Greenville Comes Back to Earn 5-4 Shootout Win
The Wheeling Nailers kept two streaks alive on Thursday, as they earned a point for a seventh straight game, while also netting a power play goal in an eleventh consecutive contest. However, the Greenville Road Warriors had the final say, as they came from behind with two third period goals, before Danny Hobbs netted the game winner in the sixth round of the shootout. Wheeling has points in nine of eleven games (6-2-3), despite falling, 5-4.
Offense was the name of the game in the opening period, as both teams came out with a pair of goals. Greenville struck first at the 1:36 mark of the frame, as Brendan Connolly dished a pass across the slot to Jordie Johnston, who finished off a 2-on-1 rush by putting his team ahead. A little more than half way through the period, the Nailers got the equalizer, and did so on the power play, which connected for the 11th game in a row. Andrew Hotham took a shot from the top of the left circle that got redirected in the slot to Luke Pither, who found the back of the net from the bottom of the right circle. The Road Warriors regained the lead with 2:36 remaining, when Marc-Olivier Vallerand set up Bretton Stamler, who stepped up and scored from the blueline. However, Wheeling answered right back, scoring 52 seconds later, as Paul Crowder took a feed from Peter Merth, and snapped in a shot from the right face-off dot.
The scoring continued for the Nailers in the second, who took their first lead of the night, 3:49 into the period. Zach Hansen won a battle for a loose puck in the left corner, before dropping a pass off to Luke Pither in the left circle. Pither hesitated momentarily, before finding Chris Barton wide open on the right side of the crease. Barton had little trouble depositing his sixth goal in five games from the right side of the crease. Less than four minutes later, Wheeling extended the lead, as Scott Zurevinski pounded home the rebound of Cam Fergus’ shot from the right point. Daultan Leveille also picked up an assist, as the visitors carried a 4-2 lead into the third.
The Road Warriors cut into the deficit early in the third, thanks to a power play goal. Brandon Wong gathered a rebound on the left side of the goal line, and banked it off of Peter Delmas, making the score 4-3. Then, with 2:26 left in regulation, Wong tied the score, backhanding a shot up and over Delmas’ left shoulder, ultimately forcing overtime, and eventually a shootout.
Neither team was able to dent the twine in the first three rounds of the shootout, leading to an exchange of goals by Brandon Wong and Scott Zurevinski in round four. After both teams missed in the fifth round, Danny Hobbs put Greenville ahead in round six, before Scott Stajcer turned aside Cam Fergus, giving the Road Warriors the 5-4 win.
Scott Stajcer earned the win for Greenville, stopping 35 of the 39 shots he faced. Peter Delmas suffered the shootout loss for Wheeling, making 22 saves on 26 shots.
The Nailers and Road Warriors will battle again on Friday at BI-LO Center, with face-off scheduled for 7:05. Wheeling’s next home game takes place on Monday, when they welcome the Elmira Jackals to town for a special 5:00 game on New Year’s Eve.