The weekend was all about the comebacks for the Wheeling Nailers, who erased a four-goal deficit on Friday, and early erased a six-goal deficit on Sunday.
The Cincinnati Cyclones jumped out to a 6-0 lead, before escaping with a
7-5 victory, as five different players between the two teams had
Cincinnati stormed out of the gates in the opening period, lighting the lamp four times. Jonathan Hazen started the scoring at the 2:28 mark, when he raced down the right side of the ice, before cutting to the front on his backhander, and slipping in the goal. 57 seconds later, Anthony Luciani extended the lead, when he banked the puck off of Eric Hartzell from the left side of the trapezoid. Luciani netted his second of the day at the 14:02 mark of the frame, as he put back the rebound of his initial shot from the right circle. Byron Froese completed the first period scoring for the Cyclones 2:46 after that, when he threw in a wrist shot from the right point.
During the first minute of the second period, Cincinnati continued to roll, as Hazen and Froese upped the lead to 6-0 on a right circle wrister and a redirect in the slot. At 4:05, the Nailers began to make their attempt at a comeback. Mike Ratchuk blasted a slap shot from the left circle, which flew into the top-right corner of the goal. Midway through the stanza, Ratchuk connected again, as traffic set up in front of Scott Darling, allowing him to flip a shot into the left side of the net. Christiaan Minella cut the deficit to three with 3:49 remaining, when he powered home a one-timer from Carter Rowney at the bottom of the right circle.
In the third period, Wheeling continued to press, getting to within two at the 9:34 mark. Minella pocketed his second of the game, when he sent a missile off of the left post and in from the right circle. Less than three minutes later, Dustin Stevenson made it a 6-5 score, as he snapped in his second goal in three days. Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to get the equalizer, as Byron Froese's empty netter finished off the 7-5 win for Cincinnati.
Froese's tally completed a hat trick, while Luciani, Hazen, Ratchuk, and Minella each had two goals in the game. Carter Rowney extended his point streak to five games, dishing out four assists.
Scott Darling picked up the win in his return to Wheeling, making 32 saves on 37 shots for the Cyclones. Eric Hartzell took the defeat for the home team, stopping 24 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Nailers will be on the road Friday and Saturday to face Reading and Elmira, before returning home for a three-game homestand, beginning on March 12th against Toledo