Nailers win in overtime

Photo by Joe Lovell Wheeling’s Davis Bunz (7) celebrates after scoring a goal in the second period Monday night in Game 3 of the ECHL Central Division semifinal series with Indy. The Nailers won, 3-2, in overtime to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Also pictured in the Nailers’ David Jankowski (10). Bunz had a three-point night with two assists in addition to his goal.

WHEELING — Justin Addamo scored a mere 30 seconds into overtime Monday night to give the Wheeling Nailers a thrill-packed, 3-2, decision over the Indy Fuel in Game 3 of their ECHL Central Division semifinal series inside WesBanco Arena.

“The earlier the better,” Addamo said of his game-winner. “Davis made a great play in the neutral zone and I ended up with the puck in my stick. Actually, it missed my pass and ended up with Justin Lee and passed it back to me. In my mind, I just wanted to put the puck on net, and it went in.”

Game 4 is tonight inside the downtown Wheeling venue at 7:10 with the Nailers looking to extend their lead in the best-of-7 series to 3-1.

Game 5 will be played on Saturday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa.

“Justin Addamo has had big goals for us. There’s a reason why he is our captain and our leader,” Wheeling head coach Derek Army said. “He comes big in those situations. He’s primed for everything.”

Addamo took a nifty feed from Justin Lee and Addamo one-timed the puck from the low right circle to the left of Indy goalie Mitchell Weeks, who got a piece of the rubber disc, but not enough as it trickled across the goalline. Davis Bunz also earned an assist to complete his three-point night.

“Overtimes usually end quickly or go on forever,” Army noted. “Justin made a great pass.”

Wheeling held a 2-1 advantage until the Fuel pulled even at 13:39 of the third period.

Andrew Perrott unleashed a bullet from the left point that sailed past Wheeling goaltender Jaxon Castor and into the back of the net.

“It’s never ideal that they tie it up, but we never expect it to be easy,” Army said. “I thought as a young team, it’s time to turn the page and get ready for another chapter. I thought that’s what we did.”

Wheeling played a pretty good first period as it outshot Indy 1-5 with Isaac Belliveau giving the Nailers a 1-0 lead at 11:40. The defenseman circled behind the Indy net from his left to his right looking for an open teammate, finding none he entered the slot and let loose a wrister that Weeks never saw. Matt Koopman and Addamo logged helpers.

The Fuel evened the count midway through the second period when Kyle Maksimovich backhanded a feed from Matthew Cairns past Castor. Kale Howarth also was credited with an assist.

Five minutes later, Bunz put Wheeling back on top 2-1. Tanner Laderoute sent the puck down the ice where David Jankowski passed it on to Bunz who skated into the left circle and wristed the puck past Weeks on his right side.

Indy enjoyed a 33-25 edge in shots.

Castor stopped 23 to earn the win between the pipes and the game’s No. 2 star.


— Addamo was the No. 1 star, with Bunz getting the No. 3.

–Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager Jason Spezza was present in the press box.

–Both backup goalies — Wheeling’s Ludvig Persson and Indy’s Zach Driscoll — watched from chairs adjacent to the doors by the ice leading to each team’s locker room.

–One lucky fan received two tickets to Put-in-Bay on Fan Appreciation Night.


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