Nailers pick up a point in Toledo, but fall in OT
TOLEDO — Wednesday morning saw a back-and-forth tilt at Huntington Center, as the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye exchanged leads, and ultimately needed overtime to decide a winner. The decision went to the Walleye, as Tyler Spezia scored on his backhand at the 1:21 mark of the extra session for a 5-4 final. Jan Drozg was one of four goal scorers for the Nailers, and the only one with multiple points.
Both offenses were ready to go from the drop of the puck, as two goals went in for each squad. The first two tallies came in quick succession, as Abbott Girduckis opened the scoring with a left circle shot for Toledo, but Jan Drozg responded 29 seconds later, lifting in a rebound on the left side of the crease. The Walleye went ahead again on Justin Buzzeo’s rebound goal at the 8:05 mark, but with 1:28 remaining in the stanza, the Nailers answered again, as Cam Brown tapped in a feed from Drozg, who made a steal in the right corner.
A successful penalty kill gave Wheeling a big lift in the second period, as the visitors took the lead with a shorthanded goal, then added another marker shortly after the minor expired. Steve Johnson put the Nailers ahead for the first time in the contest, as he skated the length of the ice, before sliding a backhander through Pat Nagle. 2:18 later, Ryan Scarfo broke behind the defense, then faked to his forehand for the tally. Toledo trimmed the margin to one with 4:09 remaining, when Marcus Vela swiped in a shot from the slot.
The top-ranked power play in the ECHL knotted the score in the third period, as Brandon Anselmini wired in a one-timer from the right point, which was set up by Troy Loggins. Drozg had a chance to win the game with a breakaway in the final 30 seconds, but came up empty, sending the 4-4 tilt to overtime.
Wheeling had an early chance to create a winner, but the puck went the other way, and Tyler Spezia cut across the slot with a successful backhander.
lifting the Walleye to the 5-4 win.
Pat Nagle picked up the victory in goal for Toledo, making 28 saves on 32 shots. Alex D’Orio suffered the overtime defeat for the Nailers, despite stopping 22 of the 27 shots he faced.
The Nailers return home on Friday night for a 7:05 game against the Reading Royals, which is also Military Appreciation Night. One of the highlights of the night will be a one-of-a-kind performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Joe Everson, who paints while he sings.