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Cyclones Steal Win in Final Minute


Saturday night’s game for the Wheeling Nailers could only be described by one word for the 3,829 in attendance – heartbreaking. The Nailers carried a 3-1 lead into the third period, only to see the Cincinnati Cyclones rally back with three unanswered tallies, including one with 37.5 seconds to go, as they stole a 4-3 win at WesBanco Arena.

The lone goal in the first period was scored by the Nailers, who jumped on top at the 4:59 mark. Nearly every player on the ice made contact with the puck, starting with Clark Seymour’s rim pass around the wall to Zack Torquato on the right side. Torquato tossed a puck across center ice to Derek Army, who raced up the left side into the offensive zone. Army then dropped a pass back to Jarrett Burton, who stepped up into the left circle, roofing a shot over Rob Madore’s glove.

Wheeling maintained its lead until the 12:47 mark of the second period, when the Cyclones pulled even. Frederick Gaudreau stole the puck, leading his team on a 2-on-1 rush through center. Gaudreau kept the puck to himself on the left side, roofing a shot from the circle. The tied score didn’t last long, as the Nailers rebounded with two goals in 68 seconds to hop back on top. The first of those markers came from Tristin Llewellyn, who took a Tyler Fernandez pass, slipping a wrist shot through Madore’s legs from the top of the left circle. The next tally was potted with 3:25 remaining, as Josh Archibald picked off a pass behind the cage, before connecting with Jean-Sebastien Dea, who sniped in a wrist shot from the left side of the slot.

Things spiraled down in the third period, as Wheeling mustered only two shots on goal in the stanza. Meanwhile, Cincinnati stormed back, tying the score, before eventually breaking the deadlock in the final minute. Branden Gracel started the comeback at the 8:10 mark of the third period, when he fired in a slap shot from the top of the left circle 2:25 later, the visitors tied the contest, as Stephan Vigier tapped in the rebound of Chris Reed’s shot from the right point. With 37.5 seconds to go, the Cyclones broke the tie in heartbreaking fashion for the Nailers, as Josh Shalla’s blueline drive was blocked by Eric Hartzell, but the rebound popped out to Vigier, whose backhand flip turned out to be the winner in a 4-3 final score.

Rob Madore picked up the win for Cincinnati, blocking 25 of the 28 shots he faced. Eric Hartzell suffered the defeat for Wheeling, making 33 saves on 37 shots.

The Nailers will finish the weekend on Sunday afternoon at 
4:05 p.m. against the Elmira Jackals.

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