WHEELING, WV – Once again, the Nailers found themselves down after two periods of play. Once again, “puck luck” was not going Wheeling’s way. Once again, the Nailers would need a hero or two to make a couple of plays and get this one at least tied, if not win it in regulation. After tying the game in the middle of the third, the game winner and an insurance marker were scored in the final two minutes to get the Nailers the weekend sweep and to take the season series four games to two.
It would take a bit longer for either team to get on the scoreboard. Reid Gardiner sent a pass out to Nick Sorkin, who fired a shot on goal. Ty Reichenbach made the save. The rebound slid into the low slot and Dan Milan skates in and fired the loose puck into the top left corner of the net for his fourth of the season and a 1-0 Wheeling lead at 13:44 of the first.
Five minutes into the second, the Admirals finally solved King. Alex Pompeo’s shot went low and to the glove side and the game was tied at 1. Domenic Alberga and TJ Melancon with the assists at 5:35 of the second.
Just over a minute later, Norfolk would get the lead as Patrick D’Amico beat King to the stick side. Michael Young and Don Olivieri with the helpers at 6:40.
Enter hero number one. JC Campagna gloved a Dylan Zink shot to get it below the crossbar before whacking it out of the air into the net to tie the game at two. Kevin Schulze also picked up an assist on the play. Campagna’s seventh of the season and first as a Nailers was at 11:09 of the third.
Enter hero two. Cam Brown found the rebound of a shot by Garrett Meurs, skated it into the low slot and fired it behind Reichenbach to give the hosts back the lead at 18:00 of the third. Danny Fick also credited with an assist on Brown’s 11th of the season.
Trailing now by one, Norfolk pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. Zach Tolkinen flipped a puck up into the air from his own goal line. Campagna would out skate the defenders to tap home the empty net goal, his eighth goal of the season, to put this one out of the visitors’ reach.
King got his second win in as many games as he stopped 37 of 39 shots. His record improves to 6-3-1-0. Reichenbach suffered the loss, making 44 saves on 47 shots (Nailers had 48 shots in game due to empty net goal) and he sees his record fall to 9-10-2-0. Wheeling’s power play failed to score on its lone attempt of the night while the Nailer penalty killers held the Admiral power play at bay as well on all three of their opportunities.
Both teams are now on the All-Star break. Wheeling will return to action on Friday in Manchester to battle the Monarchs at 7:00 pm EST.