Nailers Rally in the Third to Stun Reading


For the second time in six days, the Wheeling Nailers found themselves down, but certainly not out. Wheeling fell behind the Reading Royals 2-0 after two periods on Friday night, before rallying back to score three goals in the third period for a remarkable 3-2 triumph at WesBanco Arena. Chris Ciotti assisted on the tying tally, which came shorthanded, then netted the winner at even strength with 4:13 to go in regulation.

One goal was scored during the first period, and it went the way of the visiting Royals, shortly after they had come up empty on a power play. Mike Pereira gathered in a puck along the right wing wall, feeding Robbie Czarnik in the right circle. Czarnik took the pass right around the face-off dot, putting a perfectly placed shot into the right side of the net.

The middle stanza followed a similar script, with Reading upping its advantage to two, although the goal came a little more than five minutes earlier. Derek Mathers won a battle for possession in the right corner of the offensive zone, where he swung a pass to Scott Tanski on the right side of the slot. Tanski twisted himself into position to shoot, as he whipped an attempt into the left side of the cage.

Down by two, the comeback kids rose to the occasion, starting at the 3:46 mark, while the Nailers were playing on the man advantage. Andrew Cerretani willed the puck along the offensive blueline to Mathew Maione, who let a shot go from the right point. Cody Wydo batted the shot out of the air, pounding it down and into the back of the net. Later in the period, Wheeling got the equalizer, utilizing a shorthanded goal for the second consecutive contest. Chris Ciotti led the rush out to center ice, where he was joined by Matt Tabrum. As they approached the slot, Ciotti dished a pass over to Tabrum, who completed the play by tapping the puck into the right side of the goal. Not content with a tie, the Nailers took care of business in regulation, jumping ahead with 4:13 remaining. Danny Fick took a shot off of an offensive zone face-off win, receiving a tip from Ciotti for the 3-2 score. Casey DeSmith and the defense went to work from there, keeping the home team in the lead and preserving the victory.

Casey DeSmith picked up the win in goal for Wheeling, blocking away 24 of the 26 shots he faced. Connor Knapp took the loss for Reading, making 25 saves on 28 shots.

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