NAILERS GAMEDAY 2020-21
Hawkins' Hat Trick Propels Komets
Alfaro & McNally Score Wheeling's Goals
FORT WAYNE, IN- Brandon Hawkins scored lots of big goals for the Wheeling Nailers during the 2019-20 season, but on Friday night, he haunted his former club. Fort Wayne's leading scorer netted his second hat trick as part of a game-high 11-shot attack, as the Komets snapped Wheeling's six-game point streak with a 6-2 victory at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets took a pair of leads in the first period, with a Wheeling goal sandwiched in the middle. The first goal came at the 4:11 mark, when the Nailers turned the puck over in their own zone and Brandon Hawkins immediately sniped a shot into the right side of the net. Wheeling drew even later in the stanza with a 4-on-4 tally, as Matt Alfaro broke in on the left side and whipped a shot through Louis-Phillip Guindon's legs. With 30 seconds remaining, Fort Wayne got its lead back with Hawkins' second of the night, as he clipped in a one-time feed from Randy Gazzola at the bottom of the left circle.
The home team extended their advantage with a pair of special teams markers in the middle frame. At the 7:18 mark, Anthony Petruzzelli dished a shorthanded pass across the slot to Nick Boka, who faked to his backhand to slip in the goal. Then, with 5:36 left, Hawkins completed his hat trick on the power play, as he roofed in a wrist shot from the left circle.
The third period followed a similar script to the first, as the Komets netted two goals around one by the Nailers. Matthew Boudens banged in the rebound of Marcus McIvor's initial shot for Fort Wayne's fifth goal, before Anthony Nellis wound around to the left circle for the final strike of the night. Wheeling's tally came from Patrick McNally in the low slot, as he lifted in a centering pass from Austin Fyten. The final score was 6-2 Komets.
Louis-Phillip Guindon got the win in goal for Fort Wayne, as he came away with 15 saves on 17 shots. Shane Starrett stopped 11 of the 13 shots he faced for the Nailers, before Taran Kozun came in for the final two periods and was the goaltender of record, despite turning aside 26 of the 30 shots he faced.
Nailers Get the Job Done Against Indy
Starrett Stops 25, as Wheeling Extends Point Streak to Six
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers were hungry to get things rolling on Wednesday night, as they played host to the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling tallied once in each period and got a 25-save effort from Shane Starrett to extend its point streak to six with a 3-1 triumph. Patrick Watling snapped a tied score late in the second period, then Austin Fyten added a key insurance strike in the third.
The Nailers scored the lone goal of the first period at the 5:15 mark. Cody Sylvester got the puck behind the net off of a strong offensive zone forecheck by his club. He then dished a pass to Joshua Winquist in the right circle, who immediately fed Patrick McNally for the redirection tally from the top-left corner of the crease.
Both teams found the back of the net once in the middle frame. The Fuel knotted things up at the 8:03 mark on the man advantage. Diego Cuglietta battled the puck out to Willie Raskob, who stepped up into the high slot and whipped a wrist shot into the left side of the cage. Wheeling regained the lead with 2:58 remaining. Vladislav Mikhalchuk swept the puck into the slot for Patrick Watling, who slid a shot along the ice and inside of the left post.
The Nailers played a very responsible third period, as they looked to take their win to the finish line. With 1:50 to go, Wheeling got a huge insurance goal. Dylan MacPherson floated in a shot from the right point, which was blocked, but the second the puck hit the ice, it got slammed home by Austin Fyten for the 3-1 advantage, which was the final score.
Shane Starrett earned the victory for the Nailers, as he thwarted away 25 of the 26 attempts sent his way. Tom Auburn took the loss for Indy, as he made 15 saves on 18 shots.
Nailers, Stingrays Game Cancelled on Sunday
Unplayable Ice Conditions Force Game to Stop 3:50 Into the First Period
Today's game between the Wheeling Nailers and South Carolina Stingrays has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.
Fans with tickets from Saturday's or today's game can get a refund or exchange them for a future game (subject to availability) by calling our office at (304) 234-GOAL.
Nailers & Stingrays Postponed After One Period
Fans With Tickets May Get a Refund or Exchange for a Future Game
Sunday's Game Will be Played in Full, Saturday's Game Will Resume Monday at 1:00
WHEELING, WV- Saturday night's game between the Wheeling Nailers and South Carolina Stingrays has been postponed due to unplayable ice conditions. The teams were able to play the first period, with South Carolina holding a 2-1 lead. The two teams will play Sunday's game in full, beginning at 4:10. They will then resume Saturday's game on Monday at 1:00, starting at the beginning of the second period. Fans with tickets for Saturday's game can get a refund or exchange them for a future game by calling the Nailers office at (304) 234-GOAL.
Here is a recap of Saturday's first period:
South Carolina scored a couple of early goals, before the Nailers trimmed the deficit in the latter portion of the frame. The first strike by the visitors came one second after a power play finished, as Macoy Erkamps swung the puck off the right corner boards to Andrew Cherniwchan, who jammed in a one-timer from the top of the crease. The Stingrays struck again 2:30 later off of a turnover, as Mark Cooper and Dan DeSalvo made some very quick passes to setup Cole Ully for a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle. Wheeling finished the stanza with 14 of the final 16 shots, which included its first tally of the evening. Kyle Marino shuffled a pass into the middle of the ice for Jacob Pritchard, who wired a wrist shot into the left side of the twine.
Nailers Extend Point Streak to Five in Shootout Defeat
Former Stingrays Lees & Fyten Both Score Against Their Former Club
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers put 42 shots on goal on Friday night at WesBanco Arena, as they extended their point streak to five games. Unfortunately, their four-game winning streak came to a conclusion, as the South Carolina Stingrays scored on both of their shots in the shootout to come away with a 3-2 road win. Jesse Lees and Austin Fyten were the two goal scorers for the Nailers against Matt Jurusik, who made 40 saves in his pro debut.
The two teams played to a scoreless first period, despite some strong offensive pressure and a 15-6 shots advantage for Wheeling. The Nailers continued to get their chances in the middle frame, and they got the scoring started with an unconventional goal. Dylan MacPherson floated the puck into the left circle, where goaltender Matt Jurusik dove and missed. That allowed Jesse Lees to wraparound the back of the cage and tuck in his first with his new team against his former squad. Former Stingray Austin Fyten extended the lead just 2:28 later, when he slammed in a tape-to-tape centering pass from Jacob Pritchard at the top of the crease. South Carolina got a goal back on a power play with less than two minutes left. Dan DeSalvo came in on the rush with the puck on his backhand and was able to squib a low shot into the net.
The Stingrays pulled even at the 7:03 mark of the third period. Andrew Cherniwchan won a puck battle in the right corner and dished a pass into the slot for Dylan Steman, who snapped a shot into the left side of the goal. The teams played very defensively in the last half of the stanza, although South Carolina got a glorious chance for a game winner, when Cherniwchan was hooked on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. Shane Starrett flashed the leather with a glove save, which preserved his club a point in a 2-2 deadlock.
Wheeling had the best opportunity in overtime, as the Stingrays took a penalty with under two minutes remaining. However, the Nailers were unsuccessful on their six shots in the extra session, as the contest went to a shootout. Matthew Weis and DeSalvo converted on both attempts for South Carolina, while Austin Fyten and Cody Sylvester came up empty for Wheeling, as the visitors prevailed, 3-2.
Matt Jurusik had a tremendous outing in his first pro game for the Stingrays, as he stopped 40 of the 42 shots he faced in the game, before denying both shootout attempts. Shane Starrett made 25 saves on 27 shots in the game for the Nailers, before South Carolina scored on both shootout shots.
Don't Look Now Ethel! Nailers Are Streaking Fourth Straight Win
Cody Sylvester Ties it Late, Then Finishes it Off in Overtime
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers were bound and determined to earn their fourth victory in a row on Wednesday night, and it took some late game magic against the Fort Wayne Komets at WesBanco Arena. Cody Sylvester tied the score with 1:08 remaining, then netted the game winning goal at 1:41 of overtime, as the Nailers were victorious, 4-3. Matt Alfaro factored into all of the goals, as he collected four points.
The first period featured a lot of defense, as the two teams combined for just nine shots on goal. One of those pucks found the back of the net on a Fort Wayne power play at the 7:35 mark. Brandon Hawkins picked up steam as he drove in on the left side of the offensive zone. That allowed him to get a step toward the net, as he shoveled in the opening strike.
A couple of defensemen rose to the occasion in the middle frame, as the two teams exchanged goals two minutes apart. At the 4:16 mark, Matt Alfaro led the charge down the left side of the ice, before he sifted a pass through the top of the crease for Matt Miller's one-timer from the bottom of the right circle. Blake Siebenaler regained the lead for the Komets, when Anthony Nellis' pass was blocked by a Wheeling defender, but went out to Siebenaler who whipped in a wrist shot.
The Nailers showed tons of heart in the third period, as they came back twice to force overtime. Alfaro evened the score the first time, when he finished off a 2-on-1 rush with Cody Sylvester by ripping in a wrist shot from the left circle. Jackson Leef had a quick answer for Fort Wayne, as he deposited the rebound of Siebenaler's initial attempt. With under two minutes to play, the Komets took a penalty, and Wheeling needed all of three seconds to knot it up. Patrick Watling helped Alfaro win a face-off back to Sylvester, who stepped into a missile, which was launched into the bottom-right corner of the cage.
The Nailers did a tremendous job of possessing the puck in the extra session, and it ultimately resulted in the deciding goal at the 1:41 mark. Alfaro skated the puck into the left corner for Dylan MacPherson, who was fresh on the ice. MacPherson quickly found Sylvester in the slot, and when you're hot, you're hot, as he zipped in his eight goal in eight games for the 4-3 triumph.
