WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Cincinnati Cyclones knew the fans at WesBanco Arena were hungry for hockey, so they rewarded them with sixty minutes of regulation, five minutes of overtime, and a six-round shootout. Garrett Meurs ultimately decided the game in favor of the home team, as he lit the lamp in the sixth round of the shootout for the Nailers, who were victorious, 5-4. Nick Sorkin scored twice in the game, and Colin Stevens got the win in goal.
The Nailers had a strong start to the preseason, as they controlled the majority of the early play in the first period, while jumping out to a lead. The first goal came at the 14:18 mark, when Nick Sorkin grabbed the puck out of the trapezoid and jammed a wraparound through goaltender Anthony Peters. 3:15 later, Sorkin struck again. The play began when Daniel Leavens forced a turnover in center ice, leading to a breakaway. Although that was not converted, the play was kept alive, and Sorkin ended up whacking in a loose puck on the right side of the crease. Cincinnati got on the board with 1:17 remaining in the stanza, when Jesse Schultz stole a puck on the left side, then dished a pass to Justin Danforth in the slot, who faked to his forehand, converting for the tally.
One goal was scored in the middle frame, as the Cyclones pulled even at the 3:19 mark, while playing on the man advantage. Jordan Henderson let a wrist shot go from the middle of the blueline. Winston Day Chief got a piece of Henderson's attempt, tipping it up and under the crossbar.
The seesaw tilt continued in the third period, as both teams lit the lamp twice. Wheeling took its second lead at the 5:26 mark, when Riley Bourbonnais flew down the left side of the ice, then drove to the goal, where he shifted to his backhand, sliding a shot through Jason Kasdorf's legs. Cincinnati knotted the score 61 seconds later, when Anthony Florentino slammed in a slap shot from the top of the left circle. Hunter Fejes put the home team back on top with 8:59 remaining, when he redirected Daniel Leavens' wrister from the top of the left circle for a man advantage marker. But the Cyclones came back once again, as Florentino converted on the power play from the bottom of the left circle with 2:48 left on the clock.
Neither team found the back of the net in overtime, sending the game to a shootout. Both teams came up empty in the first three rounds, before Wheeling's Cam Brown and Cincinnati's Justin Danforth scored in round four. The fifth round went by without a goal, but Garrett Meurs changed that in round six, when he potted a wrist shot from the right circle. Colin Stevens denied Andrew Radjenovic to clinch the 5-4 win for the Nailers.
The Nailers and Cyclones will meet again in preseason action on Sunday at 5:05 from WesBanco Arena. The regular season opens on October 13th and 14th in Greenville, before the Nailers play their home opener against Cincinnati on October 21st at 7:05, featuring a pregame fan fest and a performance by the band "Hit Play." To purchase tickets, or for more information on season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.