116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE — Somehow they got a standings point out of Wednesday night.
The Iowa Heartlanders quite honestly didn’t deserve one, being outplayed by a significant margin by the Wheeling Nailers in the second home game at Xtream Arena.
But a late goal with 1:30 left by new forward Brett Gravelle sent things to overtime, where Wheeling’s Justin Almeida eventually won it, 4-3, with a sniped bar-down beauty 1:30 into the three-on-three OT.
“We were chasing the game all through,” Iowa Coach Gerry Fleming said. “Just chasing it, we didn’t execute any kind of plays. We’d get the puck and throw it away. We made things difficult for ourselves. Thank God our goaltender played well, and we were opportunistic and scored some timely goals.”
Wheeling outshot Iowa, 42-16, in regulation, including 19-3 in the third period. Yet both teams scored a goal: Tim Doherty with 6:53 left and, of course, Gravelle.
Defenseman Fedor Gordeev took a shot from the left point that hit Gravelle in the body and redirected past Wheeling goalie Tommy Nappier. Gravelle was making his ECHL debut after starting this season with the Quad Cities Storm of the Southern Professional Hockey League and scored two goals and assisted on his team’s other by Chad Billings.
Cam Hausinger opened the scoring with a goal midway through the first period for Wheeling, in which a loose puck he shot in front of the net ricocheted off a Heartlanders player’s stick almost simultaneously and fluttered its way softly over the shoulder of Iowa goalie Hunter Jones and just into the net.
Jones was terrific in this one, bailing out his team time after time with huge stops of quality chances against him.
The Heartlanders drew 1,488 fans in their second regular-season home game, quite a drop from the 4,000 on opening night. They take a 1-1-1 record into a weekend home series against the Toledo Walleye, affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s 7 p.m. puck drop both Friday and Saturday.
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