The Wheeling Nailers poured out of the gates on Saturday night, but it was the Evansville IceMen who had the final say at WesBanco Arena. After falling behind 2-0 in the first 1:15, Evansville netted six of the game’s seven final seven goals, earning a 6-3 win. Garrett Bartus also rebounded from the start, stopping 34 of Wheeling’s final 35 shots on goal.
Wheeling needed just 66 seconds to get on the scoreboard, as Ryley Miller poked the puck ahead to Chaz Johnson, who snapped in a shot from the right circle. The goal was Johnson’s first as a Nailer at WesBanco Arena, while Miller snagged his first professional point. Nine seconds later, the home team upped its lead, when Myles Harvey clobbered a one-timer from the middle of the blueline for his first pro goal. Gentry Zollars and Zack Torquato assisted on the marker. Only 23 seconds after that, the IceMen got in on the scoring act, as Nathan Moon slid a shot around Mathieu Corbeil’s pad on a mini-breakaway. Evansville tied the game 1:50 later, when Tom Zanoski roofed a shot from the right circle. Later in the frame, the visitors took their first lead of the contest, as Mike Seidel sniped a turnaround shot from the left side of the slot.
In the second period, the IceMen upped their lead to three, finding the twine twice in a span of 1:07. Sawyer Hannay got credit for the first tally, as he connected on a wrist shot from the right point, with traffic in front of the cage. Fellow blueliner Matt Krug banged in the second goal, when finished off a centering pass by Nathan Moon, who fished the puck off of the end wall. With 1:24 to go in the frame, Colin Mulvey lit the lamp for the Nailers, when he squeezed a shot through Garrett Bartus’ legs.
Evansville iced its 6-3 victory at the 8:51 mark of the third period, when former Nailer Matt Schepke scored on a 2-on-1 break.
Garrett Bartus picked up the win in goal for the IceMen, making 34 saves on 37 shots, including a 20-for-20 effort during the third period. Mathieu Corbeil suffered his first loss in the ECHL for the Nailers, allowing six goals on 19 shots.
The Nailers and IceMen will clash again on Saturday at WesBanco Arena, with face-off scheduled for 7:00.