Darling Stops 37 for Third Win in Four Tries
Since his brief stint with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, Scott Darling has returned to the Wheeling Nailers as a man on a mission. On Friday night, that mission included a victory in Elmira, and that’s exactly what he got. Darling made 37 saves on 39 shots, and got a pair of goals from his teammates in the third period, as the Nailers topped the Jackals, 4-2, at First Arena.
The Nailers drew first blood at the 7:09 mark of the first period, capitalizing on a 3-on-2 rush. Dominik Uher tossed a pass across the neutral zone, connecting with Cam Fergus on the right side. Fergus gained the offensive zone, then took advantage of open space on the right side of the ice, before snapping a shot over Marc Cheverie’s left shoulder. Uher picked up the lone assist, as Wheeling led 1-0 after twenty minutes of play.
With 6:11 remaing in the second, the Jackals evened the score. Chris Wideman steered a shot on goal from the right point that was padded away by Scott Darling. However, the rebound got kicked into the slot, where it was deposited into the net by Chaz Johnson. 1:19 later, Wheeling regained the lead. Matt Germain sprung Christiaan Minella into the middle of the offensive zone, where he slipped past the defense, before scoring on Cheverie’s stick side. Paul Cianfrini also assisted on Minella’s second marker of the season, which had the Nailers leading 2-1 after two periods.
In the first minute of the third period, Elmira tied the game once again. Artem Demkov took a cross-ice feed from Louie Caporusso, cut to the middle, and ripped a shot into the top corner of the goal. However, the Nailers had an answer a little more than five minutes later, as they retook the lead. Zach Hansen intercepted a pass in center ice, and turned on the jets into the offensive zone. He centered the puck to Keven Veilleux, who placed a shot just inside of the left post. With 2:53 remaining, Wheeling iced its victory, as Cody Wild connected with Philippe Lefebvre, who backhanded the insurance tally into the back of the cage. Scott Darling turned aside a barrage of shots in the final minute, keeping the final score 4-2 in Wheeling’s favor.
Scott Darling earned the game’s number one star, earning his third win in his last four starts, stopping 37 of the 39 shots he faced for the Nailers. Marc Cheverie received the loss for the Jackals, allowing four goals on 28 shots.
The Nailers will return home next Friday, where they will play host to the Florida Everblades in the first of two 7:00 face-offs over the weekend.