WHEELING, W. Va – The Wheeling Nailers found themselves in a must-win game on Saturday night, and they got that win against the Manchester Monarchs, a 5-2 victory.
The Nailers outshot the Monarchs in all three periods, taking the lead permanently with just under three minutes left in the third period on a shorthanded goal by Cam Brown.
Wheeling also received a power play goal from Reid Gardinier along with additional goals from Troy Josephs, Nick Sorkin and Riley Bourbonnais.
Manchester’s Spencer Watson also notched a power play goal, his sixth power play goal of the year and 24th overall, with Manchester’s other goal coming from Keegan Iverson earlier in the contest.
Manchester, Adirondack and Reading remain in the hunt for the ECHL North Division crown, although the Royals would have to win their last three games and hope Adirondack drops at least two of their last three and the Monarchs lose all three of their final games.
All three of the North Division frontrunners have clinched a playoff berth, but the Thunder have come within a point of Manchester’s division leading 86-point tally, defeating Reading earlier in the evening, 6-2. In all likelihood, the division title will probably come down to Friday’s contest in Glens Falls between Adirondack and Manchester.
Wheeling has two games left in the year and will probably need to win both to secure the North Division’s final playoff spot. They currently stand at 77 points, one point ahead of Worcester, who defeated Brampton on Saturday night.
Worcester has four more games left in the regular season, including a home-and-home two-game showdown against the Monarchs on April 7 and April 8.