A Win To Start The Weekend In Wheeling

(PR) Wheeling, WV, March 6, 2010 – The Devils kept pace with the pack in the hunt for the playoffs with a 6-3 victory over Wheeling Saturday at WesBanco Arena, extending the Nailers’ winless streak to six games. Trenton snapped a two-game skid behind Gerald Coleman’s 43 saves, two goals each from Jeff Prough and Jack Combs, plus a three point effort from Tony Zancanaro. Andy Thomas spearheaded the defense with a game-high plus-three. The Devils never trailed in the contest, but fended off multiple comebacks from Wheeling.

Both teams sought to bounce back from losses the previous night, and the Nailers seemed to grab the momentum early on an apparent goal from Jordan Fox. The officials waived off the tally, determining that Fox had kicked the puck past Coleman. Jeff Prough helped the Devils overcome an early shot disparity, scoring his team-leading 22nd goal of the season at 12:40 of the first. After Slavomir Tomko’s shot was deflected by goalie Michael-Lee Teslak toward the right-wing corner, Prough chased it past the goal line and fired from a seemingly impossible angle from the notoriously deep WesBanco Arena corner. The puck glanced off the inside of Teslak’s pad and stick and through his legs for a 1-0 Devils lead and the only score in the opening period.

Carryover penalties led to a four-on-four goal 21 seconds into the second period for Wheeling. A rebound goal from Casey Pierro-Zabotel tied the game 1-1, but Prough responded quickly for Trenton. The primary assist came from Kyle Kucharski, celebrating his 23rd birthday, on a wraparound attempt with Prough finishing from the crease for a 2-1 Devils lead. Tony Zancanaro earned secondary assists on both of Prough’s goals. Dave Leaderer extended the lead to 3-1, winning a one-on-one race for the puck toward the left wing circle. The shot from a tough angle glanced off Teslak’s left pad and into the net at 14:30 of the second, with Tim Kunes and Dan Charleston assisting. Blair Yaworski got one back for Wheeling on a shorthanded breakaway at 17:40, impressively beating Coleman inside the long post and just under the crossbar.

Jack Combs rebuilt the Devils advantage with two scores in the third, his 19th and 20th of the season, first on a superb feed from Tomko at the doorstep, the next out of a net mouth scramble. Matt Vokes had secondary assists on both goals, and Dan Eves garnered the primary assist on the second goal that came on a crease melee after an initial chance from Combs himself. The insurance goals sandwiched a Billy Ryan power play marker midway through the third, but Trenton’s defense clamped down, killing two more Wheeling power plays in the final ten minutes. Tony Zancanaro scored an empty net goal came during a penalty kill in the final the last two minutes to secure a 6-3 Devils victory.

Five Devils had multi-point nights in the victory, the third win in four meetings with Wheeling this season. The win pushes the Devils (25-25-4-5) to 59 points, three behind current eight-seed Reading and two behind Gwinnett and Wheeling. Trenton can make another dent in the standings with a rematch against Wheeling at 3:05 p.m. Sunday to complete a three-game road trip.

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