WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers put forth a tremendous effort on Saturday night in their weekend finale against the Orlando Solar Bears. Unfortunately, they were only able to come away with one point, as Alex Green's goal in the final minute of overtime lifted the Solar Bears to the 3-2 road win at WesBanco Arena. Lawton Courtnall and Felix Robert both netted their first career goals for the Nailers.
The Nailers put some solid opportunities together in the opening stanza, but an unlucky bounce led to Orlando getting on the board first. Ryan Lohin's pass through the slot got blocked, but the puck deflected to Peter Abbandonato, who placed a shot into the open left side of the twine.
Wheeling wasn't discouraged, and thanks to some big saves by Shane Starrett, the home team was able to fight back and get two big goals during the final five minutes of period two. The first tally came shorthanded. Matt Alfaro gloved the puck down at his own blueline and broke away. He had his shot stopped, but Lawton Courtnall followed and lifted in the first goal of his pro career. With under 30 seconds to go, the Nailers struck for their first power play goal of the year, which was also a first for a player, as Felix Robert rifled a shot under the crossbar for the first marker of his career.
The Solar Bears pulled even in the third period, as they converted for their first power play tally of the campaign. Aaron Luchuk fed Jimmy Huntington, who zipped a wrist shot into the top-left corner from the left face-off dot. Wheeling recovered to kill another Orlando man advantage in the closing minutes of regulation to force an extra session.
Overtime featured loads of chances for each team, as there were ten shots combined shots on goal. Both netminders were spectacular, as it took until 21 seconds remained to decide a winner. Defenseman Alex Green jumped up to the bottom of the left circle, where he rang the deciding marker in off the right post, as the Solar Bears skated away with the 3-2 victory.
Garret Sparks snagged the win in goal for Orlando, as he turned away 26 of the 28 shots he faced, including all six in overtime. Shane Starrett turned in a strong performance for the Nailers, as he made 28 saves on 31 shots.
Next on the docket for the Nailers is four straight games against the Indy Fuel. The two clubs meet at Indiana Farmers Coliseum first on December 26th at 7:05, then do battle at WesBanco Arena on December 27th at 4:05 and December 31st at 6:05. Season memberships are also available for the 2020-21 season. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. 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.