For the second time this season, the Wheeling Nailers entered the third period trailing the Kalamazoo Wings. Just as they did on March 3rd, the Nailers were able to erase the deficit and turn it into a win. Zack Torquato’s shorthanded goal tied the game at one in the third, before Torquato’s shootout heroics led Wheeling to a 2-1 win at WesBanco Arena.
Kalamazoo opened the scoring at the 13:25 mark of the first period. Joe Charlebois flung a shot on goal from the right point that ended up fluttering into the left side of the net. Kory Karlander and Tyler Shelast were given the assists, as the Wings took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period was eventful for the Nailers, as they peppered Joel Martin with 14 shots on goal to Kalamazoo’s three. Despite doubling their visitors in shots on goal through 40 minutes, the score remained the same.
Finally, with 6:06 left in regulation, Wheeling netted the equalizer. Matt Germain’s work on the forecheck freed up the puck, sending Zack Torquato ahead. Torquato crashed the net, while feeling pressure from behind, but still managed to slide the puck home for a 1-1 tie.
The Nailers nearly won the game in the final seconds of regulation, but overtime, and ultimately a shootout were necessary, as the home team required extra time for the 20th time this season.
In the shootout, both squads saw their second shooters light the lamp, thanks to dazzling moves by Wheeling’s Keven Veilleux and Kalamazoo’s Alexandre Grenier. Then, in round four, the Nailers took the lead, as Torquato waited out Martin, before slipping a shot through his legs. From there, the task was Scott Darling’s to shut down the Wings, and he did, turning away John Armstrong and Brett Lysak.
Darling picked up his second win in a row, making 21 saves on 22 shots in the game, before a four-save effort in the shootout. Joel Martin dropped just his second shootout of the year, after stopping 36 of 37 shots during the game.
The Nailers will play their next three games on enemy ice, beginning on Friday night at 7:05 against the Trenton Titans.