In one of the craziest games in ECHL postseason history, the Wheeling Nailers defeated the Allen Americans 7-6 in Game 2 of the 2016 Kelly Cup Finals on Sunday at the Allen Event Center to even the series at 1-1.
The 13 combined goals tied the record for most goals scored in a game in Riley/Kelly Cup Finals history while Wheeling’s seven goals is tied for the second most goals by a team in Finals history.
Wheeling started quickly scoring three times, including twice on the power play, in a little over 10 minutes of the opening period. Derek Army opened the scoring with a power-play tally 6:34 into the contest while Clark Seymour doubled the lead with his fifth goal of the postseason at 14:30. A man-advantage goal from Cody Wydo at 17:52 gave the Nailers a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The Nailers did not slow down in the second period as goals from Anton Zlobin and Jarrett Burton extended the lead to 5-0 midway through the period. Chad Costello got Allen on the board at 15:16 but the Nailers answered 1:11 later on a Mathew Maione tally. Wheeling added one more goal late in the period, as with the Americans on a power play, goaltender Joel Rumpel was pulled for an extra attacker and John McCarron hit the empty net for his 10th goal of the playoffs to give Wheeling a 7-1 lead after two periods.
The defending Kelly Cup champion Americans did not go quietly. Allen scored five goals in the third period, as Spencer Asuchak, Aaron Gens, Gary Steffes (two goals) and Casey Pierro-Zabotel all scored in the first 10:03 of the period to make it a 7-6 game. Franky Palazzese replaced starting goaltender Brian Foster after Steffes’ second goal made it a one-goal game, and stopped all five shots he faced over the final 9:57 to preserve the win.
Allen outshot the Nailers 33-25 for the game. Wheeling went 3-for-4 on the power play while the Americans went 1-for-4 on the man advantage.
The series shifts to Wheeling for the next three games, beginning with Game 3 on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Catch all of the action live on ECHL.TV.