WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Greenville Swamp Rabbits needed a few extra minutes to settle their game on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena, as they played the first of two head-to-head match-ups on the weekend. At the 2:13 mark of overtime, Joe Houk snapped a 2-2 tie with a rush down the left side, lifting the Swamp Rabbits to a 3-2 win. Jordan Kwas and Josh Shalla had the goals for Wheeling, including the teddy bear toss tally by Kwas.
Fans were barely able to blink before the first goal was scored, and unfortunately, it went the way of the visitors. Spiro Goulakos zipped a pass to Angelo Miceli at the bottom of the right circle. Miceli turned and swept a wrist shot on goal, which trickled through JP Anderson and into the net. Adam Chapie also picked up a helper on what turned out to be the lone tally of the stanza, despite a 13-12 shots on goal advantage for the Nailers.
At the 4:10 mark of the second period, Wheeling evened the score, with the annual teddy bear toss goal. Garrett Meurs chased down a loose puck behind the net, then fed a pass to Jordan Kwas in the slot. Kwas powered a shot through Jeff Malcolm, and a huge amount of stuffed animals proceeded to go flying over the glass at WesBanco Arena. The stuffed animals were donated to the Salvation Army for local children during the holiday season. The Nailers fed off of the emotion in the building, and scored the go-ahead goal 1:17 later. Once again, the play was generated from behind the cage, as Nick Sorkin set up Josh Shalla, who wristed a shot into the left side of the net.
In the early stages of the third period, Greenville picked up a tying goal. Michael Joly drove to the net on the right side with an attempt that was denied. However, the rebound sat free for Paul Zanette, who gobbled it up, and stashed a shot into the left side of the twine. Neither side was able to muster any more markers in the remainder of the third period, which was the most defensive of the three in regulation, resulting in 16 combined shots on net.
The game progressed to overtime, and after two excellent chances by the Nailers, the Swamp Rabbits came away victorious at the 2:13 mark. Joe Houk sped up the left side of the ice, reached the circle, and let a shot fly into the right side of the goal for the game winner in a 3-2 decision for the guests.
Jeff Malcolm got his second win in as many nights for Greenville, coming up with 31 saves on 33 shots. JP Anderson suffered his first setback of the season for Wheeling, taking an overtime loss, despite making 32 stops on the 35 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Swamp Rabbits will meet again on Sunday at 5:05. That will be a Family Funday, as McDonald's presents $6 kids tickets, and there will be a post game skate with the team (even numbered players). Next Saturday, Wheeling's first celebrity appearance takes place when Clint Hurdle joins the fun on Pittsburgh Pirates Night, as well as the Pirate Parrot and the Bucco Brigade. Black and Gold ticket packages and holiday ticket packages are 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.