WHEELING, WV – February 28, 2020 – Greg Chase broke a 2-2 tie at the 13:08 mark of the third period to give the Mariners their first, last and only lead of the night as they defeated the Wheeling Nailers 3-2 on Friday night at WesBanco Arena. Terrence Wallin scored the other two Mariners goals, while Connor LaCouvee earned his 20th win. The Mariners extended their lead to four points over Brampton for 2nd place in the North Division playoff race.
At the end of a scoreless first period, Terrence Wallin was called for tripping, giving the Nailers a power play to start the 2nd. Jan Drogz snuck down backdoor and finished a pass from Barry Almedia at 1:58 of the period to break the scoreless tie. The Mariners remained in a goal drought until the 14:01 mark when the Nailers did them a favor. Defenseman Aaron Titcomb, attempting to wrap the puck around behind his own net, inadvertently shot it past Nailers goaltender Alex D’Orio to tie the game at one. Terrence Wallin, the closest Mariner to the puck, was credited with the goal. The Nailers jumped back ahead at 16:13, when Brandon Hawkins took a pass from Nick Saracino and beat LaCouvee’s glove to make it 2-1. Before the period ended, Wallin struck again, sweeping a puck around D’Orio with one hand on his stick after a Greg Chase shot his the Nailers goalie in the chest. The game headed into the third tied at two.
The Mariners caught a break when Nailers defenseman Matt Abt broke his stick on a point shot, producing a 2-on-1 in the other direction, with Connor Bleackley and Greg Chase entering the zone. Bleackley fed Chase, who one-timed the go-ahead goal past D’Orio to give Maine a 3-2 lead. The Mariners had a chance to add on when Titcomb and Abt took back-to-back penalties, awarding the Mariners a long two-man advantage. Despite failing to score, the 3-2 lead was enough for Connor LaCouvee, who with the help of several key shot blocks in the third, locked down the one-goal win.
The Mariners “magic number” to clinch a playoff spot fell to 19 – the combination of points accumulated by the Mariners and failed to gain by Adirondack. Additionally, the Mariners padded their third place cushion to four points over Brampton, which lost to Worcester.
The Mariners are back home on Sunday to start a four game home stand, hosting the ECHL-leading South Carolina Stingrays at 3 PM. The ECHL championship trophy, the Kelly Cup will be in the building, and the Mariners will award the Captain Joel Barnes Community Service Award on the one-year anniversary of his tragic passing in the line of duty. Fans are also invited to skate with the Mariners after the game.
Groups of 10 or more can get discounted tickets to all games by calling 833-GO-MAINE. Individual tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com, at the Trusted Choice Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena, or by calling 207-775-3458. All Saturday and Sunday home games feature the Family Four Pack – four tickets, four food and drink vouchers, and four Mariners beverage koozies, starting at $80, and must be purchased in advance of game day