WHEELING, W.Va. - The Elmira Jackals opened their preseason schedule with a wild 5-4 overtime win over the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena. Elmira was able to overcome a 4-1 deficit with four unanswered power play goals over the final 2:04 of regulation and overtime.
Click here for tonight's box score.
Elmira got off to an inauspicious start in the first period when rookie goalie Mike McDonald handled the puck in the no-play zone and gave the Nailers a power play 1:07 into the game. Eight seconds before the Jackals returned to full strength Patrick McGrath jammed home a loose puck for a 1-0 Nailers lead.
Just moments later the game erupted in fisticuffs when two concurrent scraps broke out. Elmira's Matt Caranci tangled with Wheeling's Nick Kuqali while Olivier Croteau and McGrath battled at center ice. Croteau and McGrath had their nights end as a result of their secondary altercation. The final fight of the period was Elmira's Mike Monfredo against Justin Smith.
Wheeling's offense poured in two more goals - one on a power play and the other just seconds after a power play expired. Tyler Fernandez capitalized on a Jackals turnover and beat McDonald with a wrist shot from between the circles at 11:45. Just 2:41 later Russell Goodman tipped home a point shot from Paul Cianfrini for the Nailers' second power play goal of the period.
The second period didn't feature the same fireworks as the first period did, but Wheeling was able to extend its lead. Max MacKay fired a wrist shot from the right wing that deflected off the shoulder of McDonald and in at 10:02. That prompted a goaltending change for both teams as Nick Niedert relieved McDonald and Joey Spagnoli replaced Wheeling starter Mike Condon.
The Jackals began their comeback early in the third period when Cornell alum Locke Jillson blistered a slap shot past goalie Joey Spagnoli 49 seconds into the stanza. Elmira really kicked things into gear after a five-minute boarding major to Tyler Fernandez with 2:58 to play. Cody Dion began the barrage at 17:56 and was followed by Tyler Noseworthy at 18:16 and Matt Caranci at 19:24. Each of the three power play goals were scored with goalie Nick Niedert pulled for the extra attacker.
Dane Walters assisted on two of the three goals to close out the third, and also assisted on the overtime winner by rookie defenseman Mathieu Gagnon. The Jackals converted on a two-man advantage for the winner thanks to a late boarding penalty to Zach Torquato.
Niedert picked up the win with 19 saves on 19 shots. The Jackals finished the night 4-for-7 on the power play and 5-for-7 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals open their home schedule for their seventh season of ECHL hockey on Friday, October 25 against the Reading Royals at 7:05 p.m. Don't miss a minute of the action with Jackals season tickets. They offer the best discount off of the box office price and come with great benefits like merchandise discounts, exclusive meet-and-greets with the team, ticket exchange, and more. Call 607-734-7825 to order your season tickets today. They start as low as $10 per game!
# # #
UPCOMING FIRST ARENA EVENTS:
Thursday, October 10: Gary's Body Shop Comedy Club at First Arena featuring Rob Steen. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Click here to order tickets.
Saturday, October 12: Elmira Jackals Exhibition Game vs. Reading, 7:05 p.m. Click here to order tickets.
Sunday, October 13: Piccadilly Circus. Family fun at three shows - 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. Click here to order tickets.
Thursday, October 17: Air Supply Live in Concert. Show begins at 7:00 p.m. and tickets start at $25.75. Click here to order tickets.
Friday, October 19: Art of Combat V. Preliminary card begins at 4:30 and main card begins at 7:00. One ticket covers both cards! Click here to order tickets.
Friday, October 25: Elmira Jackals Home Opener vs. Reading, 7:05 p.m. Click here to order tickets.