ORLANDO, FL - The Wheeling Nailers have battled tooth and nail with the opposition all season long, as Saturday night's game marked the 13th time in 39 games that overtime was needed.
Despite a two-goal performance by Peter Lenes, the Solar Bears came away victorious, as Scott Tanski scored at 2:27 of overtime, lifting Orlando to a 3-2 win at Amway Center.
The Nailers opened the scoring at the 11:35 mark of the first period, as they connected on the power play for the fifth game in a row. Lenes skated to the left face-off dot, before ripping a wrist shot short side on John Curry. Chris Barton returned to the lineup from the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, picking up an assist on the goal, along with Zach Hansen, who has points in four straight games.
Orlando had a quick answer on Rob Mignardi's equalizer from the bottom of the right circle 33 seconds later, but the tied score lasted for an even shorter time. Scott Zurevinski flew ahead on the left side, centering the puck to Lenes, who found the net for his second of the night, just nine seconds after the Solar Bears' tally. Paul Crowder also notched a helper, in his first game back from the AHL Penguins.
With 2:35 left in the second period the Solar Bears evened the score. Ryan Cruthers took a shot from the left circle, which was originally stopped by Scott Darling. However, the puck squirted free, and the constant jamming of CJ Severyn forced the puck out of Darling's control, and in over the line. The goal was credited to Cruthers, as the teams went to the third period tied at two.
Neither team was able to find the twine in the third period, as overtime was necessary. Unfortunately, the extra session concluded with a triumph for the home team, as Scott Tanski ripped a wrist shot into the far side of the net, beating Darling on his glove side.
Curry picked up the victory for Orlando, making 25 saves on 27 shots. Darling suffered the overtime setback for Wheeling, despite stopping 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Solar Bears will conclude their three-game set on Monday afternoon at 3, before Wheeling returns home to face the Bakersfield Condors on Friday night at 7.
Wheeling 2 0 0 0 - 2
Orlando 1 1 0 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Wheeling, Lenes 5 (Barton, Hansen), 11:35 (PP). 2, Orlando, Mignardi 6 (Blair, Sgroi), 12:08. 3, Wheeling, Lenes 6 (Zurevinski, Crowder), 12:17. Penalties-Goulet Orl (hooking), 1:39; Crowder Whl (slashing ), 8:18; Blair Orl (hooking), 10:03; McNeill Whl (cross-checking), 18:38.
2nd Period-4, Orlando, Cruthers 11 (Severyn, Sisca), 17:25. Penalties-Torquato Whl (roughing), 12:08; Darling Whl (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:25.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Martin Orl (hooking), 0:51.
OT Period-5, Orlando, Tanski 8 (Martin, Neal), 2:27. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 11-7-6-3-27. Orlando 4-13-11-1-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 1 / 3; Orlando 0 / 4.
Goalies-Wheeling, Darling 8-5-1-1 (29 shots-26 saves). Orlando, Curry 15-10-2-0 (27 shots-25 saves).
Referee-Don Jablonski (18).
Linesmen-Chris Cahoon (33), Ken Radolinski (63).