ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals spent two weeks away between home games before returning to First Arena on Friday night. They had their party spoiled by the Wheeling Nailers who claimed a 5-1 win. The loss dropped the Jackals' record to 3-7-0 on the season.
Before tonight the Jackals had last scored the first goal of the game on November 1 in a 3-0 win over the Greenville Road Warriors. They broke that string of five games without scoring first in a big way tonight. Rookie winger Jakub Culek was set up on the rush by Jordan Pietrus and Kyle Bushee for his first pro goal midway through the first and staked the Jackals to a 1-0 lead. The goal gave Culek at least one point in three of the five games he has played for the Jackals. Scott Greenham, who made his third start in a row, stopped all nine shots he faced in the first to give him four straight periods without a goal against on home ice.
The second period opened with a bang when Jackals captain Jean Bourbeau dropped the mitts with Wheeling's Scott Zurevinski. Bourbeau knocked Zurevinski down to his knees with a right hand to end the fight, and brought the Jackals' fans to their feet. Elmira couldn't carry the momentum from that fight, though, and Wheeling scored four in the second to take control. Chaz Johnson put Wheeling on the board from close range with four minutes gone by and Cody Sylvester followed with the eventual game winner 51 seconds later. Wheeling's next two goals came in a burst of 2:40 and padded the lead to three heading into the third. Sahir Gill and Johnson picked up the markers. Elmira launched 19 shots on Wheeling goalie Mike Condon, but couldn't cash in.
The third period saw Elmira test Condon with 12 more shots, but the rookie out of Princeton answered the bell each time he was challenged. The Jackals, who had allowed Wheeling only 23 seconds of power play time in the first two periods, gave up a man-advantage goal late in the third to set the final. Johnson buried a one-timer from the left wing to finish off the hat trick.
Greenham stopped 28 of 33 shots for the Jackals while Condon denied 39 of 40. The Jackals were 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.