WHEELING, WV – After trailing by two just 1:17 in and allowing another goal one minute into the second, things looked bleak for the hometown Wheeling Nailers. However, they got a power play goal after two excellent penalty kills and score four unanswered to defeat the Norfolk Admirals 4-3 in overtime on Friday night.
Once again, it’s a very fast start. Brodie Dupont stuffed home the rebound of a Christian Horn shot and Norfolk quickly got out to a 1-0 lead. Grant Besse also picked up an assist at 0:41.
Just 36 seconds later, the Admirals doubled the lead. Domenic Alberga was able to beat Colin Stevens with an assist from Alex Pompeo at 1:17. That goal would be the end of the night for Stevens and Will King came in relief for Wheeling.
Another first minute goal starts the second as Darik Angeli fired one past King from the left faceoff circle. John Rey and T.J. Melancon picked up assists on Angeli’s 13th at 1:00 of the second
With Rey off for a slash, the Nailers’ Garrett Meurs fires an absolute rocket from the right faceoff circle that beats Murray high glove side off the bar and in to get the hosts on the board. Dylan Zink with the lone assist on the power play marker at 6:44.
Via a great play in the offensive zone by Meurs, the puck was left in the high slot and gathered in by Zach Tolkinen. Tolkinen took a step back and fired a shot on net. The puck found its way past Murray and the Nailers were back to within one at 13:29 of the second.
The third period progressed quickly with the hosts trailing. Wheeling was getting chances but as has been the case, the puck just wasn’t bouncing their way. With just over 12 minutes played in the period, Jaynen Rissling fired a pass to Cam Brown. Brown then snapped a pass to a charging Meurs. Meurs left the puck low in the faceoff circle and Brown shoveled it past Murray to draw the game even at 3, eventually sending the game to overtime.
Two minutes into the extra session, Meurs would again make the play that sets up the game winner. As Melancon came out from behind his net, Meurs poked the puck off Melancon’s stick and into the right faceoff circle. Riley Bourbonnais picked it up and took a stride toward the net before firing home the game winner at 2:19 of the overtime period. Meurs with the only assist on the play and the man celebrating his 25th birthday had a four-point night as he was involved with all four Nailer goals in the contest.
King earned his fifth victory of the season, coming in 1:17 of the contest and only allowing one goal on 25 shots. Murray was saddled with the overtime loss as he allowed four goals on 46 shots. His record now stands at 3-5-2-1. This is just the sixth time in 20 games that Wheeling has outshot their opponent and won. This was also the first time this season that the Nailers won after trailing at the end of the second period (0-10-0-0 prior to Friday night). This was the tenth comeback win of the season for the black and Vegas gold, and fourth win when trailing by two or more goals.
Bourbonnais was named the number one star of the game with Meurs and King the second and third respectively.
The teams will return to WesBanco Arena ice on Saturday night for the rematch and conclusion of the season series between the two. Puck will drop at 7:05pm EST.