Pierro-Zabotel Nets Shootout Winner for Gladiators
On Thursday night, the Wheeling Nailers welcomed the Gwinnett Gladiators to town for the only time in the 2012-13 season. After being down 1-0 through 40 minutes of play, the Nailers battled back to take a 2-1 lead, only to come up short, 3-2 in a shootout.
Former Nailer Casey Pierro-Zabotel capitalized on a defensive zone turnover by Wheeling, and scored on a backhander, while playing shorthanded, at the 3:03 mark of the first period. Tempers flared a few minutes later, as Scott Zurevinski dropped the gloves with Ryan Donald, in the first fight by the Nailers in nine games.
Defense was the name of the game in the first two periods, as the two clubs combined for just 30 shots on goal, while the Gladiators continued to hold their 1-0 advantage.
With 3:37 gone by in the third, Peter Lenes brought the Nailers even, as he floated a shot off of goaltender Mike Lee’s glove and into the back of the net. 61 seconds later, Jordy Trottier scored his first professional goal, dancing around Lee, before sliding a shot inside of the right post for a 2-1 Wheeling lead. However, Gwinnett got the equalizer with 7:16 remaining, when Justin Bowers redirected Joey Haddad’s shot at the top of the crease.
The game ultimately progressed into overtime and a shootout, as both squads skated away with a point. Unfortunately, the shootout was none to kind to the home team, as the Gladiators used goals from Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Alex Belzile, and Joey Hadded to sink Wheeling, 3-2.
Mike Lee picked up the win for Gwinnett, stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced during the game, before a 3-for-3 effort in the shootout. Peter Delmas was saddled with the shootout loss, making 24 saves on 26 shots.
The Nailers will play host to the Reading Royals on Saturday night at 7:00, in their final home game of February.