Dusted: Stevenson Stuns Ex Mates with OT Winner, Sweeps Weekend for Hot Nailers

Reading took the lead at 11:52 when Yannick Tifu flipped a puck over an outstretched Eric Hartzell from the edge of the crease. Exactly 2 minutes later, Chaz Johnson would tie the game for the Nailers. Streaking down the near side, he made a nifty little deke to score short side on Reading netminder Riley Gill. It was Johnson’s 10th of the season. Late in the period, things would get testy when the Royals’ Bryant Molle was laid out by Wheeling’s Cody Sylvester. Referee Pierre Lambert didn’t see the hit, and after consulting with the linesmen, gave Sylvester 4:00 for High Sticking. The period would end 1-1, with shots tied at 10 apiece.

The second period was a continuation of the first in that the tensions continued to simmer. Reading would take the lead at 3:49 when Domenic Monardo took a pass from Josh Brittain, took a wrister from the circle, and went high off the post on Hartzell’s glove side.

The third period was a wild affair, with both teams trading chances like it was a game 7. The Wheeling would tie the game (and catch a huge break) on a freak goal at 13:07. Tom Kuhnhackl dumped the puck in, it rold around the dasher, hit the glass and popped into the slot, Cody Sylvester came in flying, and would put the puck through Gill’s legs. The period would end tied, setting up an OT that did not last long. Just 27 seconds in, Mike Ratchuk gave the puck to Carter Rowney, who passed the puck to former Royal Dustin Stevenson. Stevenson went back to Rowney, who gave it back to Stevenson. Stevenson goes five-hole on Gill, and there’s your ballgame, Capping a HUGE weekend for the Nailers, with 6 points in 3 games.

Stevenson, when asked if it was sweet to score on the team he won the Kelly Cup with last season, had this to say: “It felt good to get to get that one. The fans here are good fans and I don’t blame them for getting on us during the game. It was nice to finish one off. It was a good play. Ratchuk carried it in there and sucked everyone with him cutting across the middle. I think he dropped it back to me and I put in (Carter) Rowney’s hands’ and trusted he was gonna make the right decision with it.”

Ice Chips: The winner was Stevenson’s fifth of the season. He had 1 all if last season for Reading, with it coming n the playoffs. The Win was Hartzell’s fifth with the Nailers. The 3 Stars were: 3) Matt Grassi (WHL) 2) Yannick Tifu (REA 1) Dustin Stevenson (WHL) Total shots favored Reading 27-26. The Double Minor for High Sticking should have gone to Carter Rowney, not Cody Sylvester.
Wheeling Nailers 3 (OT) at Reading Royals 2 – Status: Final OT
Sunday, March 16, 2014 – Santander Arena

Wheeling 1 0 1 1 – 3
Reading 1 1 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Reading, Tifu 17 (Cruthers, Wiles), 11:52. 2, Wheeling, Johnson 10 (Grassi, Cianfrini), 13:52. Penalties-Johnson Whl (interference), 5:11; Merth Whl (slashing ), 15:36; Minella Whl (roughing), 17:51; Monardo Rea (roughing), 17:51; Sylvester Whl (high-sticking – double), 19:22.

2nd Period-3, Reading, Monardo 23 (Brittain, Syner), 2:49 (PP). Penalties-Ruopp Whl (tripping), 10:03; Wiles Rea (holding the stick), 11:13; Torquato Whl (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:20; Monardo Rea (tripping), 16:20.

3rd Period-4, Wheeling, Sylvester 22 (Kuhnhackl, Grassi), 13:11. Penalties-Grassi Whl (slashing ), 3:48; Merth Whl (fighting – major), 13:49; Brittain Rea (fighting – major), 13:49; Sylvester Whl (misconduct), 18:27; Gens Rea (misconduct), 18:27.

OT Period-5, Wheeling, Stevenson 5 (Rowney, Ratchuk), 0:27. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Wheeling 10-5-10-1-26. Reading 10-9-8-0-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 0 / 1; Reading 1 / 6.
Goalies-Wheeling, Hartzell 5-4-0-1 (27 shots-25 saves). Reading, Gill 16-12-1-1 (26 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Pierre Lambert (20).
Linesmen-Tom Dellafranco (41), Francis Trempe (85).

*Boxscore courtesy of ECHL.com

About B. Baldwin

Journalist - Covering The Wheeling Nailers I can be found on Twitter @PF4EWNailers
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