Nailers Have Sly Finish on April Fool's Day
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WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers weren't fooling around on April Fool's Day at WesBanco Arena, as they put forth a strong third period effort to earn a 5-3 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen. Cody Sylvester knotted the score at the 3:12 mark of the final stanza, then snapped the tie with 9:53 to go, as part of a three-point game. Joshua Winquist, Patrick Watling, Austin Fyten, and Nick Rivera all had multi-point games, while Shane Starrett made 25 saves.
Despite the two teams combining for 25 shots, the first period was unable to produce a goal. That changed quickly in the middle frame, as the Nailers needed just 18 seconds to light the lamp. Joshua Winquist wound a pass across the Wheeling offensive zone to Patrick Watling, who was ready to pound in a one-timer from the right circle. Jacksonville drew even 2:04 later, as Nick Saracino dragged a puck off the side wall, then setup Abbott Girduckis for a tap-in at the top of the crease. Jacob Pritchard got the lead back for the Nailers, when he came out from behind the net and made his way into the low slot, where he tossed in a backhander. With 3:25 remaining in the period, the Icemen tied the score, as Christopher Brown fed Wacey Rabbit on the top-left corner of the crease.
Wheeling battled through a tiny bit of adversity in the third period, as Jacksonville took its lone lead of the night at the 1:22 mark. Brown collected his second assist of the night, as he connected with Mike Szmatula. The Nailers responded extremely well, as they drew four penalties and cashed in with a pair of goals to tie, then take the lead. Both tallies came from Cody Sylvester. On the equalizer, Watling had his shot stopped, but Sylvester was there to capitalize on the rebound. Then, on the go-ahead goal, Winquist rang both posts, before the rebound sat in the crease for Sylvester's poke. Wheeling killed off a penalty with under six minutes left and played strong defensively down the stretch, which set up Austin Fyten to put the finishing touches on the 5-3 victory with an empty netter.
Shane Starrett was the winning goaltender for the Nailers, as he made 25 saves on 28 shots. Charles Williams took the loss for the Icemen, as he stopped 35 of the 39 shots he faced.