ELMIRA, N.Y. - March 8, 2014 - The Elmira Jackals earned a standings point for the fourth game in a row but couldn't lay claim to their third win in a row. The Jackals fell 3-2 in overtime to the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday night at First Arena and saw their record slip to 22-27-8.
Click here for tonight's box score.
The Jackals and Nailers both had to work hard for scoring opportunities as the defenses locked down in the first period. Each team managed to send eight shots on net but goalies Neil Conway and Eric Hartzell turned away all comers. Not only were both clubs good defensively, but they were also quite disciplined as each side stayed out of the box and the entire frame was played five-on-five.
For most of the second period the sledding was just as tough as it was in the first. Things got rough just over four minutes in when Corey Bellamy and Patrick McGrath dropped the gloves in the first of two fights in the game. Elmira then picked up the first power play of the game nearly a minute later but could not cash in against Hartzell. Elmira totaled 13 shots in the second and it was lucky number 13 that hit paydirt and gave the Jackals the 1-0 lead. Patch Alber was sprung on a breakaway by Jean Bourbeau and used a backhand shot to slip the puck through Hartzell's pads for his sixth goal of the year.
On its third try of the night Elmira's power play finally cashed in and doubled the lead within the first minute of the third. Jordan Pietrus slammed home the rebound of Zach McCullough's point shot for his 10th goal of the season just 16 seconds into the frame. Wheeling counterpunched quickly and put two goals on the board 1:55 apart. Dustin Stevenson sent a fluttering backhander towards Conway from the right-wing circle and it banked off of a body into the net. Zach Torquato followed up by sending a wrist shot past a screened Conway to tie the score at 4:06. After the furious start to the third, the rest of the period was played to a scoreless draw and the teams headed to overtime.
In the extra session Mike Ratchuk found a loose puck at center and carried into the Elmira zone with some room to shoot. A low slap shot got past Conway's catching glove and gave Wheeling the win 1:37 into the sudden-death frame.
Conway stopped 28 of 31 shots sent his way as his personal record dropped to 8-2-3 on the season. Elmira ended the night 1-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return to home ice on Wednesday, March 12 to take on the Reading Royals. Willowcreek Wednesday. You could be the lucky fan selected to come onto the ice and compete for free golf from Willowcreek Golf Club. 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.