WHEELING, WV- Another game went down to the wire at WesBanco Arena, as the Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets played game five to decide who would take the Central Division Semifinal Series lead to Indiana. Sam Houde roofed a power play goal with 2:02 left in the third period to break the tie, as the Nailers edged the Komets 3-2 to go ahead three games to two in the best-of-seven set.
The first period was very evenly played and it nearly went into the intermission without a score, but with 2.9 seconds left, the Nailers changed that thought. Félix Paré tossed in a shot from the left wing wall, which got redirected into the net by Matthew Quercia.
A bit of a rarity occurred in the middle frame, as both squads got an unassisted goal by a defenseman. Fort Wayne tied the contest at the 2:27 mark. Adam Brubacher sped down the right side of the ice and had his first shot blocked, but was able to follow up and drive a shot into the left side of the net. A little less than four minutes later, Wheeling regained its lead. Josh Maniscalco broke away as he flew in from the right side. As he got to the goal, Maniscalco quickly took the puck from forehand to backhand, and slid a shot through Samuel Harvey's legs.
A bizarre miscue gave the Komets the tying goal at the 6:38 mark of the third period. Miscommunication behind the Wheeling net on a power play led to Matthew Boudens stealing the puck and turning in a shot from the right side. The Nailers got another man advantage with 3:10 left in the contest, and they made sure the puck went into the correct net. Patrick Watling fed the puck to Sam Houde, who picked the top-right corner of the goal with a wrist shot from the left circle. Wheeling took its lead to the finish line, as it was victorious, 3-2.
Louis-Philip Guindon notched the win in goal for the Nailers, as he denied 21 of the 23 shots he faced. Samuel Harvey suffered the loss for Fort Wayne, as he made 25 saves on 28 shots.
The Central Division Semifinal Series will return to Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne for games six on Monday at 7:30. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.