GREENVILLE, SC- The Wheeling Nailers and Greenville Swamp Rabbits battled tooth and nail to the finish line on Saturday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in a game that needed extra time to be decided. Wheeling rallied back from two separate deficits to earn a point, but the Swamp Rabbits came away with the bonus point in the final minute of overtime on Shawn Cameron's goal. Cody Sylvester lit the lamp twice for the Nailers, doing so in tying fashion each time.
Both goals in the first period were scored by the Swamp Rabbits. The first tally came at the 12:48 mark, as Ben Finkelstein wound his way around the back of the net, then placed a pass in the slot for Max Zimmer, who drove a one-timer into the right side of the cage. The assist gave Finkelstein points in ten straight games. 2:42 later, Greenville struck again. Garrett Thompson's redirection of Frank Hora's setup was stopped, but the rebound kicked out to Graham Knott, who shoveled the puck over the sprawled out Wheeling netminder.
The Nailers responded well in the second period. Nick Rivera put Wheeling on the board just nine seconds into a power play, as he swept in a wraparound from the trapezoid into the right side of the goal. Just before the midway mark of the stanza, the Nailers drew even. Patrick McNally poked the puck away in center ice, leading Cody Sylvester and Sean Josling in the other direction on a 2-on-1 break. Sylvester kept the puck to himself, zipping a shot into the right side of the cage. Wheeling held an 11-4 advantage in shots during the period, but with 7:20 to go, Frank Hora regained the lead for the Swamp Rabbits, as he launched in a one-time feed from Matthew Strome in the right circle.
A resilient Nailers team kept pushing in the third, and with 11:52 remaining, they tied the score. Sean Josling centered a perfect pass to the top of the crease, where the puck was hammered home by Sylvester for his second of the evening. Wheeling had a great chance to win the game on a late power play, but the deadlock stayed intact, as the clubs proceeded to overtime.
Greenville threw everything but the kitchen sink at the net in the extra session, outshooting Wheeling, 9-2. The Nailers had their chance to emerge victorious on a Jesse Lees breakaway, but it got thwarted, and Shawn Cameron went back the other way to stuff in the game winner for the Swamp Rabbits, giving them the 4-3 triumph.
John Lethemon had his busiest game in the season series, as he earned the win for Greenville with 34 saves on 37 shots. Louis-Philip Guindon gave Wheeling a great effort between the pipes, as he stopped 33 of the 37 shots he faced, including eight of nine in overtime.
The Nailers and Swamp Rabbits will wrap up their weekend set in Greenville on Sunday at 3:05. Wheeling will then return home on Wednesday to take on the Indy Fuel at 7:10. That game is the make-up for the previously postponed contest which was originally scheduled for April 28th. Tickets from the April 28th game may be used on May 26th. A limited number of tickets are available for Wheeling Nailers home games. 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.