ORLANDO, FL- Since they came into the ECHL in 2012, the Orlando Solar Bears had been a thorn in the side of the Wheeling Nailers. That was until Sunday morning, when the Nailers got the monkey off of their backs. Garrett Meurs and Riley Bourbonnais both scored twice, and were joined in the goal column by Cody Wydo and Dylan Zink, as Wheeling held off a late surge by Orlando for a 6-5 triumph at Amway Center. Zink's tally was the game winner, while Wydo extended his point streak to 11 games.
The Nailers came out flying in the first period, scoring three times in the first 12:15, chasing Orlando goaltender Mackenzie Skapski. The first goal came at the six-minute mark, when Garrett Meurs spun in a shot from the bottom of the right circle. 23 seconds later, Freddie Tiffels stole the puck at the bottom of the left circle, then fed Cody Wydo, who powered in a one-timer from the low slot. Wydo led the rush for the third strike, skating into the offensive zone, before dishing over to Riley Bourbonnais, who whipped in a shot from the right side. Joe Perry beat the buzzer to put Orlando on the board for a 3-1 score at the intermission.
Wheeling kept its foot on the gas pedal in the middle frame, adding two more markers to its total. At the 6:37 mark, Dylan Zink tossed a shot on goal, which was kicked away, but Meurs was right there to pounce on the rebound for his second of the day. Later in the period, Bourbonnais cashed in for his second tally, taking a Jaynen Rissling pass, and ripping a shot over Cal Heeter's blocker. Tayler Thompson answered 18 seconds later for the Solar Bears, who also got a goal from Chris Crane, as the Nailers took a two-goal advantage into the third period.
Dylan Zink scored what turned out to be an enormous goal at the 11:47 mark of the final stanza, depositing a pass from Nick Sorkin at the top of the left circle, while playing on the power play. Perry's second of the contest came 44 seconds later for Orlando, who also got a goal from Sam Jardine with 42 seconds left in regulation. The Nailers held on at the end, which included a penalty kill in the last 26 seconds, as they were victorious, 6-5.
Adam Morrison got the win in goal for Wheeling, making 38 saves on 43 shots. Cal Heeter was the losing goaltender in relief for the Solar Bears, as he gave up three goals on 24 shots, taking over for Mackenzie Skapski, who was solved three times on ten attempts.
The Nailers and Solar Bears will conclude their three-game series on Monday night at 7:00. Wheeling will then return home for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday. Friday is Olympics Night and a Frosty Friday against the Fort Wayne Komets at 7:05. Saturday is Ladies Night against the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7:05. The next big promotional game is Pittsburgh Penguins Night on March 10th. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.