For the second game in a row, the Wheeling Nailers had a third period rally up their sleeves. Trailing 2-0 in the third, Wheeling came back with two goals, including Jack MacLellan’s tally with 37 seconds to go, forcing overtime. Unfortunately, the Kalamazoo Wings had the final say, as they picked up a 3-2 win on home ice, in front of 4,167 fans.
Midway through the first period, the Wings got on the scoreboard first. Ryan Del Monte won a battle for the puck in the left corner of the offensive zone, before slipping a pass to Ludwig Blomstrand in the slot. Blomstrand immediately teed up a one-timer, ripping his shot just inside of the right post. Late in the opening frame, Ryley Miller dropped the gloves with Justin Taylor, as Wheeling picked up a fighting major for the sixth straight game.
In terms of shots on goal, the middle stanza was one-sided, as Kalamazoo outshot the Nailers 12-2, but Eric Hartzell was perfect in the period, keeping the score 1-0 through two periods of play.
Less than one minute into the third period, the Wings extended their lead, thanks to a shorthanded marker. Wheeling lost control of the puck at the offensive blueline, leading to a breakaway opportunity, which was finished off by Ryan Del Monte. The Nailers quickly battled back at the 4:56 mark, as Jack MacLellan sprung Cody Sylvester for a breakaway of his own, which he scored on, beating Jordan Binnington on the glove side. Then, with 37 seconds left in regulation, Wheeling got the equalizer. Mike Ratchuk’s shot from the blueline tipped out to MacLellan, who lifted a shot into the top of the cage, guaranteeing each team a point.
Both teams had a power play in overtime, but couldn’t score, sending the tilt to a shootout. Justin Taylor and MacLellan exchanged goals in round one, before Kalamazoo took the lead on Yanni Gourde’s tally in the third round. Finally, in round five, David Pacan clinched the win for the Wings, as the home team picked up a 3-2 win.
Jordan Binnington recorded his first professional win for Kalamazoo, turning aside 22 of the 24 shots he faced. Eric Hartzell was saddled with the shootout loss, despite a 32-save effort on 34 shots.
The Nailers will visit the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday night at 8:00, before returning home on Saturday to face the Reading Royals at 7:00.