overview.html
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Greenville Road Warriors vs. Gwinnett Gladiators
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