ORLANDO, FL – After five seasons, the Wheeling Nailers have finally tallied a victory against the Orlando Solar Bears in one of the most exciting games of year. The Nailers’ record against Orlando is now 1-8.
The first half of the game saw the Solar Bears get off to a rocky start, with Wheeling striking three times in the first ten minutes of the game. Wheeling’s Garrett Meurs would score first, followed by goals by Cody Wydo and Riley Bourbonnais.
In the post-game interview, head coach Drake Berehowsky expressed his disappointment with the slow start. He said,
“We weren’t prepared to play. When you spot a team three goals, it’s hard to come back from it. I was proud that they fought back at the end, but we’ve got to be more prepared to start games.”
However, just as some fans were beginning to lose hope, Orlando’s Joe Perry tallied a goal with just a second left in the period, giving the team light as they headed into the second frame.
Asked whether he was aware of how close he was to the period-ending horn, Perrys said,
“I had absolutely no idea. The only thing I knew was that when I skated by the net and saw [the puck] in the net, I heard the horn go.”
The next period would see more goals by both teams, as Meurs would score again 6:37 into the second, followed by a second goal scored by Bourbonnais to make it 5-1. Orlando wasn’t about to let this be a blowout, as Taylor Thompson and Chris Crane both got on the score sheet to make it 5-3.
The final period saw goals on goals on goals, as Dylan Zink of the Nailers scored 11:47 in. The Bears never gave up, as Perry struck again at 12:31 and Sam Jardine at 19:18 to make it 6-5. However, despite having the man advantage with 8 seconds to go, the team was unable to tie it up, as Wheeling took this wild game by a final score of 6-5.
The teams finish their three-game series on Monday night at 7 p.m. Asked what the team needs to do to be successful in the rubber match, head coach Drake Berehowsky said,
“In order for us to be successful, we’ve got to establish our forecheck, and we’ve got to not turn over so many pucks. I think yesterday, at the end of the game, our count was 13 turnovers. We had 13 turnovers at the end of two periods today. I think we were at nine at the end of the first period. That’s not good enough.”