GREENVILLE, SC- The Wheeling Nailers visited three cities in three days this weekend, and came away with three victories, defeating the Jacksonville Icemen, South Carolina Stingrays, and Greenville Swamp Rabbits. In Sunday's tilt at Greenville, the Nailers overcame a pair of deficits, allowing Nick Saracino the chance to be the overtime hero in a 5-4 triumph for the visitors. Troy Josephs continued his outstanding play with two goals and an assist, while Dan Fick chipped in with three helpers.
The Swamp Rabbits jumped out with a quick start, scoring twice to grab a lead in the first period. On the first goal, Michael Pelech was the recipient of a home run pass from Jordan Sims deep in the Greenville end. He broke behind the defense, and chipped a backhander into the top-left corner. Then, in the last minute of the stanza, Kevin Miller stepped up into a spacious slot, roofing a wrist shot on the right side of the cage.
The Nailers turned things around in a big way during the middle frame, scoring three times. First on the board was Alex Rauter. Dane Birks and Cedric Lacroix helped battle the puck into the slot, where Rauter swatted a one-timer through goaltender Garrett Bartus. Birks' assist was his first professional point. A few minutes later, Wheeling pulled even, as Troy Josephs drove to the slot off a Michael Phillips feed, smacking a shot into the left side of the goal. Josephs turned on the red light again later in the period to put his club ahead, doing so in highlight reel fashion. Renars Krastenbergs slipped a pass to Josephs in front of the net, who dragged the puck through his legs, before whipping it up and under the crossbar. The latter two strikes came on the power play.
The seesaw battle continued in the third period, as the Swamp Rabbits temporarily regained the lead with back-to-back tallies. Thomas Ebbing knotted the score at the 58-second mark, driving in on his backhand, before switching to his forehand to force a shot through. A little more than five minutes later, Jordan Sims got open in the slot, and buried a feed from Chris Ismirlian. The Nailers weren't about to be denied of some hard-earned points, and they forced overtime with 5:11 left, when Michael Phillips zipped in a wrist shot from the top of the left circle, tying the tilt, 4-4.
Road teams have had the say in recent play between the two squads, and that was the case at the 2:42 mark of the extra session. Nick Saracino wheeled his way down the middle, had his first shot stopped, but followed up and scored on the rebound, giving Wheeling the 5-4 victory.
John Muse was the winning netminder for the Nailers, as he made 20 saves on 24 shots. Garrett Bartus took the overtime loss for Greenville, giving up five goals on 36 shots.
The Nailers begin a three-game homestand on Wednesday night, when they play host to the Reading Royals at 7:05. Thanksgiving Eve is also Marvel Super Hero Night, which features special jerseys as well as appearances by Marvel characters. $2 beers will also be available on Wednesday, and fans can bring their tickets to Generations for free admission after the game. Family Four Packs are also available thanks to WTRF-7, as fans can get four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald's Meal Vouchers for $60. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley. For information on season tickets, group tickets, flex plans, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.