WHEELING, WV – The 2015-16 Wheeling Nailers have rewritten history again. On Monday night, they and the Reading Royals were deadlocked 2-2 at the end of two periods, before an all-time offensive outburst took place.
Wheeling exploded for six goals in the third period, setting a team record with eight goals in a playoff game, as the Nailers tied the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series, 3-3, with an 8-3 thumping of the Royals at WesBanco Arena. Seven different players lit the lamp, including Derek Army, Jarrett Burton, Dan O’Donoghue, and Brett Stern, who all scored their first goals of the postseason.
The Royals got on the scoreboard first at the 2:38 mark of the contest, courtesy of a fortunate bounce. Ian Watters let a wrist shot go from the right point, which deflected off of Scott Tanski, popping over Brian Foster and into the cage.
Wheeling had a quick answer, netting the equalizer 3:15 later. John McCarron and Ty Loney won a battle behind the cage, swinging the puck to Paul Cianfrini at the left point. He dished over to Mathew Maione, who blasted a one-timer, getting a redirect from Loney.
The Nailers took their first lead of the evening with 3:05 remaining, tallying their ninth power play goal of the playoffs. Maione once again got the lead helper, as he set up Brett Stern for a one-time rocket from the right point.
One goal was scored in the middle frame, and it was Reading pulling even on the power play. The puck got worked around to the left circle, where Cam Reid rang a shot off of the post. The rebound deflected out to Adam Comrie, who passed on an open shot, and instead utilized defensive partner Maxim Lamarche to blow a shot in off of the left post.
The third period was simply epic, and it started with a goal at the 33-second mark. Maione’s shot from the right side of the slot got denied, but McCarron picked up the rebound and swept it into the right side of the cage.
Insurance came at the 8:13 mark, when the Nailers netted their second of three power play markers. McCarron slid a pass through the slot to Jarrett Burton, who roofed a wrist shot from the left circle. 2:37 later, the barrage of goals continued, as Clark Seymour dented the twine from the middle of the slot, after Cody Wydo won a puck battle in the trapezoid. Dan O’Donoghue netted his first of the postseason with 5:15 left off of a cross-slot pass from Shane Bakker. Derek Army’s empty netter and O’Donoghue’s second of the stanza completed the six-goal frame for Wheeling, before Nikita Kashirsky‘s tally made the final score 8-3 in favor of the Nailers.
Brian Foster earned his fifth win of the playoffs for Wheeling, making 32 saves on 35 shots. Adam Morrison was beaten seven times on 46 shots, as he received his first loss of the series for Reading.
With their six-goal onslaught, the Nailers tie an ECHL postseason record for the most goals in one period. The eight goals allowed by Reading ties Cincinnati for the most allowed in one game in this year’s playoffs.
The Nailers will play host to the first game seven at WesBanco Arena on Wednesday night at 7:05.
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