Fluky Goal Gives Nailers Game 3 and 2-1 Series Lead

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Posted May 19, 2016

(via the Stingrays)

Late in the third period, Derek Army shot a high wrist shot at South Carolina Stingrays’ starter Vitek Vanecek. Vanecek stayed in stand-up position to try to block it, but the puck knuckled by him for the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory for the Wheeling Nailers. The win gives them a series lead by the same number.

Vanecek made 29 saves on Wheeling’s 31 shots on the night; Jarrett Burton had six of those shots while Mathew Maione had five. Franky Palazzese stopped 18 of 19 attempts on net from the Stingrays; Brett Cameron paced the offense with four shots.

Austin Fyten scored the only goal of the contest for the visitors and also the first one on the night. Past the mid-way point of the second period, the Rays held possession for over a minute in the Wheeling zone. Caleb Herbert, from behind the net with two defenders converged on him, found Fyten out on top of the crease. The shot came past Palazzese for the fifth consecutive game where the Stingrays opened the scoring.

From the start of the third period, Palazzese had limited work to do in the crease. After two straight periods of seven shots on goal, only five found their way to him, largely in the final minutes with the Stingrays desperate for offense.

Burton finished off a three-way passing play to tie the game early in the final frame. Riley Brace hit Army across the ice, who then went back the other way for Burton to crash the net. Vanecek sprawled to stop the initial shot, but his body lay prone and unable to defend the rebound. Burton shoved it in for his third goal of the playoffs.

Army combined with Brace and Maione for his third of the playoffs to score the game-winner. The shot slid between the blocker arm and Vanecek’s body; a fluky goal, but they all count the same.

About 70 seconds of six-on-five for the Stingrays yielded frustrating clears and limited offensive chances. The Nailers defended their way to a series lead. Game 3 will take place on Friday night from WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia.