The Wheeling Nailers (16-12-0) scored three unanswered goals, two of which in the third period, to come from behind and defeat the Cincinnati Cyclones (11-11-5-2) by a 5-4 score at WesBanco Arena on Sunday evening.
The Nailers claimed an early 1-0 lead when Ben Street punched home a power play goal past Cyclones netminder Marc Cheverie (L, 24 saves, 10-7-2-2) at the 3:18 mark. Luckily, Cincinnati cashed in on a power play of their own as Christiaan Minella wristed home his seventh goal of the season to tie the score at one through the opening stanza. With that tally, Minella now has registered a point in four of his last six games.
The Cyclones struck twice in the first five minutes of the second period to give themselves a two-goal cushion. The first, at 2:46, came when Dustin Sproat netted his seventh goal of the year on a penalty shot (the second this season for Cincinnati) to give his team a 2-1 lead. Dylan Hunter made it 3-1 Cyclones at 4:29 as he settled down a loose puck during a Wheeling power play and wristed home his second shorthanded goal of the season past Nailers goalie Mike Brown (W, 28 saves, 4-3-0-0). The Nailers temporarily stopped the bleeding when Ben Street picked up his second of the night, again on the power play, by slamming home a rebound to pull his team within one. Once again, though, Cincinnati extended their lead as Chris Clackson found the twine making it 4-2. The back-and-forth period continued as Street buried his third of the game for Wheeling on another power play at the 13:59 mark to pull within a goal heading into the second intermission.
Early in the third, Wheeling found two more unanswered goals – one from Nick Petersen at 3:04 and another by Casey Pierro-Zabotel at 3:43 – to mount the comeback and steal a 5-4 lead. Despite a few chances in the final minutes with the extra attacker for Cincinnati, the Nailers would hang on to win by the same score.