GREENVILLE, S.C. - For the second time in less than two weeks, Luke Pither found himself putting the punctuation mark on a victory for the Wheeling Nailers. With 1:10 left in overtime on Friday night, Pither did just that, picking up a rebound, and lifting Wheeling to a 5-4 victory against the Greenville Road Warriors at BI-LO Center. The victory gives the Nailers points in eight straight games, and 13 of 16 overall.
The Nailers opened the scoring toward the end of the first period, as they netted a power play goal for the 12th game in a row. Andrew Hotham took advantage of extra time and space at the top of the right circle, before wristing a shot on goal. The initial shot was stopped, but Chris Barton was there to hammer in the rebound for his seventh goal in six games. However, the Road Warriors came back with a quick answer, knotting the score 1:17 later.
Offense continued to be the theme in the second period, as the two sides combined to turn on the red light five times. Wheeling started the scoring 1:09 in, when Cody Wild found the back of the net with a low shot from high in the slot. 1:37 later, the lead was extended, as Wild's initial shot from the right point was stopped, but Scott Zurevinski and Paul Crowder battled for the rebound, with Crowder ultimately banging in his 10th of the season. Greenville battled back to tie the game with a pair of tallies by Brendan Connolly - one on a breakaway pass from Marc-Olivier Vallerand, and the other off of the rebound of Lee Baldwin's initial chance. With 3:02 remaining in the stanza, the Nailers regained the lead. Daultan Leveille slipped past the defense, then lifted a shot up over Nathan Lieuwen's right shoulder.
With 3:35 left in the third, the Road Warriors forced overtime.Vallerand dished a pass through the slot to Jordie Johnston netted his second of the game.
In the extra session, the Nailers gained the upper hand. Pither slipped a pass through the crease to Barton, who nearly ended the game, if not for a splendid save by Nathan Lieuwen. However, Pither was there for the rebound, as he netted his second overtime marker of the year, winning the game, 5-4. The overtime goal was Wheeling's first on the road this season.
Wheeling 1 3 0 1 - 5
Greenville 1 2 1 0 - 4
1st Period-1, Wheeling, Barton 8 (Hotham, Wild), 18:23 (PP). 2, Greenville, Johnston 5 (Connolly, Haines), 19:39. Penalties-Merth Whl (hooking), 8:35; Connolly Grn (hooking), 12:03; Reynolds Grn (elbowing), 17:40.
2nd Period-3, Wheeling, Wild 5 (Pither, Higgins), 1:09. 4, Wheeling, Crowder 10 (Lenes, Zurevinski), 3:46. 5, Greenville, Connolly 10 (Vallerand), 7:31 (SH). 6, Greenville, Connolly 11 (Baldwin, Vallerand), 10:25. 7, Wheeling, Leveille 4 (Wild, Sneep), 16:58. Penalties-Ross Whl (fighting - major), 6:28; Wilson Grn (roughing, fighting - major), 6:28.
3rd Period-8, Greenville, Johnston 6 (Vallerand, Reynolds), 16:25. Penalties-Fergus Whl (hooking), 2:31; Wild Whl (tripping), 4:41; Hansen Whl (slashing ), 11:56.
OT Period-9, Wheeling, Pither 9 (Barton), 3:50. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 11-21-6-6-44. Greenville 9-11-17-2-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 1 / 3; Greenville 0 / 4.
Goalies-Wheeling, Darling 5-5-0-1 (39 shots-35 saves). Greenville, Lieuwen 10-8-0-1 (44 shots-39 saves).
Referees-Tyler Puddifant (28).
Linesmen-James Frommert (65), Mike Sheehan (90).