Shane Starrett made 25 saves on 28 shots in the win for Wheeling, including a pair of key stops late in the second period. Jeremy Helvig took the overtime defeat for the Komets, as he surrendered four goals on 19 shots.
Nailers Make it Three in a Row in Three Cities
Sylvester Collects Three Points in Wheeling's 6-3 Victory at Fort Wayne
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers played three games in three days in three cities this week, and got three wins to show for it. On Saturday night, Wheeling finished the week off in style by winning in a difficult building, as the Nailers ended an 11-game skid at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum against the Fort Wayne Komets. Cody Sylvester's shorthanded goal in the first period broke a 2-2 deadlock and Wheeling never looked back, earning a 6-3 win with 30 saves by Shane Starrett.
The first period was a wild one, as the two teams combined to light the lamp five times. Fort Wayne was first on the board at the 7:48 mark, as Blake Siebenaler converted a one-time pass from Jackson Leef at the top of the right circle. The Nailers answered just 14 seconds later, when Matt Alfaro deposited the rebound of Aaron Thow's initial shot. Wheeling then took the lead at the 11:26 mark. Cody Sylvester whipped a pass to Adam Smith, who immediately fed Joshua Winquist for a tap-in on the left side of the crease. Matt Murphy responded with a stuff shot to pull the Komets even, but with less than one minute remaining in the stanza, the Nailers struck shorthanded to go ahead, 3-2. Alfaro chased down a loose puck on the right side, then setup Sylvester, who touched in the tally from the left side of the crease.
The scoring slowed down a bit in the middle frame, but both teams were able to pot one. Wheeling's marker came off of a turnover, thanks to an aggressive forecheck by Dylan MacPherson. Nick Rivera snatched the loose puck out of the trapezoid and got some help on his wraparound, as Brady Tomlak was credited with the goal. Fort Wayne's tally went to Matthew Boudens, who tipped in a right point wrister by Randy Gazzola.
There could have been a significant turning point in the third period, as the Nailers were forced to kill a major penalty. However, they kept the momentum on their side, as they did it successfully, and that momentum led to a key insurance goal less than a minute later. Sylvester led the rush down the left side, then connected with Patrick Watling, who drove in a one-timer from the right side of the slot. Rivera applied the finishing touches on the 6-3 triumph with an empty netter.
Shane Starrett was the victorious netminder for Wheeling, as he stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced, including 24 of 25 in the final two frames. Dylan Ferguson took the loss for the Komets, allowing four goals on 15 shots, before leaving with an injury. Jeremy Helvig was three-of-four in relief.
Kozun Closes Door on Indy
Wheeling Wins 2-1 on 36-Save Masterpiece
WHEELING, WV- On Thursday night, the Wheeling Nailers won with offense. On Friday night, they turned to defense and goaltending to get the job done against the Indy Fuel at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Taran Kozun stood on his head with 36 saves to pick up his second straight win, while Nick Rivera and Austin Fyten lit the lamp in the second period, giving the Nailers a 2-1 victory on the road.
After a scoreless first period, the offenses opened up a bit in the early stages of the middle frame. Wheeling got on the scoreboard first at the 4:22 mark, utilizing a power play. Jacob Pritchard tossed a shot toward the goal, where Nick Rivera pounded away at the loose puck to collect the marker. The Fuel drew even 1:24 later, when Chad Yetman came in on the rush and zipped in a low shot from the right face-off dot. The Nailers bounced right back to grab the lead back just 2:52 after that. Kyle Marino touched a pass into the slot for Austin Fyten, who lifted his team-leading 16th goal of the year into the top-right corner of the cage.
The chances ramped up drastically in the third period, as the two sides combined for 31 shots. However, both goaltenders kept the door shut, which meant Wheeling was able to hold on for the 2-1 road triumph.
Taran Kozun was sensational in goal for the Nailers, as he denied 36 of the 37 shots he faced for the victory. Tom Aubrun also played well for Indy, as he made 32 saves on 34 shots in the loss.
Nailers Have Sly Finish on April Fool's Day
Five Different Wheeling Players Record Points in 5-3 Win Over Jacksonville
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers weren't fooling around on April Fool's Day at WesBanco Arena, as they put forth a strong third period effort to earn a 5-3 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen. Cody Sylvester knotted the score at the 3:12 mark of the final stanza, then snapped the tie with 9:53 to go, as part of a three-point game. Joshua Winquist, Patrick Watling, Austin Fyten, and Nick Rivera all had multi-point games, while Shane Starrett made 25 saves.
Despite the two teams combining for 25 shots, the first period was unable to produce a goal. That changed quickly in the middle frame, as the Nailers needed just 18 seconds to light the lamp. Joshua Winquist wound a pass across the Wheeling offensive zone to Patrick Watling, who was ready to pound in a one-timer from the right circle. Jacksonville drew even 2:04 later, as Nick Saracino dragged a puck off the side wall, then setup Abbott Girduckis for a tap-in at the top of the crease. Jacob Pritchard got the lead back for the Nailers, when he came out from behind the net and made his way into the low slot, where he tossed in a backhander. With 3:25 remaining in the period, the Icemen tied the score, as Christopher Brown fed Wacey Rabbit on the top-left corner of the crease.
Wheeling battled through a tiny bit of adversity in the third period, as Jacksonville took its lone lead of the night at the 1:22 mark. Brown collected his second assist of the night, as he connected with Mike Szmatula. The Nailers responded extremely well, as they drew four penalties and cashed in with a pair of goals to tie, then take the lead. Both tallies came from Cody Sylvester. On the equalizer, Watling had his shot stopped, but Sylvester was there to capitalize on the rebound. Then, on the go-ahead goal, Winquist rang both posts, before the rebound sat in the crease for Sylvester's poke. Wheeling killed off a penalty with under six minutes left and played strong defensively down the stretch, which set up Austin Fyten to put the finishing touches on the 5-3 victory with an empty netter.
Shane Starrett was the winning goaltender for the Nailers, as he made 25 saves on 28 shots. Charles Williams took the loss for the Icemen, as he stopped 35 of the 39 shots he faced.
Florida Finds a Way in the Third
Cody Sylvester Picks up a Goal & an Assist for Wheeling
ESTERO, FL- The Florida Everblades have had a lot of success in third periods this season, and for the second night in a row, that was the difference in the hockey game. Florida found the back of the net three times in the third period to collect a 5-3 win over the Wheeling Nailers at Hertz Arena. Cody Sylvester scored a shorthanded goal and had an assist for the Nailers.
Neither team lit the lamp in the first period, but that changed in a big way in the middle frame, as the score became 2-2 rather quickly. Florida got on the board first at the 2:10 mark, as Joe Pendenza swung the puck to Michael Huntebrinker for an open shot from the bottom of the right circle. The Nailers drew even 1:43 later. Joshua Winquist wheeled around the offensive zone to the high slot, where he blazed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Blake Winiecki gave the Everblades their second lead of the evening at 10:27, when he poked in a centering pass from Max Cook. Once again, Wheeling had a rapid response, as two minutes after that, Cody Sylvester threw a shorthanded hit to steal the puck, before chipping a shot over a pokecheck by netminder Jake Hildebrand.
Florida's most dangerous period this season has been the third, and despite a 19-6 shots advantage by the Nailers, it was the home team who prevailed. Former Nailer Myles Powell put the Everblades on top two seconds after his team's power play expired, as he banked in a feed from Max Cook along the left side of the goal line. Alex Kile extended the lead 4:06 later, when an odd bounce off the corner glass led to a quick cycle, with him sliding the puck in on the left side of the crease. Wheeling put all sorts of pressure on with the goaltender pulled, and was able to get one goal from it, as Patrick McNally launched in a wrist shot from the center point. Unfortunately, a tying goal wasn't in the cards and Hugo Roy tacked on an empty netter for a 5-3 Florida final.
Jake Hildebrand turned in a strong performance in goal for the Everblades, as he turned aside 36 of the 39 shots he faced for the win, including 18 of 19 in the third period. Shane Starrett made 22 saves on 26 shots in the defeat for the Nailers.
Third Period Pushes Florida to Victory
Aaron Thow Notches a Goal & an Assist for Nailers
ESTERO, FL- The Wheeling Nailers put forth a tough battle on Friday night, as they were looking for a second straight win against the Florida Everblades at Hertz Arena. However, a three-goal third period by the home squad proved to be the difference, as former Nailer John McCarron notched a goal and two assists, including the game winner for a 5-2 Everblades triumph. Aaron Thow had a goal and an assist for Wheeling.
The lone goal of the first period went to the Nailers, who cashed in for their third power play strike in two games. Austin Fyten got some help from Sean Josling to win a face-off back to Aaron Thow, who let a wrist shot go from the right point. Nick Rivera got a piece of the attempt in front of the cage to collect his fourth power play marker of the year.
Special teams were the story in the middle frame, as all four goals to that point came with a player in the penalty box. Florida knotted things up at the 3:09 mark on the man advantage. Joe Pendenza wheeled a shot on goal from the center point that was stopped by Shane Starrett. However, the rebound went to Michael Huntebrinker, who put it back into the net. The Everblades then had a brief lead, as Logan Roe spun in a shorthanded wrist shot from the high slot. Wheeling responded just 33 seconds later to draw even, when Aaron Thow's shot from the blueline hit a Florida stick and fluttered past his former teammate, Jake Hildebrand.
A little more than six minutes into the third period, the Everblades pulled ahead again, utilizing their power play. Myles Powell got off a shot from the left circle that Starrett denied, but the puck sat in the crease, where it was tapped in by John McCarron. A big moment in the contest took place with under ten minutes to go, when Florida took three straight penalties. The Nailers were unable to cash in to pull even, and 21 seconds after the final one expired, Levko Koper tipped in Stefan LeBlanc's shot for a key insurance marker for the Everblades. Koper tacked on one more into an empty net for a 5-2 final.
