READING, Pa. - On Wednesday night, the Wheeling Nailers extended their point streak to four games, earning their first point of the season against the Reading Royals. Unfortunately, Reading secured the bonus point, erasing a 2-0 deficit, and scoring on two of three shootout attempts for a 3-2 victory at Santander Arena.
The game got off to a fiery start, as Chaz Johnson and Bryant Molle dropped the gloves at the 16-second mark. Despite a 10-6 advantage in shots on goal for Wheeling, the two sides played to a scoreless draw during the opening stanza.
The Nailers (6-5-2 - 14) got the first goal of the game at the 2:07 mark of the second period. Zack Torquato capitalized on a Reading turnover in neutral ice, finding Matt Grassi open on the left side of the net. Grassi hesitated, before turning to his backhand, scoring his first professional goal for a 1-0 lead.
Later in the frame, Wheeling added to the lead, as Anton Zlobin wound his way around the net, hooking up with Torquato, who faked to his backhand, lifting a shot into the top of the cage. Forty seconds later, the Royals (8-4-0 - 16) broke through for their first goal as Dustin Gazley got through the defense, and slipped a shot inside of the right post, making the score 2-1 Nailers after two.
With 12:06 remaining in the third period, Reading drew even. Domenic Monardo tipped a pass to Yannick Tifu, who raced into the left circle before ripping a wrist shot into the right side of the net for the equalizer. Mike Condon and the Wheeling defense kept the Royals in check for the remainder of regulation and overtime, forcing a shootout, despite a 38-22 shots advantage for the home team.
In the shootout, Reading lit the lamp on two of its three chances, as Gazley slid a shot into the right side of the net in Round 1, while Stanislav Galiev dragged in a one-handed backhander in the third round. The Nailers were unsuccessful on all four chances.
Riley Gill earned a victory for Reading, making 20 saves on 22 shots. Condon put forth a stellar effort, but took the shootout loss, after turning away 36 of the 38 shots he faced.
The Nailers will continue their five-game road trip in Fort Wayne on Saturday, with their next home game taking place Nov. 30 against Toledo.
Wheeling0 2 0 0 - 2
Reading0 1 1 0 - 3
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Johnson Whl (fighting - major), 0:16; Molle Rea (fighting - major), 0:16; Syner Rea (slashing ), 1:55; McGrath Whl (elbowing), 4:53.
2nd Period-1, Wheeling, Grassi 1 (Torquato, MacKay), 2:07. 2, Wheeling, Torquato 3 (Zlobin, Cianfrini), 14:45. 3, Reading, Gazley 4 (Tifu, Molle), 15:25. Penalties-Johnson Whl (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:29; Banwell Rea (interference), 0:29; Miller Whl (fighting - major), 14:21; Thomas Rea (fighting - major), 14:21; Cianfrini Whl (charging, fighting - major), 15:36; Banwell Rea (fighting - major), 15:36; Areshenko Whl (delay of game), 17:59.
3rd Period-4, Reading, Tifu 2 (Monardo, Gazley), 7:54. Penalties-Torquato Whl (tripping), 3:43; Syner Rea (slashing ), 13:33; Johnson Whl (slashing ), 15:51.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout - Wheeling 0 (Zlobin NG, Gill NG, Flanigan NG, Rowney NG), Reading 2 (Gazley G, Tifu NG, Galiev G).
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 10-7-1-4-0-22. Reading 6-19-10-3-1-39.
Power-Play Opportunities-Wheeling 0-2; Reading 0-5.
Goalies-Wheeling, Condon 4-3-0-1 (38 shots-36 saves). Reading, Gill 6-2-0-0 (22 shots-20 saves).
Referee-Brett Sheva (15); Linesmen-Tom Dellafranco (68), Judson Ritter (70).