The Elmira Jackals received 42 saves from Niklas Lundstrom and goals from Jacob MacDonald and Tyler Currier en route to a 3-2 shootout win in a battle of wills against the rival Wheeling Nailers.
Playing their fourth game in five days, the Jackals jumped out early powering past the Nailers while on the penalty kill. Elmira found itself down a man just 90 seconds into the contest as Mark Bennett was whistled for hooking but Jacob MacDonald quickly turned a penalty kill into offense. Nick Petrecki moved the puck to MacDonald who wheeled down the left wing and ripped a wrist shot off the post and in past Casey DeSmith for a shorthanded goal on the Jackals’ first shot of the game. MacDonald has scored a league-leading three shorthanded goals this week and has increased his goal total to seven on the season. The Jackals struck again later in the first frame as Justin Kea laid a pass to Zach Tolkinen at the point who fired a shot through traffic deflecting off Tyler Currier and past DeSmith for Currier’s seventh goal of the season. The rivalry saw its first dance at 13:49 when Patrick McGrath forced himself on Nick Petrecki and earned a few fists to the face for good measure.
The Jackals carried a 2-0 lead into the second period and held it throughout the majority of the frame until 16:30 when Ty Loney tipped Mathew Maione’s shot over Niklas Lundstrom’s arm to put Wheeling on the board. Derek Army also earned an assist, and less than two minutes later, he scored a goal of his own to tie the game 2-2. Sahir Gill and Maione assisted Army’s fourth goal of the season. Prior to Wheeling’s quick strikes, Patrick McGrath found himself in his second scrap of the game as Garrett Klotz enticed him to tangle, which turned out to be a bad decision for the Nailer as Klotz hammered him into the ice. The medieval meetings of gladiators continued late in the second period when Colin Jacobs hit Riley Brace along the Nailers’ bench, causing an uproar from the bench and a battle ensued. Brace and Jacobs each received fighting majors with Jacobs receiving an extra two minute penalty for boarding and Zach Torquato earned a two minute penalty for roughing as he punched Jacobs after the main meeting subsided. Then, with four seconds left in the period, Garrett Klotz dropped the gloves with John McCarron for his second fight of the period. While the two enforcers dueled, Zach Tolkinen and Jarrett Burton scrapped in the corner.
The third period was a tenacious twenty minutes but neither team was able to pull ahead with the go-ahead marker so the game went to overtime. In the extra frame, both squads had opportunities but did not capitalize which sent the contest to a shootout. Colin Jacobs started the first round and scored to give the Jackals the advantage. Derek Army went first for Wheeling and was stopped by Lundstrom. In round two, Jacob MacDonald and Ty Loney both were unable to score, which set up Justin Bernhardt in round three with a chance to win the game. Bernhardt, who was hobbled in the third period after blocking a shot and did not play in overtime, started out to his left before firing a shot past DeSmith and lifting the Jackals to victory.
Niklas Lundstrom stopped 42 of 44 shots faced and two more in the shootout to earn the win. Casey DeSmith allowed two goals on 24 shots faced and allowed two goals on three shootout attempts to suffer the loss.
(Courtesy: Elmira Jackals)