Jake Hildebrand got the win for Florida, as he made 22 saves on 24 shots. Shane Starrett turned away 28 of the 32 shots he faced in his return from the AHL for Wheeling.
Nailers Offense Red Hot in Opener at Florida
Six Different Wheeling Players Light the Lamp, as Taran Kozun Backstops the Win
ESTERO, FL- The Wheeling Nailers were as hot as the weather on Wednesday night in Estero, Florida, as they opened up a three-game series against the Florida Everblades at Hertz Arena. Wheeling got goals from six different players, including Michael Joly, who had a three-point night, as the Nailers ended Florida's 11-game home point streak with a 6-2 triumph. Taran Kozun made 26 saves for his first win in a Nailers uniform.
Wheeling had a strong start to the game, as the power play connected for a goal, then set things up for an even strength goal moments after a penalty ended. The power play strike came at the 7:01 mark, when Michael Joly setup Cody Sylvester for a beautiful off-angle redirection from the right side of the net. 4:05 later, the Nailers got another tally with a tip, as Joshua Winquist got a piece of Patrick McNally's left point shot to send the puck into the cage. Florida got on the board just over a minute after that, as Luke Nogard sped up the left side, and wired a slap shot into the top-right corner of the goal.
The Nailers maintained and then extended their lead in the second period. Joly picked up the puck on the left side of the ice, then waltzed his way into the slot, where he slipped a backhander through goaltender Jake Hildebrand. The goal was Joly's third point of the night, and McNally also recorded an assist for his third point of the contest.
The third period featured some exclamation points from the visitors, and it started with both special teams. Sean Josling swung a pass across from circle to circle for Austin Fyten, who whipped in a wrist shot from the left side on the power play. The next goal was setup by Fyten, who dished a pass over to Nick Rivera on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush. Joe Pendenza smacked in a power play goal for the Everblades, before former Florida blueliner Adam Smith provided the final dagger for Wheeling with a one-time blast from the left point and a 6-2 score.
Taran Kozun had a terrific performance in his second start as a Nailer, as he stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced, including a game-high 13 in the middle frame. Jake Hildebrand gave up six goals on 33 shots in the loss for Florida.
Thunder Take Weekend Finale Thanks to 3rd Period Surge
Matt Miller Led the Way for Wheeling with Two Goals & an Assist
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers had the Wichita Thunder right where they wanted them through two periods on Sunday afternoon at WesBanco Arena. Defeseman Matt Miller led the charge with two goals and an assist, as the Nailers had a 4-2 lead. However, the third period was all Wichita, as the visitors struck four times for a 6-4 comeback win. Anthony Beauregard had five points for the Thunder, giving him a league-leading 42.
The first period was wide open, as the two squads combined for four goals on 27 shots. Before they got to the scoring, the fans were treated to a fight off the opening face-off for the second time on the weekend, as Garet Hunt and Stefan Fournier threw down the gloves. The Nailers got on the board first, thanks to a pair of defensemen who connected low in the offensive zone. Patrick McNally hopped a pass to the top-right side of the crease, where Matt Miller had a slam dunk for the goal. Wichita answered on the power play, when Beau Starrett chipped in a bouncing puck in the slot. Austin Fyten helped Wheeling regain the lead for a brief moment, after Jacob Pritchard settled down a bouncing puck and set up his linemate on the right side. With under a minute to go, the Thunder made the score 2-2, as Jay Dickman finished off an odd-man rush with Anthony Beauregard and Fournier.
The Nailers dominated the middle frame, as they outshot Wichita, 18-1, while lighting the lamp twice. The go-ahead goal came while the team played shorthanded. Jacob Hayhurst flew from his own end all the way to the opposite side of the ice, before handing the puck off to Miller, who roofed a wrist shot from the left circle. Wheeling extended its lead right as a power play expired, as Joshua Winquist stole the puck and quickly turned his shot into the cage from the low slot.
As great as the second period was for the Nailers, the third period went the other direction. Wichita's comeback started with a two-man advantage goal, as Jay Dickman threaded a pass through the crease to Beauregard on the left side. The Thunder pulled even with less then ten minutes to go, as Beauregard's backhander sat in the crease where it was tucked in by Fournier. Fournier nearly put the visitors ahead, but the goal was disallowed due to a kick. However, with 2:08 remaining, Wichita did go ahead, as Dickman's cross-ice feed to Fournier went off of a Wheeling stick and in over the goal line. Beauregard added an empty netter to finish off the 6-4 Wichita decision.
Evan Weninger was the winning goaltender for the Thunder, as he made 31 saves on 35 shots. Taran Kozun turned away 27 of the 32 shots he faced in his debut for the Nailers.
Thunder? Naw, Just a single flash of heat lightning, Nailers Roll, 7-1
15 Different Players Record Points, Led by Michael Joly's Three
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers got a phenomenal team effort on Saturday night, as they silenced the Wichita Thunder, 7-1 at WesBanco Arena. Michael Joly led the offensive attack with three points and a +5 rating, as 15 different players recorded at least one point. Alex D'Orio got the job done between the pipes with 29 saves.
The Nailers had a great start to the contest, as they outshot Wichita, 15-9, while banging in a pair of goals in a span of 16 seconds. The first tally was created from a forecheck by Garet Hunt, which allowed Jacob Hayhurst to swing the puck out to Matt Foley at the right point. Foley let a wrist shot go, which was tipped into the cage by Vladislav Mikhalchuk. On the very next shift, Michael Joly crashed the net, and forced a rebound to hop out to Shane Kuzmeski, who pounded a slap shot into the right side of the goal.
Wheeling continued its tremendous play in the middle frame, as it set a season high with 19 shots and three of them tickling the twine. The first strike needed just 51 seconds to materialize. Matt Miller crashed the net and had his shot stopped, but Joly was there to pot the rebound. Next up was a transition goal. Lawton Courtnall and Brady Tomlak exchanged passes, before Courtnall ultimately ripped in a wrist shot from the left side. With 2:12 to go in the stanza, the Nailers collected their fifth goal of the night, as Patrick McNally smacked home his own rebound, while drawing an assist from Joly, who posted his third point of the tilt.
A couple of more goals went to the home team in the third period. Joly registered his second of the night, as he popped in the rebound of Patrick Watling's initial shot. Then, with 5:02 to go, Tomlak capitalized off of a turnover by goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos, as he was set up by Garet Hunt. Austin McIlmurray sandwiched a goal in the middle for the Thunder, as Wheeling stormed away with the 7-1 triumph.
Alex D'Orio turned in a wonderful performance for the Nailers, as he denied 29 of the 30 shots he faced for the victory. Alex Sakellaropoulos had a busy night for Wichita, as he allowed seven goals on 51 shots in the loss.
Fans Get Early Fireworks, but Nailers Fall, 3-2
Garet Hunt Records First Goal & Fight with Wheeling
WHEELING, WV- Garet Hunt and Stefan Fournier put quite a show on for the fans at WesBanco Arena on Friday night, as they lit each other up in an early fight, then lit the lamp in the first ever game between the Wheeling Nailers and Wichita Thunder. Wichita ended up with the final say on the scoreboard, as Spencer Dorowicz snapped a tied score with 5:38 to go for a 3-2 decision.
The game started out with some fireworks, as Garet Hunt and Stefan Fournier threw down the gloves just six seconds into the contest. Although Wheeling controlled a good portion of the play with a 13-7 advantage in shots, the lone goal was scored by the Thunder. Anthony Beauregard sauced a perfect pass to the right side of the crease, where Fournier put his stick on the ice and connected with a redirection. The tally came with just 1:17 left in the period.
The Nailers had a dominant second period, as they outshot Wichita, 17-1. One of those shots found the back of the net to tie the game. Michael Joly entered the zone on an odd-man rush, then delivered a cross-ice pass to Patrick Watling, who hammered in a one-timer from the right circle. Joshua Winquist also assisted on the marker, as he returned to the lineup after missing 15 straight contests.
The two combatants from the start of the tilt put an offensive stamp on the scoresheet in the early stages of period three. Hunt netted his first goal in a Wheeling uniform at the 4:35 mark, as Nick Rivera forced a turnover and setup Hunt for a wrist shot from the slot. Fournier knotted things up 2:28 later, when his first shot got blocked, but he followed up and swept in his second chance from the right side. With 5:38 to go, the Thunder collected the game winning goal. Brayden Watts slid a pass to Spencer Dorowicz, who was able to squeeze in a backhand from in front of the net. The Nailers struggled to gain possession in the offensive zone in the closing minutes, and fell, 3-2.
Evan Weninger turned in a great performance for Wichita, as he was the winning goaltender with 36 saves on 38 shots. Alex D'Orio stopped 15 of the 18 shots he faced in the setback for Wheeling.
Nailers Empty the Tank, but Run Into Tough Goaltending
Michael Joly Scores First Goal Since Return from AHL
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers were playing their third game in three days on Sunday afternoon, and they threw everything they could at the fresh Indy Fuel at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Unfortunately, Wheeling ran into a hot goaltender, as Michael Joly's third period shot was the only one that solved Dan Bakala, who made 35 saves in a 3-1 Fuel win on home ice.
Special teams dictated some of the first period story, as the Nailers came up empty on four man advantages, while the Fuel cashed in on their first. Nic Pierog drove into the zone on the left side and got some help from Mathew Thompson, who tipped a pass over to Michael Pelech for the tally from the right side of the slot.
Wheeling had the edge in play during the middle frame, as it held a 17-9 advantage in shots on goal. However, the lone goal was scored by Indy. Thompson had a bounce go his way and he was able to connect with Diego Cuglietta for an open shot on the right side of the crease.
