The Wheeling Nailers and Florida Everblades have made a habit of
playing extra hockey over the past two seasons, and that trend continued
afternoon. For the second day in a row, a tying goal was scored during
the final minute of the third period, forcing overtime and a shootout.
Unfortunately for the Nailers, the shootout went Florida's way, as the
Everblades scored a 5-4 comeback win at WesBanco Arena.
Florida wasted little time in opening the scoring, as the visitors got on the board 90 seconds in. Mike Merrifield sent a shot on goal from the right circle that was stopped by Mike Condon. The rebound deflected into the slot, where it was deposited into the net by Trevor Bruess. Later in the period, the offense exploded for both sides, as three goals were scored in a span of 2:06. The Nailers netted the tying goal at the 14:47 mark, when Zack Torquato's initial shot rang off of the post, before Carter Rowney backhanded the rebound into the right side of the cage. 35 seconds later, Wheeling took the lead, as Torquato won a face-off forward, pushing the puck to Ben Duffy, who finished off the goal from the left side of the slot. Unfortunately for the home team, the lead was short-lived, as Jordan Henry found the twine with a power play goal 1:31 after that, sending the contest into intermission knotted at two.
Midway through the second period, the Nailers retook the lead, thanks to another goal off of a face-off. Sahir Gill won a face-off forward in the left circle, before lifting a backhander past Trevor Cann's glove. Once again, the Everblades came back with the equalizer, as Rocco Carzo sent Brandon MacLean on a breakaway, after MacLean had exited the penalty box. The initial shot was stopped, but Mike Merrifield flew into the zone to bury the rebound.
The score stayed tied until the 14:11 mark of the third, when Wheeling jumped on top. Ben Duffy won a battle for possession behind the net, before turning in front of the net, where he wrapped a backhander around Cann's right leg. Then, for the second day in a row, the score was tied in the final minute. This time, the Everblades knotted the score, when Rocco Carzo deflected in Braden Birch's shot from the left point, sending the tilt to overtime, and eventually a shootout.
During the shootout, one goal was scored in each round, starting with an exchange of goals by Florida's Brandon MacLean and Wheeling's Ben Duffy. In the third and fourth rounds, Mathieu Roy scored for the Everblades and Mike Ratchuk scored for the Nailers. In the fifth round, Wheeling missed on its opportunity, before Florida's Kellan Tochkin netted the winning goal.
Trevor Cann got the win in goal for the Everblades, making 24 saves on 28 shots. Mike Condon suffered the shootout loss for the Nailers, stopping 29 of 33 shots.
The Nailers will play a pair of home games next weekend against the Evansville IceMen on Friday and Saturday at 7:0