Saturday’s game at WesBanco Arena featured plenty of plot turns, but when all was said and done, this particular hockey game finished with a storybook finish. Tyler Fernandez broke a 2-2 tie with 26 seconds remaining, and Morgan Ellis added an empty netter as part of a three-point night, as the Wheeling Nailers knocked off the Elmira Jackals, 4-2.
One goal was potted in the first period, and it was recorded by the visiting Jackals at the 5:58 mark. Mike Bergin let a wrist shot go from the left point, which was redirected by Ryan Rashid, sending the puck deflecting up and over Eric Hartzell’s right shoulder. After a first period that saw 36 combined shots on goal Friday against Reading, the Nailers and Jackals combined for 14 shots on goal in Saturday’s opening stanza, with both sides registering seven.
Elmira added to its lead at the 30-second mark of the middle frame. Steven Shamanski kept the puck in the offensive zone, then proceeded to let a wrist shot go from the blueline, floating it into the top-left corner of the cage. The Nailers battled back within a goal less than three minutes later, converting on the power play for the 19th time on home ice. After Morgan Ellis’ shot was blocked, Derek Army turned and fired a missle into the left side of the net. Then, with 46 seconds remaining, the score became tied. Zack Torquato won a face-off back to Ellis, who teed up a drive for his sixth tally of the campaign. Ellis and Torquato both achieved multiple point games for the second night in a row.
The game remained deadlocked until the final minute of regulation, when the Nailers provided the dramatic ending. Torquato entered the offensive zone on the right side, before putting on the brakes, and dropping a pass to Tyler Fernandez. Fernandez let a wrist shot go, beating Sam Marotta low on his stick side with 26 seconds left. 13 seconds later, Ellis capped off the victory with an empty netter from behind his own goal line. Torquato and Ellis both finished the evening with three points, giving them seven and six respectively in the two home games this weekend. The Nailers’ win was by a 4-2 final score.
Eric Hartzell secured the victory for Wheeling, denying 25 of the 27 shots he faced. Sam Marotta took the loss for Elmira, making 31 saves on 34 shots.
The Nailers will conclude their three-game weekend on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 against the Indy Fuel.