ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals opened Friday night's home game against Wheeling with four consecutive goals but couldn't maintain the lead and fell 6-4 at First Arena. The loss dipped Elmira's record to 20-27-6 on the season.
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Elmira opened the game with one of its strongest first periods of the season. The Jackals pressured Wheeling into multiple turnovers and cashed in three goals off of those opportunities. Jean Bourbeau started the festivities by tipping a pass from Jakub Culek past goalie Eric Hartzell for a 1-0 Elmira lead at 6:29. Patch Alber followed up with his fifth of the year off of assists from Dane Walters and Danny Hobbs just 1:40 after Bourbeau's strike, and Mike Vaskivuo capped the barrage at 12:18 after stealing an outlet pass and scoring his 16th of the year. Elmira held a 14-9 shot advantage and starting goalie stopped all nine of Wheeling's shots to send the Jackals into the second leading 3-0.
Hobbs got the second period off on the right foot with his 15th goal of the year just 1:20 into the stanza. Kyle Bushee set him up in front with a feed from the left wing and Hobbs potted a goal with Elmira's first shot of the period. That was the best it got for the Jackals before things came unraveled. Anton Zlobin, Dustin Stevenson, Zach Torquato, Cody Sylvester, and Peter Merth scored five unanswered goals over the span of 14:58 to wipe out Elmira's lead and send the Nailers into the third with their first lead of the night.
Neil Conway came on for the start of the third in relief of Greenham and stopped each of the six shots he faced to give Elmira a chance at the tying goal. The Jackals emptied their tanks and tested Hartzell with 11 shots but none of them hit paydirt. After Conway was pulled for the extra attacker Sylvester hit the empty net with a 120-foot shot to provide Wheeling with a measure of insurance.
Greenham took his 14th loss of the season with 21 saves on 26 shots. Conway was 6-for-6 in his second relief appearance this year. Elmira ended the night 0-for-1 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return to home ice on Saturday, March 1 to take on the South Carolina Stingrays at 7:05 p.m. Texas Roadhouse is sponsoring a cowboy hat giveaway so be sure to get here early. Don't forget that groups of 10 or more who book in advance receive discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Call 607-734-7825 to get your group outing booked.