At the 3:45 mark of the third period, the Nailers trimmed the deficit to one. Patrick Watling drove in a slap shot from the left point, which was stopped by Dan Bakala, but Michael Joly was in perfect placement for the rebound and the goal. Wheeling was unable to pick up an equalizer, and with less than ten seconds to go, Cuglietta's second of the day put the wraps on a 3-1 Indy win.
Dan Bakala was outstanding in goal for the Fuel, as he stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced in the victory. Alex D'Orio had another good game in goal for the Nailers, as he made 26 saves on 28 shots in the defeat.
Starrett Shines, but Nailers Come up Short
Jacob Pritchard Picks up a Pair of Points, Including First Goal with Wheeling
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers got one of their best goaltending efforts of the season on Saturday night, as Shane Starrett made 45 saves, giving his team a chance to earn some points. However, a last minute goal in the second period by Stephen Harper was the difference, as the Fort Wayne Komets came away with a 3-2 win at WesBanco Arena. Jacob Pritchard had a goal and an assist for Wheeling.
The Nailers got on the scoreboard first, but Fort Wayne rebounded to take a 2-1 lead into the dressing rooms. The Wheeling goal came at the 4:49 mark, when Jacob Pritchard stole the puck and fed Sean Josling, who whizzed in a one-timer from the right face-off dot. The Komets tied things up less than two minutes later on the power play. Brandon Hawkins fired a wrister toward the front of the net, where it was tipped in by Justin Vaive at the top of the crease. With 6:07 to go in the stanza, Jason Cotton put the visitors ahead by capitalizing on a turnover and cranking in a slap shot from below the left hash mark.
Both teams lit the lamp once in the middle frame. The Nailers started by tying things up at the 3:28 mark. Adam Smith delivered a beautiful slap pass to Pritchard, who twisted in a shot from the low slot. Pritchard nearly set up Matt Alfaro for his third point of the night, but Alfaro's redirection rang the left post. With less than a minute remaining, Fort Wayne took its lead back. Zach Pochiro fed Stephen Harper on an odd man rush, and Harper wound in a shot from the left side of the ice.
Unfortunately for Wheeling, that last minute goal ended up being the difference in the battle, as both teams came up empty in the third period, giving the Komets the 3-2 win.
Louis-Phillip Guindon picked up the victory for Fort Wayne, as he made 19 saves on 21 shots. Shane Starrett turned in a tremendous performance for the Nailers, as he turned away 45 of the 48 shots he faced. However, he was saddled with the defeat.
Nailers Comeback Nets One Point Against Komets
Cody Sylvester's Goal Gives Him Points in Nine of 11
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period against the Fort Wayne Komets to pick up a point on Friday night at WesBanco Arena. Unfortunately, the home squad was unable to get the bonus point, as former Nailer Brandon Hawkins powered in the game winning goal on a man advantage for Fort Wayne. Tyler Drevitch and Cody Sylvester were the goal scorers for the Nailers.
The first period featured one goal, which was scored by the visiting Komets. Blake Siebenaler launched the puck ahead, to send Zach Pochiro and Justin Vaive on a 2-on-1 break. Pochiro dished a pass through the sliding Wheeling defender to Vaive, who faked to his backhand and swept his shot inside the right post.
The clubs played to a scoreless middle frame, but the game opened up a bit in the third. Fort Wayne extended its lead at the 3:01 mark, when A.J. Jenks smacked a puck out of the air, then setup Jason Cotton for a redirection in the slot. The Nailers had a nice response, as they pulled within one 1:37 later. Tyler Drevitch swerved into the right circle and zipped a shot into the left side of the cage. With 8:21 remaining, Cody Sylvester knotted things up, as he broke down the right side and roofed a wrist shot from the face-off dot.
Regulation was unable to decide a winner, as the tilt progressed to overtime. Both sides received a power play and it was the second one which resulted in the final goal. Olivier Galipeau teed up Brandon Hawkins for a one-timer, which he blasted in along the ice from the top of the left circle for the 3-2 Komets result.
Stefanos Lekkas got the win in goal for Fort Wayne, as he made 23 saves on 25 shots. Alex D'Orio turned in a solid performance by blocking away 25 of the 28 shost he faced in the overtime defeat.
D'Orio's First Pro Shutout Blanks Fuel, 6-0
Nick Rivera Scores Two, Kyle Marino Nets First Career Goal
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers have had some great success on home ice in the last few weeks, and on Tuesday night, they got a win that produced plenty of smiles. Alex D'Orio backstopped his first career shutout, while the offense turned on the red light six times in a 6-0 thumping of the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Nick Rivera was one of five players to produce multiple points, as he scored two of the goals, while Kyle Marino also found the back of the net for the first time in his pro career.
The Nailers were ready to hit the gas pedal as soon as the puck was dropped, and they scored 27 seconds into the game, while taking 11 of the first 13 shots on goal. Tyler Drevitch attempted to tuck in a wraparound, but the rebound kicked out to Nick Rivera, who took care of business for fifth goal in seven games.
The second period was all Wheeling, as the home team exploded for four goals. The first marker came off of a tremendous breakout pass by Brad Drobot, which led to a 2-on-1, as Lawton Courtnall fed Cody Sylvester for a one-timer from the right side. Less than two minutes later, the Nailers struck on the power play. Sylvester's shot missed the net, but Rivera picked up the rebound and tucked it into the twine. After setting up a goal, Courtnall was the next player to turn on the red light, as he swept in a wraparound at the 7:41 mark of the stanza. Wheeling added one more on the man advantage, as Matt Alfaro broke through the defense for a 5-0 lead.
Wheeling put one final tally on the board for good measure, and it was a special one, as Kyle Marino buried a pass from Jacob Pritchard for his first professional goal. The Nailers took that to the finish line for the 6-0 victory.
Alex D'Orio had a night to remember in the Wheeling crease, as he denied all 27 shots he faced for his first career shutout. Tom Aubrun gave up six goals on 37 shots in the loss for the Fuel.
Nailers Erase One Deficit, but Komets Prevail
McNally & Alfaro Both Produce Multiple Points for Wheeling
FORT WAYNE, IN- It was a tough week in Indiana for the Wheeling Nailers, who will look forward to some home cooking with three games in the coming week. On Saturday night, Wheeling battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the contest on goals by Patrick McNally and Cody Sylvester, but a three-goal surge gave the Fort Wayne Komets a 5-3 home win at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Fort Wayne found the back of the net twice in the opening stanza. The scoring began at the 7:10 mark, when Anthony Petruzzelli dribbled a pass through the top of the crease to Brandon Hawkins, who was able to lift in a backhander. With under two minutes to go, Shawn Szydlowski drilled in a centering pass from Spencer Smallman.
At the 1:32 mark of the second period, the Nailers trimmed their deficit to one by simply tossing the puck on the net. Matt Miller wired the puck around the boards and ultimately connected with Patrick McNally along the left wing wall. McNally immediately turned with a shot that found its way through Louis-Phillip Guindon's legs.
The third period had a similar start to the second, as Wheeling came out with a quick strike, needing just 16 seconds to draw even. McNally's toss from the left point got deflected into the net by Cody Sylvester. Unfortunately, the rest of the stanza didn't go as smoothly for the Nailers. At the 4:49 mark, Smallman put the Komets back into the lead, as he tapped in a pass from Petruzzelli in the slot. 1:05 later, Jason Cotton converted on a redirect from the low slot, which was set up by Randy Gazzola. Morgan Adams-Moisan gave Fort Wayne a three-goal lead, before a lunging poke by Matt Alfaro gave the contest a 5-3 final.
Louis-Phillip Guindon was the winning goaltender for the Komets, as he made 19 saves on 22 shots. Alex D'Orio suffered the defeat for Wheeling, as he came up with 27 stops on 32 shots.
Nailers Strike Fast, but not Enough in Fort Wayne
Nick Rivera & Brady Tomlak Each Record a Goal & an Assist
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers got off to a great start in Friday's game against the Fort Wayne Komets at Allen County Memorial Coliseum, but unfortunately, the game as a whole didn't go the way they had hoped. Fort Wayne converted on two of five power plays to pick up a 4-2 win on its home ice. Nick Rivera and Brady Tomlak both had a goal and an assist for the Nailers.
The Nailers got things started with their fastest goal of the season, as they got on the board just 55 seconds into the contest. Brady Tomlak stole the puck in his own end and led a transition rush in the other direction. Nick Rivera joined him and went directly to the net, where Tomlak put a perfect pass on his tape, so Rivera could convert with a redirect. Fort Wayne tied things up on a power play with just over five minutes remaining. Shawn Szydlowski fed Spencer Smallman, who twirled in a wrist shot from the left side of the slot.
The Komets took the lead at the 7:09 mark of the middle frame, while playing on the man advantage. Randy Gazzola let a wrist shot go from the right point, which was tipped into the cage by A.J. Jenks on the doorstep. Wheeling rebounded to tie the game shortly after a power play of its own. Cody Sylvester's one-timer made its way into a pile, where it was fished out by Rivera and given to Tomlak for a top shelf shot. Fort Wayne went back into the lead just 22 seconds later, when Anthony Petruzzelli swepped in a feed from Smallman. With less than one minute to go, the Komets tallied once more, just as a penalty expired. Olivier Galipeau took advantage of traffic in front of the net, and threaded a one-timer through from the right point.
The Nailers put ten shots on goal in the third period, but were unable to break through for another marker, as they fell, 4-2.
Stefanos Lekkas was the winning goalie for Fort Wayne, as he made 19 saves on 21 shots. Alex D'Orio stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced in the defeat for Wheeling.
