WHEELING - The summary will not show Ryley Miller's biggest contribution Friday night.
The rookie Wheeling defenseman leveled Elmira's Matt Carter at center ice, incensing the forward to the point that he was whistled for a retaliatory tripping minor with eight seconds remaining in regulation. Twenty seconds into the extra session, with the Nailers working on a 4-on-3 power play that was ultimately the result of Miller's physicality, the team's three-game losing streak was a thing of the past.
Myles Harvey received a pass from Jack MacLellan in the right circle and blasted his second goal of the season past Elmira (9-16-4 - 22) goaltender Scott Greenham to give the Nailers (15-10-5 - 35) a 3-2 victory at WesBanco Arena. Coupled with Reading's loss to Toledo, Wheeling holds a four-point lead in the Atlantic Division heading into tonight's return game with the Jackals at First Arena.
''It's a big win so I am more happy for the team than I am myself,'' Harvey said. MacLellan ''kind of made it easy for me (because) he was walking up there and kind of took the D-men with him and I saw a spot.
''I opened up and got prepared and he gave me the pass right in the wheelhouse, and I tried to bury it as hard as I could and it went in.''
According to MacLellan, that was just the way Wheeling coach Clark Donatelli drew it up.
''The puck was rolling on me and then I was kind of up high on the umbrella and Harvey went underneath and nobody really was on him,'' MacLellan recalled. ''I saw he was open and he's got the hardest one-timer on the team.
''He was there so I just let the big dog eat and he put it in.''
Harvey seemed a fitting choice to win the game, considering he nearly scored a couple of times on similar plays, albeit a lot farther from the net.
''I had a couple chances earlier and it was bound to go in if you keep shooting it,'' he said. ''The ratios are on your side.
''We kind of needed it.''
Did they ever.
Wheeling had lost 7 of 8 following a 12-game point streak, but benefited from the return of goaltender Mathieu Corbeil from the AHL. Corbeil made a number of clutch stops on his way to a 34-save performance, but his defining sequence came with 2:54 remaining in the second with the Nailers clinging to a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Colin Mulvey's third of the season, this one off assists by Max MacKay and Sahir Gill.
Elmira's Jordan Pietrus had a beautiful chance that Corbeil turned away, but the rebound found Rob Bellamy, who was likewise robbed. The opportunities came no more than three seconds apart.
''The puck popped out front and (Pietrus) had it on his stick, but he didn't have much time because I knew guys would jump on him,'' Corbeil said. ''I just tried to seal the bottom ... as much net as I could and he shot it off my pads.
''(Bellamy) in the slot got it back and I kind of anticipated he was going to go high because the other one went low. Not that I was cheating, but I just saw the play so slowly in my head.''
The Jackals did manage to tie things later in the period as Carter was the recipient of a feed from Christian Ouellet and tapped in his eighth of the season, on the power play, with two seconds remaining in the second.
''We had some lapses but Elmira always plays us tough,'' Donatelli said. ''I thought we managed the puck well and we had control and we were shooting the puck a lot more.
''We haven't had a good first period in a while so it was key for us to go out and set the pace.''
MacLellan momentarily gave Wheeling a 3-2 lead with a highlight-reel goal at 5:45 of the third, his eighth of the season. MacLellan found the puck on his stick near the crease.
''(Scott Zurevinski) threw it out front to me and it hit a guy's skate and then it was there,'' MacLellan said. ''I just kind of remember thinking I had time to pull it to my backhand, so that's what I did.
''I was pretty excited and you could probably tell because normally I don't show that much emotion after a goal.''
However, less than five minutes later, Patch Alber backhanded the puck past Corbeil for his second of the season, and there was no further scoring in regulation.
''That's how you get everyone involved - you don't lean on one guy and you don't put all your chips on one thing,'' said Wheeling's Shane Bakker, who created a handful of scoring chances and ended with three shots. ''I think, middle of the year, you always have the dog days and I think we just came through that.
''The way we get out of that is hard work, and we did that.
''I think we got away from that in the last couple weeks but we found it again.''
Elmira0 1 1 0 - 2
Wheeling1 0 1 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Wheeling, Mulvey 3 (MacKay, Gill), 17:42. Penalties-Bourbeau Elm (tripping), 5:38.
2nd Period-2, Elmira, Carter 8 (Ouellet, Culek), 19:57 (PP). Penalties-Carter Elm (interference), 7:37; Johnson Whl (roughing), 7:37; Harvey Whl (holding), 18:58.
3rd Period-3, Wheeling, MacLellan 6 (Zurevinski, Lagace), 5:45. 4, Elmira, Alber 2 (Bellamy, McCullough), 10:21. Penalties-McGrath Whl (high-sticking), 3:09; Carter Elm (tripping), 19:52.
OT Period-5, Wheeling, Harvey 2 (MacLellan, Gill), 0:20 (PP). Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Elmira 6-14-16-0-36. Wheeling 15-10-9-1-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Elmira 1-2; Wheeling 1-2.
Goalies-Elmira, Greenham 5-8-1-1 (35 shots-32 saves). Wheeling, Corbeil 3-1-0-0 (36 shots-34 saves).
Referee-Ryan Murphy (10); Linesmen-Ryan Daisy (64), Justin Eckman (72).