ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals used a career-high 44 saves by Maxime Clermont and a pair of power play goals to claim a 5-2 road win over the Wheeling Nailers on Thursday night. The win ended Wheeling's 12-game point streak and moved the Jackals to 8-11-2 on the season.
Click here for tonight's box score.
The opening 20 minutes in Wheeling treated fans to a little bit of everything; some fisticuffs, some fantastic saves, and a dramatic late goal that gave Elmira the 1-0 lead. Before Elmira was able to convert, Wheeling goalie Mike Condon stopped a Colin Jacobs breakaway, and a 2-on-1 rush when Jakub Culek tried to go high blocker side. At the other end of the ice Clermont had to be equally sharp as the Nailers tested him with 13 shots. Clermont's ability to stop each shot he faced set the stage for Ludwig Karlsson's late-period heroics. To start the play Christian Ouellet won a puck battle deep in Wheeling ice and fed a pass from behind the net to Jordan Pietrus high on the left wing. Pietrus uncorked a slap shot that was tipped in by Karlsson with just 12 seconds left in the period. The goal was Karlsson's third of the year. Jackals captain Jean Bourbeau dropped the gloves with Wheeling's Patrick McGrath at 7:26 of the first and treated the fans to a spirited scrap.
Wheeling came into Thursday's game with the league's top penalty kill at 92.6 percent, but the Jackals were unaffected by those gaudy numbers and used their power play to build up a large lead in the second. Before the power play fireworks, though, Bourbeau doubled Elmira's lead at 9:19 with an even strength score. The goal came on Elmira's third shot of the period which came so late because Wheeling carried play for much of the first half of the period thanks, in part, to an early power play. Clermont stopped six shots on that Wheeling advantage then enjoyed the view when the Jackals' power play scored on consecutive shots. Christian Ouellet made it 3-0 with a one-timer from the left circle at 11:53, and Danny New followed with a blast from the blue line at 13:06. Wheeling chipped into Elmira's lead 56 seconds after New's goal with a shot off the rush by Zach Torquato.
The third period featured a Wheeling club that was in all-out desperation mode to score the three it needed to tie the game. Wheeling held Elmira to three shots on goal and managed 15 of its own with one getting past Clermont. Wheeling was awarded 23 seconds of a 5-on-3 after Elmira was tagged for too many men on the ice at 5:10. At the very second the first penalty expired Wheeling's Mike Ratchuk unleashed a slap shot that got past a screened Clermont to bring the Nailers within two. But Clermont slammed the door from there and Rob Bellamy added an empty-net goal with 41 seconds to play to seal the win.
Clermont's 44 saves earned him his third win of the season. Mike Condon, who was pulled after giving up the fourth goal, took the loss with 12 stops. Elmira ended the night 2-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return to home ice on Thursday, December 26 to take on the Reading Royals. You don't want to miss the world famous ZOOperstars! who will be performing live during the intermission! 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.
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UPCOMING FIRST ARENA EVENTS:
Thursday, December 26: Elmira Jackals vs. Reading, 7:05 p.m. The world famous ZOOperstars! perform live. Click here for tickets.
Saturday, January 4: Elmira Jackals vs. Wheeling, 7:05 p.m. M & T Bank Thunderstick Giveaway. Click here for tickets.
Friday, January 31: Wine on Ice, 6:00 p.m. Click here for tickets.
Saturday, February 1: Wine on Ice, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. sessions. Click here for tickets.