WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers ran into some difficult opposition over the weekend, as the Greenville Swamp Rabbits came in to WesBanco Arena, and skated out with a pair of victories. On Sunday afternoon, the Swamp Rabbits never trailed, building three separate leads, before ultimately taking a 5-3 final score into the win column. Bretton Cameron and Matt Johnson both scored twice for Greenville, while Garrett Meurs, Jordan Kwas, and Derek Army lit the lamp for the Nailers.
Two goals were scored in the first period, and they came in quick succession. The first team to dent the twine was Greenville, doing so on a 5-on-3 power play. Spiro Goulakos zipped a pass from circle to circle through the slot to Ahti Oksanen at the right face-off dot. Oksanen wound up and powered a one-timer into the top-right corner of the net. The Nailers answered with the equalizer 2:04 later. Kevin Schulze skated the puck deep into the left corner of the offensive zone. Garrett Meurs took a handoff from his teammate, curled to the top of the left circle, and ripped a wrist shot that went off of PJ Musico's glove and dropped in over the goal line.
The Swamp Rabbits briefly regained the lead at the 9:31 mark of the second period. Angelo Miceli worked the puck off of the left wall, before slipping a pass through the slot to Bretton Cameron, who lifted a shot up and under the crossbar from low on the right side. Wheeling had a quick answer, needing just 26 seconds to draw even. Danny Fick gathered in the puck at the right point, before wristing a pass to Andrew Ammon in the left circle. Ammon wasted little time, connecting with Jordan Kwas, who punched in a shot from right in front of the crease. With 4:53 remaining, Greenville took its third lead of the day. Bretton Cameron picked a Nailer player's pocket, then backhanded a shot into the cage from the bottom of the left circle.
Right after a power play had expired, the Swamp Rabbits added a big insurance marker. Joe Houk teed up a drive from the middle of the blueline, which was deflected in by Matt Johnson. With 3:11 left, the Nailers closed to within a goal. Derek Army cut through to the inner edge of the right circle, where he wired a shot in off of the right post. Wheeling was about to pull the goaltender for an extra attacker in the closing minutes, but before Doug Carr could reach the bench, Johnson stole the puck, and deposited his second goal of the night for a 5-3 final score.
PJ Musico won his season debut for Greenville, making 35 saves on 38 shots. Doug Carr suffered the loss for Wheeling, coming away with 20 saves on 25 shots.
The Nailers will travel to Reading to face the Royals on Wednesday night at 7:00. Wheeling will then come home for a pair of games against the Utah Grizzlies. Friday's 7:35 match features a Flat Screen Friday presented by The Highlands, as well as a Frosty Friday. Then, on Saturday at 7:05, the first celebrity appearances of the season takes place with Pittsburgh Pirates Night. Fans will be able to meet Clint Hurdle, the Pirate Parrot, and the Bucco Brigade, and the Nailers will be wearing special jerseys during the game. Black and Gold Ticket Packages are available for the three Pittsburgh sports promotions, and Holiday Packs are also on sale now through the Nailers office. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, packages, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.