Tough Night for Nailers in Indy
Wheeling Continues Road Trip at Fort Wayne Over the Weekend
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers had lots of great energy coming off of a big weekend at home, but on Wednesday night, they ran into one of the biggest thorns in their sides, the Indy Fuel. Indy scored once in the late stages of the first period, then rattled off three goals in a span of less than four minutes in the middle frame, en route to a 6-0 decision at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
The teams played a tight first period, which resulted in one goal in the closing two minutes of the stanza. Hayden Hodgson had his stick whacked out of his hands, giving Indy possession of the puck. Michael Pelech dished a pass across the top of the offensive zone to Mike Lee, who zipped in a wrist shot from the right circle.
The middle frame was all Fuel, as the home team lit the lamp four times for a 5-0 lead. At the 4:16 mark, Willie Raskob took advantage of a Pelech screen, as he sifted in a shot from the left point. 1:54 later, Matt Marcinew deposited a centering pass from Pelech in the slot, then two minutes after that, Spencer Watson converted on the rush, which chased François Brassard from the Wheeling net. Indy tacked on one more before the period concluded, as Nic Pierog rang a shot in off the right post with 31 seconds on the clock.
Pelech added one final goal onto the total for the Fuel in the final second of play, as he dribbled in the rebound of Marcinew's initial shot for the 6-0 score.
Dan Bakala recorded his second shutout of the season for Indy, as he stopped all 20 shots he faced. François Brassard allowed four goals on 15 shots for the Nailers in the defeat, before giving way to Alex D'Orio, who made seven saves on nine shots in relief.
Nailers Pound Grizzlies, 6-1
François Brassard Wins the Game & a Rare Goalie Fight
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers beat the Utah Grizzlies in more ways than one on Sunday afternoon at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling scored four times in the first period and got two goals each from Nick Rivera and Austin Fyten, as they clobbered the Grizzlies, 6-1. Then, with ten seconds left in the game, every player on the ice got involved in a brawl, including victorious goaltender François Brassard.
The Nailers were down right dominant in the first period, as they scored four times, while outshooting Utah, 16-7. Three of the four tallies came on the power play, starting at the 7:27 mark, when Nick Rivera tipped in a one-timer by Cody Sylvester on the right side. Austin Fyten netted the second marker of the stanza on the man advantage, as he tipped in a left point wrist shot by Aaron Thow. The lone even strength goal went to Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who spun into the high slot, and roofed a wrist shot into the left side of the cage. That chased Brad Barone out of the net for the Grizzlies, but Wheeling greeted Kevin Carr with a goal as well, as Rivera collected his second of the day by smacking in the rebound of Sylvester's initial attempt.
The two sides exchanged goals in the middle frame, as the Nailers maintained their four-goal lead. A.J. White gave Utah its first goal of the match on the power play, as he redirected Riley Woods' feed on the left side of the crease. Wheeling's answer came courtesy of Matt Miller, who drilled in a wrist shot from the slot. Matt Alfaro picked up the primary assist to extend his point streak to nine games.
Fyten tacked on his second of the afternoon to put the wraps on the 6-1 triumph for the Nailers, but the story of the third period came with 9.1 seconds left, as a full line brawl broke out in the Utah zone. With all ten skaters involved, goaltenders François Brassard and Kevin Carr looked down at each other and decided to have themselves a go. As he was in the game, Brassard was the winner in the fight, as he delivered three straight uppercuts. The fight also featured Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who completed his Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
François Brassard earned his fourth straight win on home ice, as he stopped 23 of 24 shots, before giving way to Alex D'Orio for the final ten seconds. Brad Barone allowed three goals on 11 shots in the loss for the Grizzlies, before getting pulled. Kevin Carr made 17 saves on 20 shots in relief.
Late Power Play Goal Lifts Utah, 4-3
Wheeling Overcomes Two-Goal Deficit, but Falls Short
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers battled some adversity on Saturday night, and very nearly picked up a point in their game against the Utah Grizzlies. Unfortunately, a power play goal by Ryan Lowney with 5:01 left in the third period was the difference, as Utah skated away with a 4-3 decision. Aaron Thow had a goal and an assist for the Nailers.
The Nailers had a great start to the first period, but things took a unique turn to put them behind at the intermission. Austin Fyten put the home team on the scoreboard first at the 5:11 mark, as he connected on a give-and-go with Nick Rivera, which resulted in Fyten blazing home a one-timer from the left circle. However, penalties dictated the remainder of the frame, as Wheeling was whistled for four in a row. Utah drew even on the power play, as Trey Bradley deflected a pass from Riley Woods, which produced a rebound goal for A.J. White. A little more than three minutes later, the Grizzlies scored at even strength, as Miles Gendron swept in a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.
The middle frame had a challenging start for the Nailers, but they hung in there and were able to tie things up before all was said and done. Hunter Skinner banked a shorthanded shot off the glass and in to put Utah ahead, 3-1, then Wheeling had a goal disallowed for goaltender interference. Not to be discouraged, the Nailers pulled within one shortly after, when Aaron Thow hammered in a slap shot from the center point. Then, with 1:16 remaining in the period, Evan Wardley's wrist shot from the right point created a rebound, which was stashed in by Lawton Courtnall for a 3-3 deadlock.
The tilt remained tied until the 14:59 mark of the third period, when the Grizzlies went ahead with a power play goal. Ryan Lowney's wrist shot from the center point hit Alex D'Orio's right pad and bounced in over the goal line. Wheeling was unable to recover from that, as Utah prevailed, 4-3.
Brad Barone was the winning netminder for the Grizzlies, as he made 27 saves on 30 shots. Alex D'Orio took the loss for the Nailers with 31 saves on 35 shots.
Rookies Make Game 2,000 Memorable for Nailers
Nick Rivera & Matt Miller Score First Pro Goals to Lift Wheeling in Third Period
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers had lots to celebrate on Friday night at WesBanco Arena, as they played their 2,000th game in team history against the Utah Grizzlies. Nick Rivera and Matt Miller both netted the first goals of their professional careers to break a 2-2 deadlock, as Wheeling erased an early two-goal deficit and rallied back with five straight strikes to win the game, 5-2.
The Grizzlies used special teams to their advantage, as their potted a pair of goals in the first period. The first tally came at the 3:59 mark with some quick puck movement. Riley Woods played the puck to A.J. White along the goal line, who quickly swatted pass through the slot for Pat Cannone, who deposited a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle. Goal number two came one second after a Wheeling penalty expired, as Cedric Paré connected with Matthew Boucher, who zipped in a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle.
Late in the middle frame, the Nailers got things rolling to tie the contest, starting with a great performance on the penalty kill. 47 seconds after the kill, Matt Alfaro swiped the puck away at his own blueline, then skated the distance into the left circle, where he buried a wrist shot into the right side of the net. 23 seconds later, Austin Fyten knotted things up by roofing a feed from Sean Josling at the left face-off dot.
Wheeling carried the momentum into the third period in a big way, as it scored three times, while outshooting Utah, 12-4. The go-ahead goal came at the 1:42 mark, when Nick Rivera made a marvelous steal at the offensive blueline, then drove into the left side of the offensive zone, where wired his first pro goal into the right side of the cage. 4:08 later, a couple of other rookies combined for a memorable moment, as Vladislav Mikhalchuk's first pro point was a beautiful cross-crease pass, which was slam dunked in by Matt Miller for his first pro goal. Cody Sylvester put the icing on the cake in game 2,000 with an empty netter for the 5-2 Nailers triumph.
François Brassard earned the victory in goal for Wheeling, as he denied 24 of the 26 shots he faced, including all 19 in the final two periods. Kevin Carr took the loss for the Grizzlies, as he allowed four goals on 25 shots.
Hot Goaltending Leads Fuel to Victory
Matt Alfaro Extends Point Streak to Six with Assist on Hayden Hodgson's Goal
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers put loads of pressure on the Indy Fuel on Wednesday night at WesBanco Arena, but ran into a hot goaltender. Dan Bakala made 36 saves on 37 shots, and got four goals of support from his teammates, as the Fuel defeated the Nailers, 4-1. Hayden Hodgson was the lone goal scorer for the Nailers.
Both goals in the first period were scored by the Fuel, and they came in a span of 35 seconds. The first marker came on the power play, as Indy won an offensive zone face-off and moved the puck around to Michael McNicholas in the right circle. McNicholas' one-timer squirted through Alex D'Orio's right arm and laid in the crease, where it was poked in by Jared Thomas. Antoine Waked was the second player to find the twine, as he and Nick Hutchison combined to capitalize on a Wheeling turnover.
The visitors added to their lead with two more goals in the middle frame. The Nailers did a marvelous job of killing a penalty around the midway mark of the period, but shortly after, Matt Marcinew got a shot off from just inside the blueline, which flew into the top-left corner of the cage. Nick Hutchison put one more on the board, when he stole the puck in the neutral zone and drove into the left circle, where he zipped a shot into the right side of the net.
Wheeling got its lone goal in the third period to end Indy's shutout streak at 187:09. Matt Alfaro tossed a pass across the slot to Hayden Hodgson, who deposited a one-timer from the left side. The assist gave Alfaro at least one point in six straight games.
Dan Bakala was outstanding in goal for the Fuel, as he earned the victory by stopping 36 of the 37 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio took the loss in his season debut for the Nailers, as he made 17 saves on 21 shots.
Special Teams Send Komets to Win in Weekend Finale
Kyle Marino Scores First Pro Goal for Wheeling
FORT WAYNE, IN- It was a difficult weekend for the Wheeling Nailers, as the Fort Wayne Komets held serve on their home ice at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The story of Sunday's clash was special teams, as the Komets converted four times on the power play and added a shorthanded marker for the 6-2 triumph. Kyle Marino's first pro goal and Patrick McNally's third tally in two weeks accounted for Wheeling's offense.
