WHEELING, W.Va. - Coming close just isn t good enough any longer for Toledo Storm coach Steve Harrison, who watched his team drop a tough 4-2 decision to the Wheeling Nailers last night.
Toledo, the team with the best record in the ECHL during the 2002-2003 regular season, fell to 9-10-2 this year following last night s defeat.
The Storm put up a stubborn battle against the Nailers, but goals by Jake Ortmeyer at 16:18 of the third period and Arpad Mihaly with just 1:16 to play, gave Wheeling the victory.
“We ve been sticking in games but we make mistakes defensively at the end,” Harrison said.
“We are our own worst enemy. We ve been trying everything to get the right combinations out there.”
Wheeling s victory gave the Nailers first place by one point over Atlantic City and Johnstown in the Northern Division of the Eastern Conference.
Wheeling improved its record to 13-1-0 when scoring the first goal, including a 7-0-0 performance at WesBanco Arena, where it is now 9-2-1 overall.
After a slow start, Wheeling was outshot 13-4 in the first period. The Nailers went on to put 34 more shots up against Toledo goaltender Doug Teskey, finally making him surrender three goals in the third period.
The teams were tied at 1-1 after two periods, but Mark Kosick, taking a pass from Mihaly, slid the puck through the Storm netminder s five-hole for a 2-1 lead at the 8:02 mark.
But Toledo battled back to tie the game for the second time on a Josh Legge goal at 11:07.
The Nailers got the go-ahead goal when Ortmeyer blasted a shot from the point that got past Teskey with 3:42 remaining.
Wheeling broke into the scoring column first when Brendon Hodge picked up his sixth goal of the season just 47 seconds into the second period.
Toledo s Rick Judson, the oldest player on the ice for either team, was able to knock home a rebound past Boucher at 9:03 for the equalizer.