(PR) Wheeling, WV, March 7, 2010 – The Nailers topped the Devils Sunday afternoon, 6-3, by taking an early lead and fighting off multiple comebacks, just as Trenton had done to Wheeling the night before. The Nailers snapped a six-game winless streak and avoided dropping behind Trenton in the playoff hunt. Trenton tied the game at 1-1 and 2-2, but never managed to take the lead in its second loss of a three game road trip.
Saturday TJ Fox found the back of the net by kicking the puck past Gerald Coleman and the goal was disallowed, but a rebound chance five minutes into Sunday’s first period gave Fox an undisputed goal on Dave Caruso and a 1-0 Nailers lead. Instead it was the Devils who had a goal waived off in the first period, as a series of goal mouth chances pushed a fumbling Michael-Lee Teslak toward across the goal line with the puck seemingly underneath him. The goal light went on, but the officials ultimately determined the puck never entirely crossed the goal line. Though outshooting Wheeling, Trenton could not mount many other quality chances.
A two-on-one breakaway got the Devils on the board early in the second period. Matt Vokes created a turnover at center ice and helped the puck to Jack Combs across the blue line on the left wing. With one defender back for Wheeling, Combs patiently waited and passed across to Brett Wilson on the right side for the rookie’s fourth goal in five games.
The tie was short lived, as Aaron Clarke buried his 19th of the season at 2:43 with assists to Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Fox. It was Clarke’s second of four points in the game, en route to first-star honors. The Devils again outshot the Nailers for the period, but the Devils best scoring opportunities came late in the frame. Kyle Kucharski, just as he had Saturday, created a scoring chance with a pass from behind the goal. Jeff Prough and Tony Zancanaro each had whacks at the puck and Zancanaro got credit for his 15th goal of the season, and it was 2-2 at the end of two.
A carryover penalty into the third led to Wheeling’s first power play goal on its fourth opportunity. Just 25 seconds into the frame, Fox scored his second of the game and 22nd of the season. The Nailers leading scorer would get second star honors for his three-point performance and his goal put the Nailers ahead for good. Jonathan D’Aversa added an insurance goal at 11:15 of the third to make it 4-2 Wheeling. The power play unit needed only six seconds to score after Clarke won the right wing circle faceoff and Mitch Ganzak got the puck back for D’Aversa’s drive and his third goal of the season.
Kyle Kucharski helped Trenton get one back with his third assist in two nights at 11:25. He again made a sudden, sharp feed from behind the goal perfectly to Prough in front for the score, and Zancanaro got a secondary assist, his fifth point in two days. With added urgency the Devils attempted to tie the score in the last eight minutes, but with Caruso pulled for an extra attacker, Billy Ryan scored an empty netter to seal the Nailers’ 5-3 victory, the first win for Teslak since January 26.
The Devils (25-26-4-5, 59pts) remain in 11th place, two behind Gwinnett, three behind Wheeling and five behind eight place Reading who currently holds the final playoff spot. Trenton begins a three-game homestand Wednesday against Toledo at 7 p.m.