WHEELING, W.Va. - The Elmira Jackals suffered their second straight loss to begin their seven-game road trip on Friday night. The Wheeling Nailers claimed a 5-1 win at WesBanco Arena and the Jackals' record fell to 12-12-3 as a result.
The Nailers carried a four-game home winning streak into Friday night and made a strong bid in the first period to keep that streak in tact. Chris Barton, in his first game of the season against the Nailers, registered a pair of goals to give Wheeling the early cushion. The goals were nearly identical one-timer slap shots from the right wing. The first came at 9:38 with Wheeling working on a 5-on-3 power play, and the next was on his very next shift at 11:04. The Jackals made a valiant attempt to cut into the lead when they were given their first power play of the night with 4:05 remaining in the stanza. They managed five shots on the advantage, many of them quality scoring chances, but strong work by Peter Delmas in goal kept the Jackals off of the board through the first 20 minutes. Maxime Clermont turned in 10 saves in the first for the Jackals.
Early in the second period the Jackals turned to a familiar source to give them the first step in their comeback effort. Artem Demkov scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season at 6:35 to pull Elmira within one. The assists went to Kyle Bushee and Matt Campanale. The goal extended Demkov's goal streak to four games. Elmira continued to press in an effort to tie the game, but Wheeling's Philippe Lefebvre netted his seventh of the season at 10:51 to restore the Nailers' two-goal lead.
In the third period Wheeling used another pair of goals in quick succession to further pad its lead. Daultan Leveille deflected a point shot by Andrew Hotham past Clermont at 4:02 to make the score 4-1. On the very next shift Paul Crowder took a centering feed from Scott Zurevinski and one-timed it home 21 seconds after Leveille's goal. Elmira desperately tried to get its offense on track but was held without a shot for the first ten minutes and change of the third. The Jackals were able to test Delmas with six shots in the final frame but none produced a goal that could spark a comeback.
Clermont shouldered the loss while making 33 saves on the night. The Jackals were 0-for-1 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
By: Ray Schmitt - Elmira Jackals