Palazzese Stops All Four Shootout Attempts, as Nailers Earn Fourth Shootout Win
For the second straight game, the Wheeling Nailers battled their way past regulation and overtime, needing a shootout to decide the contest. Unlike Tuesday night, this script had a positive ending, as Franky Palazzese followed up a 36-save game with four more saves in the shootout. David Gilbert and Mike Ratchuk provided the offense in the shootout, as Wheeling defeated the Elmira Jackals, 2-1 at First Arena.
The game started with an extremely physical tone, as the two sides dropped the gloves on three separate occasions. Patrick McGrath went once each with Joe Houk and Justin Sawyer, while Harrison Ruopp had a disagreement with Lucas Bloodoff. As for the play, Elmira had the advantage with a 7-1 lead in shots at the beginning, before the Nailers responded with 11 of the final 14. Neither team was able to light the lamp in the first nor second periods, sending a scoreless deadlock into the third.
Midway through the third period, Wheeling finally cracked through with the opening tally. Derek Army circled around the back of the net, before slipping a pass through the crease. Chaz Johnson was the recipient of the pass, as he tapped in a shot on the left side of the net. For most of the night, the Nailers put forth a perfect penalty kill, but on their seventh opportunity of the game, the Jackals finally got on the scoreboard with 3:29 remaining. Zach Tolkinen took a wrist shot from the right point, squeezing it under Franky Palazzese’s right arm, to ultimately force overtime.
Despite 11 shots on goal for the two sides, overtime didn’t settle anything, leading to a shootout. Both opening shooters missed, but in round two, David Gilbert put the Nailers ahead with his second shootout tally of the season. Mike Ratchuk added to the advantage with a wrist shot over Travis Fullerton’s glove in the third round, and Palazzese preserved his teammates’ work, stopping all four attempts taken by the Jackals.
Franky Palazzese earned the victory with an outstanding 36-save performance during the game, before going 4-for-4 in the shootout. Travis Fullerton took the shootout loss, despite a solid 33-save effort during the game. He was only able to block two of four shootout attempts.
The Nailers and Jackals will meet again on Saturday night at 7:05 in Elmira, before Wheeling returns home on Wednesday to start a four-game homestand.