Tuesday saw the Greenville Road Warriors as well as Ryan Graves (2013 4th) and his Val-d’Or Foreurs facing key games in their hunt for championships. Both teams got what they needed scoring big wins that greatly helped their chances.
First up at the Memorial Cup in London Ontario, the Val-d’Or Foreurs were facing the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL with the winner advancing directly to Friday night’s semifinals. The loser faced the possibility of having to play in the tie breaker game on Thursday and having to win 3 games in 4 days to win the Memorial Cup.
The Oil Kings got off to a good start jumping out to an early 2-0 lead before the middle of the first period was reached. The Foreurs would finally respond when Ryan Graves would fire a puck from the point which teammate Shawn Ouellette-St-Amant would deflect into the net for the Foreur’s first goal of the game.
For Graves who was one of the starting defensemen, it was his first point in the Tournament but it came at a much needed time as the Foreurs were in danger of falling out of this game. Still they trailed 2-1 after one period but in the second period they got the tying goal.
On the penalty kill, a puck would hit Graves in the leg and would wind up on the stick of Pierre-Maxime Poudrier who took it the length of the ice for a shorthanded goal that tied the game. Graves deserved an assist but didn’t get one.
The teams would trade goals in the third period which led to the first overtime and both teams had chances to score but the goalies were up to the task. In the second overtime, the Foreurs would score the game winner on breakaway from Anthony Richard who beat Islander prospect Griffin Reinhart to the puck and then took it the length of the ice for the winner.
For Graves, this was clearly his best effort of the Tournament as he was active and for the most part strong defensively. Graves recorded his first point of the Tournament along with a +3 for the night.
Val-d’Or will next play on Friday against either London or Edmonton.
In the ECHL conference finals, Team #bleedblue AKA the Greenville Road Warriors stole the home ice advantage away from the Cincinnati Cyclones after exploding for 5 goals in the third period as they win 8-4.
For the Road Warrior report going to turn you over to Andy Zilch the media relations manager for the Road Warriors and here is his report:
The Road Warriors scored five goals in the third period, three of which were shorthanded, to rally past the Cyclones by a final score of 8-4.
Greenville stormed out to another lead with the first goal of the game by Sean Berkstresser. The forward whistled a shot past the shoulder of Cyclones goaltender Rob Madore for his second of the playoffs that was assisted by Lindsay Sparks. The goal was originally not called but was put under review and was allowed. Justin Vaive gave the Road Warriors a 2-0 lead with a deflection shot from Andrew Rowe with 12:50 remaining in the period. Cincinnati was held shot less for the first 14 minutes of the game but came through with scoring chances that led to goals. Josh Shalla put the Cyclones on the board with his ninth of the post-season with a wrist shot that snuck past Jeff Malcolm. Wade Megan tied the game two minutes later with a power play goal that was scored on a partial break. The rookie forward scored his eighth goal of the playoff by beating Malcolm five-hole.
The Road Warriors started the second period much like the first period with the goal of the frame jus 1:39 in. Josh Nicholls scored his fourth of the playoffs with assists from Andrew Yogan and Kyle Jean. Just a minute later, Cincinnati tied it once again with a goal from Brett Wysopal who ripped a slap shot from the point. The Cyclones took the lead 1:20 later with a goal from Logan Shaw who scored in the slot beating Malcolm glove-side. The score remained through the duration of the period and the Cyclones held to a 4-3 lead moving into the third period.
The Cyclones began the third period on the power play, but it would be Greenville that would score on it. With 12 seconds left on the Cincinnati man advantage, Road Warriors forward Jordie Johnston broke into the Cyclones zone on a two-on-one and beat Madore with the wrist shot to even the game at four a piece. The Road Warriors again capitalized on a shorthanded opportunity. Nicholls scored his second goal of the night on a shorthanded breakaway at 10:50 to put Greenville back on top 5-4. Greenville completed the shorthanded trifecta a few minutes later. Johnston tallied his second shorthanded goal of the game, beating Madore on another breakaway. Scott Arnold potted an empty netter at18:27 to make it 7-4. The Road Warriors added yet another goal in the final minute, this one from Bretton Stamler, to win by a final of 8-4.
Malcolm got the win for Greenville, turning away 20 of 24 shots. Madore took the loss for Cincinnati, stopping 20 of 27.
So here is how the Ranger prospects did:
Kyle Jean (2012 UFA) had 2 assists (both primary) for his 3rd and 4th assists of the playoffs. Jean is now 5-4-9 and was a +1 on 2 shots
Andrew Yogan (2010 4th) had a secondary assist for his 8th assist and is now 5-8-13 for the Road Warriors. Yogan was a +2 on 2 shots.
Michael St. Croix (2011 4th) had a secondary assist for his 8th assist and 12th point of the playoffs. St. Croix took no shots and was even
Josh Nicholls (2012 UFA) was the first star of the game with 2 goals which were his 4th and 5th as he is now 5-7-12. Nicholls had the game winning goal, was a +2 on 3 shots and took 4 minor penalties.
Jeff Malcolm (2013 UFA) stopped 20 out of 24 shots as he improved to 2-1 with a 2.69 goals against and a 0.914 save percentage.
DID NOT PLAY
Samuel Noreau (2011 5th) healthy scratch
Jason Missiaen (2011 UFA) was the back up goalie