The Wheeling Nailers hadn’t participated in a shootout in 19 games and 47 days, but they were far from rusty on Friday night. After stopping 35 of 37 shots during the game, Peter Mannino turned in a perfect 5-for-5 effort during the shootout. In the third round, Jack MacLellan provided the difference, as the Nailers held off the Kalamazoo Wings, 3-2 at WesBanco Arena.
For the first time in 12 games, the team that scored first didn’t win the game, and in this case, it was Kalamazoo striking first at the 1:27 mark of the opening stanza. David Pacan rushed into the left circle of the offensive zone, letting a wrist shot go, which flew into the top-right corner of the goal. The Nailers tied the game later in the period, connecting with a power play tally. Nick D’Agostino took a shot from the top of the right circle, which deflected off of Max MacKay, and into the back of the net. Cody Sylvester also picked up an assist on MacKay’s tenth goal of the season.
With 3:40 to go in the second period, Wheeling’s man advantage struck again. Shane Bakker won a wall battle on the left side, working the puck back to Mike Ratchuk at the left point. Ratchuk set up Nick D’Agostino, whose one-time drive from the right point sailed wide of the net. However, the shot was powerful enough to create a rebound off of the end boards, as Colin Mulvey deposited the loose puck from the left side of the crease.
Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to hold on for a regulation win, as the Wings drew even with 1:40 remaining in the third. Sam Ftorek drilled a shot on goal from the right point that was stopped by Peter Mannino. However, Chris Lawrence was there to score on the rebound, forcing overtime for the fourth straight head-to-head meeting between the two clubs.
Overtime didn’t settle anything, but the shootout did. After both teams exchanged saves in the first two rounds, Jack MacLellan’s backhander in round three tipped off of Joel Martin’s glove and in. Kalamazoo was unable to answer that marker, as the Nailers picked up their second shootout win of the year, 3-2.
Peter Mannino earned his second win in as many starts with Wheeling, denying 35 of 37 shots during the game, before going 5-for-5 during the shootout. Joel Martin took the shootout loss for the Wings, making 18 saves on 20 shots during the game, before a 4-for-5 effort in the shootout.
The Nailers and Wings will do battle again on Saturday at 8:00 at WesBanco Arena.