Third periods treated the Wheeling Nailers very well during the regular season, as they lit the lamp 83 times. In their second round series against the Greenville Road Warriors, the third period has been the enemy. On Friday night, Greenville scored four times in the final stanza, erasing a 1-0 deficit for a 4-1 win. The Road Warriors now lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2.
After a scoreless first period, the Nailers finally broke the deadlock at the 7:08 mark of the middle frame. Peter Merth denied a breakout opportunity by the Road Warriors, who ultimately turned over the puck at their own blueline. Zack Torquato stepped up to make the steal, before a dangle move allowed him to set up Tyler Fernandez with a pass on his left. Fernandez skated into the left circle, ripping a wrist shot into the right side of the goal.
Unfortunately, things went downhill for Wheeling in the third period, as the Road Warriors exploded offensively. At the 1:39 mark, Josh Nicholls capitalized on a turnover, drilling a shot on goal that was stopped by Mike Condon. However, the shot was powerful enough to produce a rebound, which was tapped in by Michael St. Croix. Forty seconds later, Greenville took its first lead of the night, when Jordie Johnston redirected Samuel Noreau's shot from the right point. A little less than five minutes later, the Road Warriors struck again. Justin Vaive got a step on the left side of the offensive zone, then dragged the puck to his backhand, slipping a power play goal into the right side of the cage. Nicholls completed the 4-1 Greenville win with an empty net goal, which also improved his club's power play to 3-for-5 for the night.
Jason Missiaen was the winning goalie for the Road Warriors, as he returned to the crease with 26 saves on 27 shots. Mike Condon suffered the loss, despite turning away 29 of the 32 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Road Warriors will return to WesBanco Arena for game six on Monday at 7 p.m., with the potential for a seventh game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. .