KALAMAZOO, Mich. - For the second game in a row, the Wheeling Nailers had a third-period rally up their sleeves. Trailing 2-0 in the third, Wheeling came back with two goals, including Jack MacLellan's with 37 seconds to go, forcing overtime. Unfortunately, the Kalamazoo Wings had the final say, as they picked up a 3-2 victory on home ice, in front of 4,167 fans.
Midway th-rough the first period, the Wings got on the scoreboard first. Ryan Del Monte won a battle for the puck in the left corner of the offensive zone, before slipping a pass to Ludwig Blomstrand in the slot. Blomstrand immediately teed up a one-timer, ripping his shot just inside of the right post.
Late in the opening period, Ryley Miller dropped the gloves with Justin Taylor, as Wheeling picked up a fighting major for the sixth straight game.
In terms of shots on goal, the middle 20 minutes was one-sided, as Kalamazoo outshot the Nailers 12-2, but Eric Hartzell was perfect in the period, keeping the score 1-0.
Less than one minute into the third period the Wings extended their lead, thanks to a shorthanded marker. Wheeling lost control of the puck at the offensive blueline, leading to a breakaway opportunity, which was finished off by Del Monte.
The Nailers quickly battled back at the 4:56 mark, as Jack MacLellan sprung Cody Sylvester for a breakaway of his own, which he scored on, beating Jordan Binnington on the glove side.
Then, with 37 seconds left in regulation, Wheeling got the equalizer. Mike Ratchuk's shot from the blueline tipped out to MacLellan, who lifted a shot into the top of the cage, guaranteeing each team a point.
Justin Taylor and MacLellan exchanged goals in Round 1, before Kalamazoo took the lead on Yanni Gourde's tally in the third round. Finally, in Round 5, David Pacan clinched a victory.
Binnington recorded his first professional victory for Kalamazoo, turning aside 22 of the 24 shots he faced. Hartzell was saddled with the shootout loss, despite a 32-save effort on 34 shots.
The Nailers will visit the Fort Wayne Komets a 8 on Friday night, before returning home at 7 on Saturday night to face the Reading Royals.