ELMIRA, NY- The 2016-17 Wheeling Nailers are becoming a team known for hat tricks. On Wednesday night, Gage Quinney took center stage, delivering a performance that pulled Wheeling within six points of the final playoff spot in the North Divsion. Quinney scored three goals, including the game winner with 1:39 left in the third period, becoming the sixth Nailer this season to net a hat trick, as the team defeated the Elmira Jackals, 5-4 at First Arena.
The first period was a busy one, as the two teams combined for 27 shots on goal. Only one of those attempts found the back of the net, and it was a tally for the Nailers with 1:28 remaining. Christian Hilbrich battled his way through a poke check on the right side of the offensive zone, before sliding the puck into the high slot. Johnny Daniels darted forward to pick up the loose biscuit, ducked to his left, then roofed a shot into the top-right corner of the cage.
Elmira knotted the score at the 3:11 mark of the middle frame with a marker on the man advantage. Sebastien Sylvestre worked the puck out of the left corner to Kenton Miller in the left circle. Miller curled and dragged, before taking a shot, which he lifted into the top-right corner of the net. With three minutes to go, the Jackals took their first lead of the night. Mark Bennett made a pass from the bottom of the right circle to Sam Povorozniouk, who wired in a one-timer from the right side of the slot.
The highest scoring period of the contest was the third, and it started with the first of two equalizers from Wheeling. At the 4:03 mark, Gage Quinney's shot rocketed off of the end glass, then banked off of the netminder, and trickled in. Povorozniuk's second of the night put Elmira back in the lead at 8:08, when he blistered in a wrist shot from the right circle. Quinney answered him again, tipping in Kale Kerbashian's right circle shot with 4:26 remaining, while the Nailers were on the power play. 27 seconds later, the visitors fed off of their new momentum, as Jordan Kwas grabbed the puck in the bottom of the left circle, and steered it into the top-left corner. 2:20 after that, Wheeling picked up a huge insurance goal, as Quinney completed his hat trick, driving down the right side, and lifting a backhander underneath the crossbar. The Jackals pulled within one on Miller's second of the night, but that's as close as things got, as the Nailers were victorious, 5-4.
Doug Carr got the win for Wheeling, making 29 saves on 33 shots. Jason Kasdorf took the loss for Elmira, giving up five goals on 43 shots.
The Nailers will continue their four-game road trip on Friday night, when they visit the Adirondack Thunder at 7:00. Wheeling will be home for three games next week on March 22nd, 24th, and 25th, all against the Idaho Steelheads. The 22nd is a WesBanco Winning Wednesday, the 24th is a Flat Screen Friday and Frosty Friday, and the 25th is Nailers Fight Cancer Night. Special jerseys will be worn, with proceeds going to the Team Ryan Charitable Foundation, there will be a team trading card set giveaway, and a post game autograph session with the entire squad, plus it will be Ladies Night. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.