Wheeling Nailers Open Road Trip With OT Thriller Over Greenville Swamp Rabbits

The Wheeling Nailers opened a three-game road trip, which they started in Greenville against the Swamp Rabbits on Wednesday. Both teams had entered the night only scoring first twice, but this time, it was the Swamp Rabbits who got on the board early with a goal from Matt Wedman.

While that put them up 1-0, that lead wouldn’t last long, as Cody Sylvester would tie game, putting in a wrister to knot the game up at one. For Sylvester, it was his first game back after missing three prior, being sidelined with an injury.

The goal would be his 11th point in 11 career games against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Shortly after, winger Lawton Courtnall would steal the puck away from centre ice and go on the breakaway, with a backhander past John Lethemon. Courtnall’s shorthanded goal would put the Nailers up ahead 2-1. For Courtnall, it was his second of the season, as the Wheeling Nailers entered the second with the lead.

Emily Lipshetz/The Puck Authority

The Swamp Rabbits once again got the scoring started, as defensemen Frank Hora would wrap around the Nailers net and pass to winger Joey Haddad, who scored a beautiful one timer. While that tied the game at two apiece, the Nailers would answer back a minute later, as Cody Sylvester got the puck to Ryan Scarfo, who returned to Wheeling after Reading opted out. That would put them ahead, now carrying a 3-2 lead on the Swamp Rabbits.

Greenville, however, wasn’t done, as forward Greg Meireles sent a laser to Max Zimmer, who tipped the puck in to tie the game up at three. The Swamp Rabbits controlled the second period, outshooting the Nailers by nine, 15-6.

For the third time on Wednesday night, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits would strike first on the scoreboard, as Samuel Jardine would get the puck to Ryan Zuhlsdorf for a power play goal in his Greenville debut. But once again, the Nailers answered right back, as winger Sean Josling, just 33 seconds later, would net the puck past Lethemon to knot the game up at four. Similar to the second, it would be Wheeling outshot a second time, however, that was the extent of the scoring for the evening.

Wheeling Nailers/ECHL

That would mean sending the Nailers into sudden death overtime in back-to-back games. Greenville started overtime hot, however, would later make some costly mistakes, this leading to a Wheeling five-on-three. With the two-man advantage, Patrick Watling sent the puck to Matt Alfaro, who would one-time a shot in the direction of Lethemon, however, the rebound would bounce right back to him, a perfect setup for the game-winning goal.

With the 5-4 victory, Wheeling’s record improves to 2-3-3. The team continues their road trip on Friday as they visit the Fuel before returning back home. Puck drop at Indiana Farmers Coliseum is scheduled to fall at 7:05pmET.

My Three Stars:

1. Matt Alfaro, Wheeling

2. Sean Josling, Wheeling

3. Frank Hora, Greenville

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