The Wheeling Nailers saved the best for last on Saturday night, as they played host to the Greenville Road Warriors on the first FANtastic Night of the season at WesBanco Arena. Despite trailing 3-1 after two periods of play, the Nailers were able to rally, scoring four times in the third period, led by two goals from Cody Sylvester, as Wheeling upended Greenville, 5-3.
The Nailers got off to a tremendous start in the opening period, pouring plenty of shots on the Greenville cage, and one of those shots found its way in at the 4:07 mark. Zack Torquato chased down Ryley Miller’s dump-in behind the net, centering a pass to Denver Manderson on the left side of the slot. After having his shot denied, Carter Rowney chipped away at the rebound, finishing off the marker. Late in the period, the Road Warriors tied the score, before eventually taking the lead. Jordie Johnston got the equalizer at 14:17, when he cut into the bottom of the right circle, slipping a shot through Mike Condon’s legs. Then, with 1:52 remaining, Andrew Carroll redirected Lee Baldwin’s shot from the left point, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead after one.
A little more than four minutes into the middle frame, Greenville extended the lead. Brandon Hynes took the puck along the left wing wall, before zipping a pass through the slot to Brett Perlini, who scored on a one-timer from the right side of the slot. Despite a 34-15 advantage in shots on goal for Wheeling, it was the Road Warriors who carried a 3-1 lead into the third period.
Early in the third period, the Nailers quickly erased their deficit. At the one-minute mark, Denver Manderson put a shot on goal, which produced a rebound for Cody Sylvester, who hammered in the first goal of his professional career. 38 seconds later, the home team pulled even. Chaz Johnson raced in on the right side of the offensive zone, putting a shot on goal, also leading to a rebound opportunity, which was cashed in by Scott Zurevinski. With 3:03 remaining in regulation, Sylvester gave Wheeling the lead, when he picked the top corner on a shot from the left circle. Finally, with seven seconds to go, Barry Goers iced the 5-3 victory, with a shot from behind his own goal line.
Mike Condon snagged his second win of the season for the Nailers, turning away 21 of the 24 shots he faced. Connor Knapp was the losing goaltender for Greenville, despite making 41 saves on 45 shots.
The Nailers will play back-to-back games on the road, starting on Wednesday at 10:30 in Kalamazoo, before Wheeling returns home on Friday for a 7:00 face-off against the Reading Royals.