The Wheeling Nailers came into Reading on Wednesday night looking to leapfrog the Elmira Jackals’ for second place in the ECHL’s Atlantic Division. With the way goaltender Peter Delmas played, that looked to be a certainty almost the entire night.
Then former Nailer David Marshall tried to spoil Delmas’ Party, before the Nailers ultimately prevailed in a shootout before 2, 474 fans at Sovereign Center.
The first period started out with both teams trading chances. The Nailers’ went on the penalty kill 2:21 into the game, as defenseman Zach Hansen flipped the puck over the glass while trying to clear the puck out of the Wheeling defensive zone. One of the Nailers’ strong suits lately has been their penalty kill, and once again, it did not disappoint. The highlight of the period was an absolutely stunning save by Peter Delmas when he robbed the Royals’ Yannick Tifu late in the period. Tifu, who was stationed at the near side post, had what appeared to be an easy goal. Stationed at the near side post, he took a cross crease pass and tried to flip it up over the Wheeling goaltender, but Delly said no, sliding post to post and getting it with his trapper.
In the second, Wheeling finally broke through, When Cam Fergus struck at 5:10 on the power play. With the Royals’ Adam Comrie in the box for cross Checking, Paul Crowder broke on a three on two. Streaking into the slot, he slipped the puck to Fergus on his right, who put the puck into a mostly open net after Reading backstop Brandon Anderson had gotten out of position.
The third period was a myriad of missed chances on both sides. plenty of shots, but a lot were wide or over the top of the net. Wheeling appeared to have the shutout in hand, whe former Nailer David Marshall struck. With thirty-eight seconds left, Stanislav Galiev, stationed behind the net and to Delmas right, had taken a pass from Kirk MacDonald. The Nailers’ all collapsed into a umbrella formation around the net, and this left Marshall open. He slipped the puck through everyone and tied the game. Overtime proceeded to commence. In a period where the visitors had virtually no offensive pressure, the Defense held, forcing a shootout.
In the shootout, Wheeling went first, with Scott Zurevinski beaing Brandon Anderson to the glove side. Nikita Kashirsky tried a simple deke, but Delmas made an easy save. In round two, offensive threat Chris Barton failed to score for Wheeling, and Marshall failed to match when he shot the puck high and wide of the net. In round three, Speedster Peter Lenes scored for the Nailers, putting it through Anderson’s pads. Tifu matched for the Royals, going stick side on the Nailers’ netminder. In round 4, Zach Hansen would score on a nifty backhand move, while Galiev put on a mesmerizing display of hands, easily scoring while cutting across the middle. Finally, MacDonald was stopped while trying to score on the backhand to end the game, sealing the Wheeling victory, giving them just their 4th road win of the season, but second in a Row. The Nailers beat Trenton on Saturday.
Ice Chips: Nailers’ F Paul Crowder missed the third period after getting his bell rung, according to Wheeling bench boss Clark Donatelli. “Crowder had his bell rung, he’s fine, will be good to go Friday.” Reading outshot the guests 40-26. Referee was Don Jablonski, Linesmen were Brian Oliver and Ryan Daisy. These same two teams will meet again on Friday night in Wheeling. Face off is at 7:05