The first period was about as wild as it gets, as the teams combined for four goals, 11 shots, and eight penalties. Fort Wayne got on the board first with a power play goal. Shawn Szydlowski's shot from the left circle got blocked to Anthony Petruzzelli, who snapped in the loose puck from the right side of the slot. The Nailers answered with the lone even strength tally of the stanza. Matt Alfaro swept the puck to the front of the net, where it was tipped home by Kyle Marino for his first professional goal in his second career game. The Komets retook the lead at the 9:04 mark, when Zach Pochiro deflected Szydlowski's long wrist shot down and in, while the teams were playing 4-on-3. Wheeling also got a 4-on-3 goal, as it drew even 1:03 later. Patrick McNally twirled around in the right circle, then swished a shot into the right side of the cage for his third goal since joining the squad.
Fort Wayne's special teams were the difference in the middle frame, as the home team scored on both man advantages, while killing a pair of Wheeling's. At the 5:06 mark, Pochiro netted his second of the day, as he picked up his own rebound and threw a shot in through a maze of bodies in front of the net. In the latter part of the period, Brandon Hawkins set up the next marker, as his low shot from the left circle created a rebound, which was potted by Spencer Smallman.
Pochiro completed his hat trick by tapping in a rebound at the 6:11 mark of the third, before a last minute shorthanded breakaway by Smallman put the finishing touches on the 6-2 Komets win.
Louis-Phillip Guindon got the victory in net for Fort Wayne, as he made 18 saves on 20 shots. Hayden Hawkey suffered the loss for the Nailers, as he came up with 21 saves on 27 shots.
Nailers Get Closer, but Komets Win Second Game
Alfaro & Thow Extend Point Streaks to Four With Assists on Late Goal
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers had a few more chances and picked up one more goal on Saturday night, but unfortunately, the end result went to the Fort Wayne Komets for the second consecutive game at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Fort Wayne got a key third period goal from Anthony Petruzzelli in the third period, which was set up by one of Olivier Galipeau's two assists in the 4-2 Komets win on home ice. Cody Sylvester and Austin Fyten tallied for Wheeling, who saw Matt Alfaro and Aaron Thow extend their point streaks to four.
The first period was evenly played for the most part, but there was one goal, and it went to the Komets with 4:44 remaining. Nick Boka sent a shot in on goal, which was stopped by François Brassard. However, Zach Pochiro smashed away at the rebound and was able to force it in over the goal line.
Fort Wayne added to its lead in the early stages of the middle frame with a 4-on-4 goal. Defenseman Matt Murphy flew down the right side of the ice and snapped a shot into the bottom-left corner of the cage. Things began to go Wheeling's way as the period went along, starting with Spencer Smallman missing a penalty shot at the 11:42 mark. Less than two minutes after that, Cody Sylvester put the visitors on the scoreboard, as he swiped a wrist shot in along the ice from the left side of the offensive zone. Period two also featured a victorious fight by Kyle Marino in his pro debut.
At the 3:18 mark of the third period, the Komets got what was an insurance marker at the time, but turned out to be the game winner. Olivier Galipeau stretched a pass ahead to Anthony Petruzzelli, who made a quick stickhandling move, then shoveled a shot into the right side of the goal. Brandon Hawkins tacked on one more into an empty net for Fort Wayne, before Austin Fyten brought the Nailers back within two in the 4-2 final, as he roofed a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
Stefanos Lekkas was the winning goaltender for the second night in a row for the Komets, as he made 22 saves on 24 shots. François Brassard turned in a 27-save performance on 30 shots in the defeat for Wheeling.
Komets Win Home Opener, 4-1
Matt Alfaro Scores Lone Goal for Wheeling, Extending his Point Streak to Three
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers faced the tall task of playing the Fort Wayne Komets in their home opener on Friday night at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Fort Wayne came out of the gates with two goals in the opening seven minutes and took that to the finish line for a 4-1 win. Matt Alfaro was the lone goals scorer for the Nailers.
Playing in their first home game of the season, the Komets started the game with lots of jump, which resulted in a pair of goals. Mathieu Brodeur struck first at the 3:15 mark, when his wrist shot from the top of the left circle slid in off of the right post. Less than three minutes later, Justin Vaive tipped in Olivier Galipeau's point shot for a power play marker - his second in as many games.
Neither team lit the lamp in the second period, but early in the third, Fort Wayne added two more tallies to pull away. Matthew Boudens set up Zach Pochiro on the doorstep at the 4:26 mark, then Anthony Petruzzelli flew down the left side on a transition rush to up the home team's lead to four. Matt Alfaro put Wheeling on the scoreboard with 10:27 remaining, as he drilled in a centering pass from Hayden Hodgson for the 4-1 final.
Stefanos Lekkas picked up the win for the Komets, as he made 20 saves on 21 shots. François Brassard stopped 22 of the 26 shots he faced in the defeat for the Nailers, before giving way to Hayden Hawkey, who was perfect on eight shots in relief.
Nailers Run Out of Gas in Weekend Finale
Sean Josling Nets Lone Goal, as Wheeling Picks up Four of Six Points on Homestand
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers played their third game in three days on Sunday afternoon, as they welcomed in the Indy Fuel, who were off since Wednesday. Wheeling hung with Indy for the better part of two periods, but the Fuel opened things up with four goals in the third period, en route to a 6-1 victory. Former Nailer Cédric Lacroix tallied twice for Indy, while Sean Josling had the lone marker for the Nailers.
The Nailers and Fuel played an even first period, which nearly resulted in a 0-0 deadlock, but that changed with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock. Cliff Watson swept the puck toward the net from along the left wing wall and was able to get a deflection from Cédric Lacroix to record the opening goal.
Indy maintained its one-goal lead in the middle frame, as both teams struck on the power play. Wheeling tied up the match at the 12:21 mark, when Matt Alfaro chipped a pass to Sean Josling in the slot, and Josling capitalized on his great positioning by converting his shot into the left side of the net. The Fuel got their man advantage marker with two seconds left on the opportunity, when Mike Lee's left point wrist shot found its way to the back of the cage.
The Nailers ran out of gas in the third period, and Indy took advantage with four goals. Spencer Watson cashed in on a turnover at 7:07, then set up Joe Sullivan for a power play strike at 12:31. Lacroix tallied his second of the night by tipping in Willie Raskob's shot, then Tim Shoup put the finishing touches on the 6-1 result with a power play slap shot from the point.
Billy Christopoulos picked up the win for the Fuel, as he made 14 saves on 15 shots. Hayden Hawkey suffered the loss for Wheeling, as he allowed six goals on 25 shots.
McNally's Magic Gives Nailers Overtime Win
Wheeling Gets Two Goals from Defensemen in Second Straight Victory Over Fort Wayne
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets needed more than sixty minutes to decide their game for the second night in a row. Also for the second straight night, it was the Nailers who sent their fans home happy, as Patrick McNally scored on the lone shot of overtime to give Wheeling the 4-3 victory at WesBanco Arena.
Although there were only 11 combined shots on goal in the first period, three pucks found the back of the net. The first one went to the Nailers at the 4:51 mark. Adam Smith fired a dump-in from center ice, which led to Brady Tomlak hustling in to snag the puck off of the end boards, before quickly finding Lawton Courtnall, who pounded in a slap shot from the bottom of the left circle. For the second straight night, Fort Wayne pulled even, courtesy of former Wheeling forward Brandon Hawkins, who picked the top-right corner of the cage. With 2:06 remaining in the stanza, the Komets took the lead on an odd-man rush. Anthony Petruzzelli led the charge off of a Nailers turnover, before Marc-Olivier Roy touched a pass over to Zach Pochiro with an empty net in front of him on the left side.
Wheeling tied things up early in the opening minutes of period two by netting its sixth shorthanded goal of the season. Austin Fyten snatched up a loose puck at the blueline and rumbled into the slot, where he whipped a wrist shot through Louis-Phillip Guindon's legs. Midway through the frame, Fort Wayne regained the lead, as Stephen Harper wrapped the puck around and then into the net just between François Brassard's left pad and the post.
The Nailers were determined to turn the game into their favor, and at the 7:36 mark of the third period, they squared the match during a five-minute power play. Aaron Thow tossed a shot in from the right point, which glanced off of a Komet and trickled its way in over the goal line. The teams got a few chances during the remaining minutes of regulation, but nothing extraordinary, which led to another overtime contest.
It took 5:19 for the first shot on goal in the extra session, but sure enough, that shot found the back of the net for Wheeling. Patrick McNally got a step on his defender in the right circle, then turned to his forehand, and buried a wrist shot into the left side of the cage for the 4-3 Nailers triumph.
François Brassard picked up his second straight win for Wheeling, as he made 18 saves on 21 shots. Louis-Phillip Guindon received the overtime loss for the Komets, as he surrendered four goals on 22 shots.
Goalies Shine in Nailers Shootout Victory
Brassard Stops 40, Fyten Scores Shootout Winner
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets played an extremely entertaining game on Friday night at WesBanco Arena, which resulted in Wheeling's first shootout in 76 games. François Brassard was outstanding in goal for the Nailers, as he made 40 saves during the game, then another three in the shootout. Austin Fyten helped him out on the offensive side, as he scored a goal in regulation, as well as the lone marker in the shootout, as the Nailers were victorious, 3-2.
The teams played to a scoreless first period, with the Nailers holding a 10-5 advantage in shots on goal. Although the shots on goal favored the Komets in the middle stanza, the lone goal went to Wheeling at the 42-second mark. Joshua Winquist battled the puck out of the slot to Austin Fyten in the right circle. Fyten's first shot was stopped, but he followed it up and chipped in the rebound.
