WHEELING, WV- Garrett Meurs had a birthday to remember on Friday night, as the Wheeling Nailers put together a thrilling comeback against the Norfolk Admirals at WesBanco Arena. Meurs tallied one goal and three assists, and set up Riley Bourbonnais for the game winning strike at 2:19 of overtime, as Wheeling erased a 3-0 deficit to win, 4-3.
Norfolk got off to a fast start, scoring twice in the opening two minutes of play. The first goal was created by a play off of the wall, as Grant Besse set up Christian Horn for an attempt. Colin Stevens made the save, but the rebound was swatted into the net by Brodie Dupont. The Admirals added to their lead 36 seconds later. Domenic Alberga let a shot go from the slot, finding the left side of the twine. Wheeling made a goaltending change after that strike, as Will King took over in the crease.
Another early goal gave the visitors a 3-0 lead at the one-minute mark of the second period. John Rey fed Darik Angeli, who roofed a shot from the left circle. The Nailers began to battle their way back with a pair of successful penalty kills, as well as two goals. The first tally came on the man advantage. Dylan Zink bodied the puck down at the blueline, before sliding a pass over to Garrett Meurs, who clobbered a one-timer into the top-right corner of the cage. Later in the stanza, Wheeling pulled within one. Meurs tapped the puck into the high slot, where Zach Tolkinen faded away with a wrist shot, which found a home in the left side of the net.
With 7:55 left in the third period, the Nailers got the equalizer. Cam Brown sent a pass to Meurs, who returned the favor, and Brown promptly shoveled a shot into the left side of the goal, forcing overtime with a 3-3 deadlock.
Meurs' magical night continued in the extra session, as he stole the puck from a Norfolk defender, before setting up Riley Bourbonnais, whose backhander went through Jamie Murray's legs for the overtime winner at 2:19, as well as a 4-3 final score.
Will King earned the victory for Wheeling, making 24 saves on 25 shots in relief of Colin Stevens, who was 2-for-4. Jamie Murray took the overtime loss for the Admirals, stopping 42 of the 46 shots he faced.
The Nailers will close out their four-game homestand on Saturday night, when they face the Admirals again at 7:05. That night's promotion is Bricks & Kids Night, and the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive an OYO Sports Figurine. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.