The Wheeling Nailers appeared to have the Evansville IceMen right where they wanted to on Friday night, taking three separate one-goal leads. However, the IceMen battled back each time, and ultimately took the final lead of the evening. Daniel Tetrault broke a 3-3 tie with 3:34 remaining in regulation, lifting Evansville to the 4-3 win over the Nailers at Ford Center. Cody Chupp had two goals in teh defeat for Wheeling.
The Nailers opened the scoring at the 9:19 mark of the first period, lighting the lamp just one second after a power play had expired. Paul Cianfrini set up Stefan Chaput, who blasted a one-timer in on goal from the right side of the blueline. Chaput’s chance got blocked, but the rebound deflected out to Scott Zurevinski, who spun around, and scored on a backhander. A little more than three minutes later, the IceMen tied the game. Austin Madaisky fired a one-timer in from the point that was stopped by Scott Darling’s left period. However, the rebound kicked out to Cody Beach, who hesitated, while moving to his right for the goal.
Wheeling regained the lead at the 8:58 mark of the second period, courtesy of a second even strength goal. Cody Chupp curled over the left side of the offensive blueline, before cutting into the slot. Once there, Chupp let a wrist shot go, that trickled through Paul Karpowich’s right arm, and in over the line. Unfortunately for the Nailers, Evansville drew even again. Todd Robinson set up Josh Beaulieu at the right side of the crease. Although Beaulieu’s shot didn’t go, Nathan Moon’s rebound did, as the two teams skated into intermission tied at two.
Early in the third period, the Nailers took their third lead of the hockey game, connecting for a power play goal. Paul Crowder set Chris Barton up for a one-timer from the left circle, and Cody Chupp got a deflection in front, tipping it past Karpowich for the go-ahead goal. Less than five minutes later, the IceMen got the equalizer. Austin Madaisky fired a shot in from the middle of the blueline, and Josh Beaulieu got the deflection in front, knocking the tying goal into the back of the cage. Then, with 3:34 remaining in regulation, Evansville took the lead for the first time in the game, as Daniel Tetrault scored off of a one-time feed from Aaron Gens. Tetrault’s tally was the IceMen’s fourth power play goal of the night, as they held on for the 4-3 win.
Paul Karpowich earned the win in goal for Evansville, making 25 saves on 28 shots. Scott Darling took the tough luck loss for Wheeling, despite stopping 20 of the 24 shots he faced.
The Nailers will conclude their week in Cincinnati on Saturday, with a 7:35 face-off against the Cyclones. Wheeling will then return home on Wednesday, where they will face the Reading Royals at 7:00.