WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers have taken their magic number into single digits. Wheeling played three home games in four days, and skated away with five out of six possible points. On Saturday night, the Nailers picked up one point, but the Cincinnati Cyclones ended up with two, as Brandon McNally scored at 2:02 of overtime, giving the visitors a 3-2 win. The Worcester Railers were shutout 3-0 by the Reading Royals, making the Nailers magic number nine points, with five games left in the regular season.
The Cyclones scored the lone goal of the opening period, and it came on the first shot of the contest at the 2:17 mark. Chris Leone let a slap shot go from the top of the left circle, finding the top-left corner of the cage. Wheeling generated some good offensive pressure, outshooting Cincinnati, 14-10.
The Nailers drew even with a power play marker at the 28-second mark of the middle frame. Kevin Schulze dished a pass into the right circle for Cam Brown, who roofed a wrist shot over Jason Kasdorf's left shoulder. Chris Francis notched the secondary assist.
The two sides exchanged tallies over the course of a three-minute span in the third period, with both goals coming within a few seconds of expired penalties. Wheeling took the lead at 13:34 mark. Freddie Tiffels spotted Nick Sorkin exiting the penalty box, connecting with him for a rush up the ice. Sorkin proceeded to toss a pass into the slot, where it was deflected into the net by Chris Francis. The Cyclones battled back to force overtime with 4:11 remaining, when Vasili Glotov squeezed in a shot from the bottom of the right circle.
The Nailers nearly put a successful rush together in the opening minutes of the extra session, but a pass deflected off of Eric Knodel's skate, leading Mike Barrett and Brandon McNally the other way on a 2-on-1 rush. Barrett skated down the left side, then delivered a pass to his right, where McNally's one-timer gave Cincinnati the 3-2 win.
Jason Kasdorf earned the victory in goal for the Cyclones, turning away 34 of the 36 shots he faced. Matt O'Connor suffered the overtime defeat for Wheeling, making 23 saves on 26 shots.
The Nailers and Cyclones will meet again on Tuesday at 7:05 for a Two-for-Tuesday, in which fans can get two tickets for $22. The next big promotional game is Fan Appreciation Night on March 31st at 7:05 against the Manchester Monarchs. Fan Appreciation Night will feature a diamond ring giveaway for one lucky fan, a team trading card set for the first 2,500 fans, a full team post game autograph session, and various prizes throughout the game. There is also a Family Four Pack for Fan Appreciation Night, in which fans can get four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald's Meal Vouchers for $56. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.