WHEELING - Wheeling forward Andrew Orpik says his team has a 'we're not afraid of anyone attitude.' The Nailers proved that after the final horn had sounded Friday night at WesBanco Arena, following a couple blatant cheap shots to goaltender Peter Delmas by Greenville players T.J. Reynolds and Brendan Connolly.
Both benches emptied - coaches, trainers and equipment managers included - with Reynolds leaving the bench to instigate a fight with Wheeling's Doug Rogers and Connolly receiving a match penalty for spearing. Each is probably looking at a suspension.
But as Delmas showed with his right index finger, the scoreboard was all that mattered: Wheeling 2, Greenville 1. At least one team is headed back to South Carolina after tonight's Game 5, and the Nailers don't plan on making the trip.
Wheeling goaltender Peter Delmas celebrates after Friday’s game. He made 29 saves.
Wheeling leads the Best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinal 3-1 against the top-seeded Road Warriors, with an elimination game forthcoming.
''They can't run the goalie there, and that's Reynolds,'' Drulia said. ''When he goes in there after Delly, that's just unacceptable. We all jumped in there.
''Doug Rogers is fighting Reynolds? Are you kidding me? It's a joke, and if Reynolds isn't suspended for the rest of the playoffs it's disheartening.''
Wheeling leads series, 3-1
Thursday: Wheeling 4, Greenville 3.
Friday: Greenville 2, Wheeling 1, OT
Wednesday: Wheeling 3, Greenville 2
Friday: Wheeling 2, Greenville 1
Tonight: Greenville at Wheeling, 7:35 p.m.
*Tuesday, April 26: Wheeling at Greenville, 7:35 p.m.
*Wednesday, April 27: Wheeling at Greenville, 7:35
Orpik, who had to have his mouth numbed prior to the opening faceoff because of a severe toothache, was strong in this one. He knotted the game at 1-1 in the first after Greenville had opened the scoring 4:40 in, and assisted on the game-winner.
''I think you look at the way they went through the regular season and they're not a team that's used to losing,'' said Orpik, who notched his second of the postseason after rebounding his own blocked shot. ''The way we're playing right now, we're playing a frustrating game for them. They're used to those high-scoring games where it's a lot of free-flowing up and down the ice, but we've been pretty gritty taking it to some of those smaller forwards.
''I think if you look at the end of the game, the frustration really set in for them. I think the league will take a look at what happened and hopefully we'll come out on the right side of the decision. They're certainly frustrated and they're showing it.''
Delmas likely has a big hand in that. He was stellar again, turning away 29 of 30, the only blemish being Sean Berkstresser's second to break the ice on a turning shot in the slot.
''That was the easiest game, I think,'' Delmas said. ''We played our best game offensively and defensively, so it made it easy on me.
''You want to win every game, and the next game, if we win it, it's over and we don't have to worry about travel and all that stuff.''
No stranger to fighting, Delmas could only laugh when Greenville goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu, who earned his second loss in as many starts this series, offered to drop the gloves.
''I'm not going to fight him because who knows who's going to play (tonight) for them,'' Delmas said. ''If he's not going to play then he's going to do something stupid like that. I'm not going to get suckered into anything like that.
''Maybe if it was the regular season I would have.''
ECHL Director of Officiating Joe Ernst was in attendance Friday night. He immediately left the arena to review the tape, and said the league will render its decision early this morning.
Bedard, who was a healthy scratch for Game 3, was the unlikeliest of heroes. He circled the net at 4:13 of the second and beat Beckford-Tseu with a bad-angle shot for his first of the postseason.
''Stan told me before the game to just shoot it at the net,'' Bedard said.
Drulia was impressed with the play of 'Bedsie,' who followed the coach over from the IHL.
''Bedsie sat out Wednesday and came out and had (a goal and an assist),'' Drulia said. ''Orpik, we've been stressing with him to put pucks on the net.
''Not two of the prettiest goals you've ever seen, but they both went in the back of the net.''
Everyone in the Wheeling locker room stressed how important composure will be at the beginning of what they hope will be the series clincher.
''We're such a young team and the guys are fired up,'' Drulia said. ''We've got three-fourths of what we need here, but a hundred percent of the work to do.
''I got in there real quick to try to calm the guys down and I'm still trying to catch my breath. We need to be level-headed walking into the game.''
Greenville1 0 0 - 1
Wheeling1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Greenville, Berkstresser 2 (Chappell, McKelvie), 4:40. 2, Wheeling, Orpik 2 (Bedard, Rogers), 9:35. Penalties-Rogers Whl (high-sticking), 16:44.
2nd Period-3, Wheeling, Bedard 1 (Orpik, Henningson), 7:13. Penalties-Klassen Grn (cross-checking), 3:00; Berkstresser Grn (roughing), 3:20; Haddad Whl (roughing), 3:20; Connolly Grn (slashing ), 4:39; Haddad Whl (unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:10; Cole Grn (double - roughing), 14:47; Crowder Whl (roughing), 14:47.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Vallerand Grn (misconduct), 12:01; Bourdon Grn (misconduct - continuing altercation), 20:00; Connolly Grn (match - spearing), 20:00; Reynolds Grn (instigating, fighting - major, game misconduct instigator in final 5 minutes or ot, game misconduct - leaving the players bench), 20:00; Bushee Whl (roughing, misconduct - continuing altercation), 20:00; Rogers Whl (fighting - major), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-Greenville 11-6-13-30. Wheeling 6-7-8-21.
Power-Play Opportunities-Greenville 0 / 2; Wheeling 0 / 3.
Goalies-Greenville, Beckford-Tseu 2-2-0-0 (21 shots-19 saves). Wheeling, Delmas 6-1-1-0 (30 shots-29 saves).
Referee-Graham Skilliter (11); Linesmen-Matt Macpherson (83), Ray King (39).