Fort Wayne tied the contest at the 1:55 mark of the third period, just two seconds after a power play, when former Nailer Brandon Hawkins roofed a wrist shot from the right circle. The Komets then took the lead less than three minutes later. Anthony Petruzzelli deflected Matt Murphy's shot down into the crease, where Shawn Szydlowski was able to sweep in the loose puck. Wheeling did a great job answering back in a matter of 1:38, as Patrick McNally capitalized on a huge screen to snap a shot into the top-left corner of the cage.
The deadlock remained through the remainder of the third period and overtime, as the goaltenders had some of their busiest and best action. In the shootout, Fyten was the hero for the Nailers, as he tucked a backhander through Stefanos Lekkas' legs in the second round. François Brassard took care of the other end, as Brandon Hawkins, Marc-Olivier Roy, and Shawn Szydlowski came up empty for the Komets.
François Brassard played magnificent in goal for Wheeling, as he stopped 40 of the 42 shots he faced for the victory. Stefanos Lekkas also played a strong game for Fort Wayne, as he made 36 saves on 38 shots.
FEISTY BATTLE GOES TO FUEL IN OVERTIME
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers and Indy Fuel played a spirited and tightly contested game on Wednesday night, which featured a fight, a couple of ejections, and both teams getting a point in the standings. Wheeling's Austin Fyten and Indy's Willie Raskob lit the lamp in regulation, as goaltenders François Brassard and Dan Bakala were both excellent between the pipes. However, it was Indy who emerged with the extra point, as Antoine Waked finished off an odd-man rush in overtime for the 2-1 win.
For the second consecutive game, some fireworks got things going for the Nailers, as Evan Wardley dropped the gloves with Ross Olsson, and ultimately put Wheeling on the power play. While on the man advantage, Michael Pelech made a centering pass to Sean Josling, which got bounced around in the slot, before it eventually got swatted into the net on the backhand by Austin Fyten.
The animosity between the two rivals continued into the middle frame of the eighth head-to-head meeting of the campaign. An altercation between Wardley and former Nailer Cédric Lacroix led to some 4-on-4 play, and that's when the Fuel drew even. Willie Raskob twirled around at the blueline, before catching a head of steam and motoring into the right circle, where he shot against the grain and found the twine on the left side.
Defense and goaltending were fantastic throughout the contest, and both sides were held off of the scoreboard in the third period, as overtime was required to decide a winner.
At the 1:52 mark of the extra session, Indy picked up the victory. Michael McNicholas glided in on the right side of the offensive zone, then chipped a pass through the slot to Antoine Waked, who wristed the winning strike into the top-left corner of the goal for a 2-1 Fuel triumph.
Dan Bakala earned the victory for Indy, as he stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced. François Brassard turned in a solid effort for Wheeling, as he made 21 saves on 23 shots in the overtime defeat.
Third Period Comeback Gives Oilers 3-2 Win
Lawton Courtnall & Cody Sylvester Tally for Wheeling
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers put together two strong periods against the Tulsa Oilers on Friday night, but unfortunately, the visitors saved their best for last. Alex Brooks and Danny Moynihan scored third period goals for Tulsa, who erased a 2-1 deficit for a 3-2 road win at WesBanco Arena. Lawton Courtnall and Cody Sylvester were the goal scorers for the Nailers.
Brad Drobot and Mike McKee dropped the gloves off the opening face-off and that got the Nailers some big time energy out of the gate. Wheeling tallied the lone goal of the first period at the 2:47 mark on an odd-man rush. Patrick Watling started the play in his own zone, as he sprung Joshua Winquist and Lawton Courtnall on a 2-on-1 break. Winquist delivered a perfect saucer pass to Courtnall, who buried a one-timer from the right side.
The Oilers tied the scoring during the first minute of the middle frame, as Garret Cockerill tossed a wrist shot through a screen, finding the twine from the center point. The Nailers regained their lead at the 8:05 mark with another odd-man rush. Patrick McNally spun a backhand pass through the slot to Cody Sylvester, who slammed a one-timer into a wide open cage from the bottom of the right circle.
The game slipped away from Wheeling in the third period, as Tulsa scored both goals, while killing off a penalty and holding a 12-5 advantage in shots. Alex Brooks notched the equalizer, when he blasted home the rebound of Adam Pleskach's initial shot from the top of the left circle. Then, with 12:09 left on the clock, Danny Moynihan roofed Pleskach's centering feed for his second goal in as many nights. The Nailers struggled to muster up chances in the end, as the Oilers skated away on top, 3-2.
Devin Williams got the win for Tulsa, as he made 18 saves on 20 shots. François Brassard turned aside 19 of 22 shots in his Wheeling debut, but got saddled with the defeat.
Two Quick Goals Put Tulsa on Top
Brady Tomlak & Austin Fyten Tally for Wheeling
WHEELING, WV- A span of just over two minutes made the difference in Thursday night's game, as the Wheeling Nailers played host to the Tulsa Oilers at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling led 2-1 after one on goals by Brady Tomlak and Austin Fyten, but Charlie Sampair's shorthanded marker and Mike McKee's goal right after his penalty turned the game in Tulsa's favor, as the visitors prevailed, 4-2.
Tulsa got the first goal of the evening, but the Nailers surged back to take the lead with two tallies of their own in the opening stanza. Brent Gates broke up a pass in the neutral zone for the Oilers, then led Darby Llewellyn in behind the defense, where he faked to his backhand in order to slide in the goal. Wheeling's equalizer came just after a power play had ended. Matt Foley drove a shot on goal from the right side, which squirted through goaltender Roman Durny and sat in the crease, where Brady Tomlak drove in to poke it home. With less than one minute remaining, the Nailers went ahead with a shorthanded strike. Cody Sylvester fed Austin Fyten on a 2-on-1 break, and Fyten roofed his shot from the left side of the ice.
Things turned the other way in the middle of the second period, as Tulsa got a shorthanded goal of its own, then another tally shortly right after the penalty finished. The shorty was created by Danny Moynihan, who rushed down the left side, before setting up Charlie Sampair, who converted with a shot into the left side of the cage. Mike McKee was the player who took the minor penalty, and he ended up getting rewarded when he departed the box. Garret Cockerill sent him on a breakaway, and McKee swept a shot through Hayden Hawkey's legs.
Wheeling was unable to get a tying goal to materialize, and the Oilers capped off their 4-2 win with Moynihan's empty netter.
Roman Durny earned the victory for Tulsa, as he stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced. Hayden Hawkey played well, as he made 26 saves on 29 shots, but suffered the defeat for the Nailers.
Nailers Rally Back to Win in Overtime
Sylvester Scores Twice, Watling Assists on Four, and Hawkey Earns First Pro Win
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers traveled through the snowy weather and spent less than 12 hours in Indianapolis, but that time was well worth it with Sunday's end result. Wheeling came back from a two-goal deficit to knock off the Indy Fuel, 4-3 in overtime on Cody Sylvester's second goal of the afternoon. Patrick Watling assisted on all four Nailers tallies and Hayden Hawkey came off the bench to record his first professional win.
The Nailers outshot Indy, 10-8 during the first period, but the lone goal was scored by a former member of their team. Spencer Watson stole the puck at his own blueline, then led the Fuel on a transition rush in the other direction. Watson fed Jared Thomas, who immediately touched a pass over to Cédric Lacroix, who tapped in the tally as he drove down the left side of the slot.
Wheeling evened things up in the opening minutes of the second stanza, but Indy retook the lead with two goals of their own. The Nailers got their strike from Cody Sylvester, who skated into the left circle and slid a shot in along the ice just 1:08 into the period. Spencer Watson collected both goals for the Fuel. On the first tally, he came off the right wall, then worked into the slot, where he flicked in a backhander. The second marker came on the man advantage, in which Watson's wrist shot from the right side of the high slot flew into the top-right corner. With 50 seconds left in the period, Wheeling goaltender Brandon Halverson left the game with an injury, leading to Hayden Hawkey's season debut between the pipes.
Down, but not out, the Nailers battled back and tied things up with two goals in the first five minutes of period three. Hayden Hodgson brought Wheeling within one at the 2:05 mark, when, with help from Patrick Watling, he was able to squeeze the puck between Dan Bakala and the right post. 3:27 later, Watling made a gorgeous backhand pass from the end wall to set up Joshua Winquist for a one-timer in the low slot.
The teams proceeded to overtime, where Wheeling was able to end Indy's five-game home winning streak and seven-game winning streak after regulation. The Nailers capitalized on an odd-man rush at the 1:42 mark of the extra session, as Watling teed up Sylvester for a one-timer in the right circle to end the contest, 4-3 in Wheeling's favor.
Hayden Hawkey earned his first professional victory, as he was perfect on nine shots in relief of Brandon Halverson, who made 11 saves on 14 shots. Dan Bakala received his first blemish of the season, stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced in the overtime loss.
New Players Make Quick Impact, but Nailers Fall, 5-4
Austin Fyten & Joshua Winquist Both Score in Wheeling Debut
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers had a difficult start to their return to the ice on Saturday night, but showed some positive signs at the end. Unfortunately, a three-goal deficit was too large to overcome, as the Nailers fell 5-4 to the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Austin Fyten scored twice in his Wheeling debut, while Joshua Winquist also tallied in his first game as a Nailer.
The Nailers' first game in 21 days featured some tough sledding in the opening period. Indy opened things up with two goals in the first three minutes of play, with both coming from the same player. Nic Pierog drove into the left circle and buried a wrist shot at the 1:43 mark, then roofed a shot from the right side on the power play at 2:47. With 2:11 left in the stanza, Peter Krieger added to the lead for the Fuel, as he flew down the ice from his own blueline to the top of the crease, where he faked to his backhand and slipped a shot inside of the right post.
