For the second weekend in a row, the Wheeling Nailers pulled off a remarkable comeback in the final minute of a game. On Saturday night, Scott Zurevinski knotted the score with nine seconds remaining in the third period, and Mike Ratchuk netted the game winner with 43 seconds to go in overtime, as the Nailers erased a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Evansville IceMen, 3-2.
At the 5:32 mark of the first period, former Nailer Daultan Leveille opened the scoring for Evansville. Fellow ex-Nailer Matt Schepke started the rush out of his own zone, leading Tom Zanoski into center ice. Zanoski kept the play moving, feeding Leveille, who slid a shot through Mathieu Corbeil for his fourth point in two games this weekend.
Midway through the second period, the IceMen added to their lead. Nathan Moon set up Jacob Johnston high in the slot, and the blueliner pounded a slap shot through a screen and in, making the score 2-0. With 3:36 to go in the middle frame, the Nailers began their comeback. Sahir Gill won a battle for the puck behind the cage, before centering a pass to Scott Zurevinski, who popped a one-timer into the top-right corner of the goal.
Evansville remained in the lead until the final ten seconds of the contest, when Wheeling came up with the equalizer. Max MacKay found Zurevinski on the right side of the slot, and the forward made sure not to miss, burying a shot into the right side of the cage. Zurevinski’s goal marked the fourth time this season that the Nailers have tied the score during the final minute of regulation.
In overtime, Wheeling gave its fans even more to cheer about, as it skated away with the bonus point. Mike Ratchuk let a shot go from high in the zone, which was tipped into the back of the net by an IceMen player, giving the Nailers a 3-2 victory. The goal was Ratchuk’s third overtime winner of the season.
Mathieu Corbeil made an enormous save in the third period, earning the win in goal, stopping 19 of the 21 shots he faced for Wheeling. Garrett Bartus took the overtime loss, making 30 saves on 33 shots.
The Nailers will go on the road for a brief two-game trip to Gwinnett and South Carolina on Friday and Saturday, before returning home on New Year’s Eve to battle the Reading Royals at 6:00.