Wheeling, WV – The Adirondack Thunder fell 6-4 in a school-day showdown in Wheeling on Tuesday morning at WesBanco Arena.
After the Thunder nearly scored at one end of the ice, Wheeling rushed the other way and converted off of a 2-on-1 rush for the game’s first goal. Forward Garrett Meurs led a rush down the right wing before he hit a streaking Freddie Tiffels, who beat Adirondack netminder Drew Fielding for his second goal of the season. Meurs collected the lone assist on the play, his fifth helper of the 2017-18 season.
Adirondack then scored twice in the first half of the second period to open up a 2-1 advantage. First, 5:16 into the middle stanza, defenseman Dylan Olsen scored his second goal of the season on the power play as he one-timed home a Kevin Lough feed to knot the score at one. Less than two minutes later, the visitors struck again as Eric Neiley redirected home a point shot from Lough to give the Thunder their first lead of the evening. Lough and forward James Henry collected the assists on Neiley’s goal, giving Lough his first two-point game of the season.
Wheeling struck back with a pair of goals of their own late in the second period to regain the one-goal lead heading into the intermission. Forward Cody Wydo struck first for the Nailers as he gathered the puck off of an offensive zone faceoff win, outwaited Fielding and fired home from close range for his sixth goal of the season with 4:05 left in the second period. The Nailers scored again just over a minute later as Dan Milan scored his first goal of the season. After Wheeling won the puck in the Adirondack zone, defenseman Dan Milan fired a shot through traffic that beat Fielding for the go-ahead goal.
The Nailers scored twice more in the first half of the third period to open up their largest lead of the game at three goals. First, Wydo took a feed from Reid Gardner and used a Thunder defenseman as a screen before he fired home his second goal of the evening to put his side on top 4-2. The hosts struck again with a power-play goal with 12:47 remaining in regulation as Cam Brown fed a cross-ice pass to Derek Army, who fired his shot over Fielding and underneath the crossbar for his team’s fifth goal of the game.
The Thunder capitalized again on the man advantage with just over seven minutes to play in the game as Conacher collected his third goal of the season. With the Thunder net empty for a 6-on-4 advantage, Henry fed Conacher in the left-hand circle where the Canisius College graduate fired past Maguire for the goal. Henry and Olsen picked up the assists on the play, the second point of the evening for both players.
With just over five minutes remaining in regulation, Wheeling struck again as a fortuitous bounce handed Tiffels his second goal of the evening. After an original shot by Meurs was blocked by the Adirondack defense, the puck took an awkward hop directly into the path of Tiffels, who calmly slotted it into the net to regain the three-goal advantage for the Nailers. Meurs and Brown picked up the assists on the play, the second helper of the evening for both forwards.
With less than two minutes remaining, Adirondack found the game’s final goal with 95 seconds left on the clock as Terrence Wallin scored a short-handed goal to bring the Thunder back within two. Conacher led a 2-on-2 rush down the right wing and sent a cross-ice feed towards Wallin, who fired it home in one motion for his sixth goal of the season. Wallin’s goal gives him 10 points in his last 11 games while Conacher’s three points this morning set an ECHL career high.
The Thunder now travel to Virginia as they continue their 12-game road trip on Thursday against the Norfolk Admirals, with puck drop slated for 7:00 p.m. The Thunder are next home on Saturday, November 25 at 7:00 p.m., which begins a seven-game homestand at Cool Insuring Arena.
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