READING, Pa. - The Wheeling Nailers and Reading Royals have played some of the tightest games in the ECHL this season, as four of their eight head-to-head meetings have required extra hockey.
That was the case on Wednesday night, as a shootout was required to break a 1-1 tie. Zach Hansen picked up the winner in the fourth round, rewarding Peter Delmas, who made 39 saves, as the Nailers picked up their second straight road victory, 2-1, at Sovereign Center.
After a scoreless first period that featured solid goaltending from Delmas and Brandon Anderson, the Nailers finally broke the deadlock at the 5:10 mark of the middle frame.
Cam Fergus and Paul Crowder started a rush from their own zone, with Crowder carrying the puck through center ice. Once he reached the slot, Crowder dished a pass to his right, where Fergus was able to slide in a shot from the circle. Fergus' fifth goal of the season came on the power play, and was also assisted by Zach Hansen, as Wheeling led 1-0 after two periods of play.
The Nailers maintained that lead all the way until the final minute of regulation, when the Royals slipped in the tying goal. Stanislav Galiev took the puck in the left corner, centering a pass to David Marshall. Marshall jammed at the puck at the top of the crease, ultimately squeezing it by Delmas for the equalizer. The goal came on Reading's 37th shot of the night, as overtime, and eventually a shootout was forced.
With the lack of scoring in the game, the shootout featured a plethora of goals, as the two sides went back-and-forth. Scott Zurevinski opened the scoring in Round 1 for the Nailers, before two straight misses led to the goal exchange in the third round. Yannick Tifu tied it for the Royals, before Peter Lenes answered for Wheeling. In round four, Galiev evened things, before Hansen put the Nailers back on top. Finally, in the fifth round, Delmas made the next save, denying Kirk MacDonald to clinch a 2-1 win for the visitors.
Wheeling 0 1 0 0 - 2
Reading 0 0 1 0 - 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Hansen Whl (delay of game), 2:21; Hansen Whl (tripping), 15:40.
2nd Period-1, Wheeling, Fergus 5 (Crowder, Hansen), 5:10 (PP). Penalties-Stevenson Rea (interference), 2:17; Comrie Rea (cross-checking), 4:47.
3rd Period-2, Reading, Marshall 16 (Galiev, MacDonald), 19:22. Penalties-MacDonald Rea (boarding), 5:47; Barton Whl (high-sticking), 8:01; Hansen Whl (holding the stick), 9:19; Minella Whl (high-sticking), 14:31.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Vallorani Rea (elbowing), 4:28.
Shootout - Wheeling 3 (Zurevinski G, Barton NG, Lenes G, Hansen G), Reading 2 (Kashirsky NG, Marshall NG, Tifu G, Galiev G, MacDonald NG).
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 5-10-10-0-1-26. Reading 13-10-14-3-0-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 1 / 4; Reading 0 / 5.
Goalies-Wheeling, Delmas 9-4-0-2 (40 shots-39 saves). Reading, Anderson 6-3-0-1 (25 shots-24 saves).
Referee-Don Jablonski (18).
Linesmen-Brian Oliver (36), Ryan Daisy (64).
Delmas stoopped 39 of the 40 shots he faced, earning the victory for Wheeling. Anderson made 25 saves on 26 shots during the game for Reading, taking the shootout loss.
The Nailers and Royals will battle again on Friday in Wheeling, with the face-off taking place at 7.