Greenville Comeback, Down Nailers
GREENVILLE, SC- Greenville is going to be one of the cities that the Eastern Conference Playoffs goes through, as the Swamp Rabbits clinched home ice advantage in the first round at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Nailers had a 2-1 lead after two periods on goals by Patrick McNally and Patrick Watling, but Greenville rallied with two in the third for a 3-2 comeback triumph.
Both teams netted a goal in the opening stanza, as the Nailers struck early, then Greenville responded late. Wheeling's goal started in the neutral zone, where Austin Fyten led Patrick McNally into an open left side of the offensive zone. McNally took the puck into the left circle, then roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner. The Swamp Rabbits were about to go on a power play in the final minute, but scored before the whistle, as Anthony Wyse whipped in a wrist shot from the inner edge of the left circle.
The Nailers got a big marker in the second period, as they capitalized on a two-man advantage. Fyten played the role of setup man again, as he fed Patrick Watling for a one-time rocket from the top of the right circle. All five Wheeling players were below the tops of the circles on the goal, which put the visitors ahead 2-1 after two.
The script took a turn in the opening minute of the third, as Greenville knotted things up. Frank Hora's shot missed wide, but Garrett Thompson snatched the rebound off the end wall and tucked it into the cage. There was a lengthy review, but the goal counted. Less than four minutes later, the Swamp Rabbits took their first lead of the day. Matt Bradley sent Max Zimmer speeding in down the left side of the offensive zone, and Zimmer kept it simple, as he zipped a shot in along the ice. The Nailers put heavy pressure on the Greenville net in the closing minutes, but were unable to net a tying tally, as the Swamp Rabbits closed out their 3-2 win.
Ryan Bednard got the victory in goal for Greenville, as he made 24 saves on 26 shots. Tommy Nappier had another good outing for Wheeling by stopping 33 of the 36 shots he faced in the defeat.
The Nailers will play their final road game of the season on Tuesday night, when they visit the South Carolina Stingrays at 7:05. Wheeling will then put the finishing touches on the 2020-21 season with two home games on June 4th and 5th. Both are 7:10 starts against the Indy Fuel, with Superman night on Friday and Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday. A limited number of tickets are available for Wheeling Nailers home games. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. 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.