Barton Breaks Deadlock, as Wheeling Wins Third in a Row at Home
Patrick Killeen has left two teams shaking their heads in the last two games, thanks to his stellar work in the shootout. On Thursday night, Killeen turned away all five shooters for the Toledo Walleye, and Chris Barton scored in the third round of the shootout, as the Nailers won all three games on their homestand. Thursday’s final score was 3-2 in Wheeling’s favor.
Offense was the name of the game in the first period, starting with the Nailers, who opened the scoring with a 2-0 advantage. At the 2:58 mark, Bobby Farnham handed the puck off to Stefan Chaput, who rushed through center ice. After gaining the offensive blueline, Chaput dropped a pass off for Cody Wild, who used Chaput’s screen, while beating Kent Simpson high over his glove. Less than four minutes later, Wheeling added to the lead. Chaput won the face-off to Wild, who tapped the puck over to Peter Merth at the middle of the blueline. Merth let a one-timer go, beating Simpson on the glove side.
Toledo came back to tie the game in the second half of the first period. The first goal for the visitors came off of an odd man rush at the 10:22 mark. Byron Froese sent the puck into the middle of the ice, creating a 2-on-1 for Randy Rowe and Ben Youds. Rowe slipped a pass to Youds, who scored into the top part of the net from the right circle. With 3:04 left in the frame, the Walleye evened the score, with Rowe finishing off a cross-ice pass from Froese. Luke Glendening also assisted on the equalizer.
Despite the high scoring first period, neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period, third period, or overtime, so the game proceeded to a shootout.
The strong goaltending continued in the shootout, as Patrick Killeen and Kent Simpson exchanged saves in the first two rounds. Then, in round three, after a miss by Toledo’s Travis Novak, Chris Barton put the Nailers ahead, slipping a shot through the backstop’s legs. Both clubs came up empty in the fourth round, putting the fate of the game on the line with Max Campbell shooting. Killeen stuck out his stick, while going down to a slide, ultimately forcing Campbell wide of the net, ending the game.
Patrick Killeen picked up the win, making 19 saves on 21 shots during the contest, before a perfect 5-for-5 effort in the shootout. Wheeling’s goalie has now stopped the last ten shootout attempts he has faced. Kent Simpson suffered the shootout loss for the Walleye, despite making 25 saves on 27 shots during the game.
The Nailers will travel to Evansville on Saturday night, where they will battle the IceMen for the first time in club history. Wheeling’s next home game takes place on Wednesday night, when the Reading Royals visit WesBanco Arena.