On Friday night, the Wheeling Nailers accomplished a pair of team milestones. With a 4-2 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays, the Nailers swept the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series, 4-0, marking the club’s first four-game sweep and 50th playoff victory in team history. Mike Condon made 33 saves in the triumph, while Max MacKay netted two goals, including the eventual game winner.
For the third time in four games, Wheeling opened the scoring. Christiaan Minella stole the puck on the right side of the offensive zone, before slipping a pass to Sahir Gill on his left. Gill let a wrist shot go from the left side of the slot, which slid through Allen York’s legs. The two teams combined for just 13 shots during the opening stanza, while accumulating 22 penalty minutes.
Late in the second period, the Nailers extended their lead. Peter Merth snapped a pass ahead to Sahir Gill, who dumped the puck deep from neutral ice. Max MacKay chased down the loose biscuit, before crashing the left side of the net. In doing so, MacKay managed to roll the puck up the right side of York’s back and down for the tally.
At the 2:37 mark of the third, MacKay was again the beneficiary of an awkward goal. York turned the puck over in his trapezoid, with MacKay gaining the steal and the goal, for his second of the night. Despite trailing 3-0 in the game and the series, South Carolina battled back to make the deficit one. Jordan Owens wristed in a shot from the bottom of the left circle at 5:30, before Jack Downing pounded home a shot from the center red line with 59 seconds to go. However, the Nailers ended up with the final say, as Tom Kuhnhackl buried a power play goal into an empty net with six seconds left, lifting Wheeling to the 4-2 win in the game and the 4-0 victory in the series.
Mike Condon turned in another stellar effort between the pipes for the Nailers, as he completed a perfect 8-0 month of April with 33 saves on 35 shots in the win. Condon ended up stopping 130 of 134 shots in the series. Allen York took the loss for the Stingrays, making 25 saves on 28 shots.
The Nailers will now await their opponent for the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series, as the Kalamazoo Wings and Greenville Road Warriors are currently tied 2-2 in their best-of-seven series.