Both teams lit the lamp twice in the middle frame. Wheeling got on the scoreboard with a power play marker at the 4:47 mark. Matt Alfaro found Austin Fyten with a perfect pass through the slot, and Fyten converted with a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle. Joe Sullivan regained the three-goal advantage for Indy with a power play goal at the 10:11 mark, as he snapped in a cross-ice pass from David Broll. Aaron Thow's wrist shot from the left point two seconds after a penalty had expired gave the Nailers their second tally of the evening, before Sullivan setup Michael McNicholas in the slot for a 5-2 score at the end of two.
Wheeling put together a strong effort to come back in the third period and was able to pull within one. Fyten notched his second of the night off of a quick passing exchange with Hayden Hodgson, then 1:14 later, Joshua Winquist tipped in Patrick Watling's shot for his first goal in a Nailers uniform. Unfortunately, a tying goal wasn't in the cards, as the Fuel collected their 11th one-goal win of the season, 5-4.
Billy Christopoulos picked up the victory for Indy, as he made 17 saves on 21 shots. Brandon Halverson suffered the loss for Wheeling, as he surrendered five goals on 18 shots.
Special Teams Send Stingrays to Win Column
South Carolina Scores Three Power Play Goals to Take 6-3 Decision
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC- The South Carolina Stingrays had struggled on the power play in their first eight games, but on Saturday night, it was one of their biggest weapons. Cole Ully's power play goal snapped a tie game in the second period and was the first of three South Carolina power play strikes, as the Stingrays knocked off the Wheeling Nailers, 6-3 at North Charleston Coliseum.
The first period saw a little bit of everything, as both teams scored twice and there was also a big scuffle. The Stingrays needed just 56 seconds to open the scoring, as Darien Craighead finished off a two-on-one rush with Justin Florek. Wheeling rebounded a little less than four minutes later, as Shane Kuzmeski led Matt Alfaro in on the right side of the offensive zone. Alfaro drove to the net, and ripped a shot in on the left side of the goal. Patrick Watling put the Nailers ahead 4:03 after that, when he poked the puck away from a South Carolina defender and squeezed a backhander through Alex Dubeau's legs. Mason Morelli tied the tilt at two with 4:07 remaining, as he dunked in a pass from Caleb Herbert on the right side of the crease.
Wheeling ran into penalty trouble in the middle of the second period and the Stingrays cashed in with a power play goal at the 13:26 mark. Cole Ully dragged the puck around at the left face-off dot to establish some extra space, which he utilized to ring a shot just inside of the right post. South Carolina upped its advantage to two a few minutes later, when Ully forced a turnover, which led to a quick passing play, in which Max Novak setup Herbert for a chip shot at the top of the crease.
The Stingrays added to their lead with a power play strike early in the third. Herbert had his left circle shot stopped, but Dylan Steman pounded in the rebound. Cody Sylvester brought the Nailers to within two thanks to a snipe on a two-on-one break from the left circle, but Steman's second of the period into an empty night put the finishing touches on South Carolina's 6-3 win.
Alex Dubeau backstopped the victory for the Stingrays, as he stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced. Shane Starrett made 27 saves on 32 shots in the loss for Wheeling.
Stingrays Surge Late in Home Win
Brandon Halverson Stops 44 in Second Start of Season for Wheeling
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC- Brandon Halverson stood on his head with a 44-save performance for the Wheeling Nailers on Friday night, as they continued their road trip against the South Carolina Stingrays at North Charleston Coliseum. Unfortunately, that effort wasn't enough to get the team into the win column, as the Stingrays got a goal from Zach Malatesta to break a late deadlock in what turned out to be a 4-2 win for the home team. Sean Josling and Lawton Courtnall tallied for Wheeling.
The two teams played to a scoreless first period, which featured fabulous goaltending by Brandon Halverson, as South Carolina outshot the Nailers, 16-8. In the middle frame, Wheeling got the scoring started. Sean Josling battled the puck over the offensive blueline and got some separation on the right side, which allowed him to rip a shot into the left side of the net. A little more than four minutes later, the Nailers struck again, thanks to a tally by their shorthanded specialist, Lawton Courtnall. Dylan MacPherson aired a long pass from end to end, which landed with Courtnall in the right circle. Courtnall waited out the defense and goalie, before pounding a shot into the left side of the cage. The Stingrays pulled within a goal less than a minute later on a Dan DeSalvo breakaway, as he swept a shot in along the ice.
South Carolina drew even at the 1:40 mark of the third period. Justin Florek dragged the puck to the front of the net, where Andrew Cherniwchan picked up the loose change and lifted a shot up top. The Stingrays put heavy pressure on for the majority of the stanza, and with 4:13 remaining, they took their first lead of the night. DeSalvo shook the puck out of the corner to Zach Malatesta, who slammed in a one-timer from the high slot. The Nailers turned on the pressure late, but an empty netter by Mason Morelli closed out the 4-2 South Carolina win.
Alex Dubeau picked up the victory for the Stingrays, as he made 25 saves on 27 shots. Brandon Halverson played extremely well for Wheeling, as he stopped 44 of the 47 shots he faced in the defeat.
Nailers Get it Done in Overtime
Matt Alfaro Scores Winning Goal on Two-Man Advantage
GREENVILLE, SC- Overtime hadn't been too friendly to the Wheeling Nailers to start the 2020-21 season, but on Wednesday night, things turned in the other direction. Wheeling got a two-man advantage in the bonus period and made it pay off, as Matt Alfaro finished off the rebound of his initial shot to lift the Nailers to a 5-4 victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
The Swamp Rabbits got on the board first with a fortunate bounce, but Wheeling rebounded well and took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room. On the Greenville strike, Matt Wedman tossed a puck into the slot, where it bounced off of a Nailers player and trickled into the goal. Wheeing tied things up at the 11:55 mark, as Cody Sylvester crossed into the slot and launched a wrist shot past John Lethemon on his glove side. With 3:27 left in the frame, the Nailers took the lead with a shorthanded tally. Brady Tomlak poked the puck away at his own blueline, springing Lawton Courtnall on a breakaway. Courtnall faked to his backhand in order to shovel a shot into the top of the net.
The middle frame started with a back-and-forth stretch, which resulted in a 3-3 deadlock. Joey Haddad tied the game the first time for the Swamp Rabbits, as he wired in a one-time feed from Frank Hora in the right circle. Wheeling went back on top 1:36 later, as Ryan Scarfo drove to the front of the net to tap in the rebound of Patrick Watling's initial shot. Greenville's next equalizer came at the 9:47 mark, when Greg Meireles connected with Max Zimmer, who cruised into the slot to deposit the pass into the left side of the cage.
Two goals in a span of 23 seconds got things rolling at the start of the third period. Ryan Zuhlsdorf slid in a shot from the left point to briefly put the Swamp Rabbits ahead, before Sean Josling sniped a wrist shot from the right circle to square the score at four. Those were the lone goals of the stanza, as both teams went to overtime for the fourth time in eight games this season.
For the third time this year, special teams decided the result in the extra session, and this one went to the Nailers, who drew back-to-back penalties to create a 5-on-3. Josling dished a pass through the crease to Matt Alfaro, who had his first shot robbed, but was able to follow up and cash in on the rebound to give Wheeling the 5-4 triumph.
Robert's Hat Trick Helps Nailers Earn a Point in Indy
Wheeling Takes Four Points in Four-Game Set With Fuel
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers are ready to take a break from playing the Indy Fuel. On Saturday night, the two teams met for the fourth time in a row, and all four games were decided by one goal. Wheeling was able to pick up a point, but Spencer Watson's power play goal gave Indy a 5-4 overtime win at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Felix Robert netted a hat trick for the Nailers, while Michael Joly notched his 100th pro goal as part of a three-point night.
The Nailers had their best first period of the season, as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead. The first goal came at the 5:35 mark. Michael Joly's shot whistled just wide to the left, but a hard rebound off the end wall allowed Felix Robert to tap the puck in on his backhand. Robert struck again with 5:58 left in the stanza, when he took a Brady Tomlak feed and cruised in on the right side, before roofing a shot into the top-left corner of the cage.
Indy turned things on in the middle frame, as it scored three of the four goals to tie the score. The Fuel got on the board courtesy of Antoine Waked, who deflected in Cliff Watson's shot from the left point. Wheeling temporarily went back ahead by two, as Robert completed his hat trick by drilling in a one-time feed from Michael Joly. Matt Miller also collected an assist for his first pro point. Indy appeared to pull within a goal at the 14:53 mark, but Matt Marcinew's strike was wiped off the board. The Fuel scored a goal that counted 37 seconds later off of a left side wrist shot by Scott Savage, then tied the contest with 1:12 left in the stanza, when Nic Pierog chipped in a cross-crease pass from Derek Barach.
The opening minute of the third period saw some quick action, as the two sides scored eight seconds apart from each other. Peter Krieger roofed a shot from the right circle for Indy, then Michael Joly jammed in a wraparound for the Nailers. The rest of the stanza was scoreless, as the teams went to overtime for the second straight Saturday.
For the second straight week, the Fuel got the extra point, thanks to special teams. Spencer Watson connected on a snap shot from the slot on the power play, giving Indy the 5-4 win.
Dan Bakala was the winning goaltender for the Fuel, as he made 19 saves on 23 shots. Shane Starrett took the overtime defeat for Wheeling, after stopping 26 of the 31 shots he faced.
Lots of Celebrating for Nailers on New Year's Eve
Watling's Two Goals, Plus First Pro Goals by Tomlak & Kuzmeski Put Wheeling in the Win Column
WHEELING, WV- New Year's Eve has traditionally been a successful night for the Wheeling Nailers, and on Thursday night, it was just what they needed to get their first win of the year. Patrick Watling got Wheeling's three-goal second period rolling, then netted what turned out to be the game winner in the third period, as the Nailers earned their 17th New Year's Eve win all-time, 4-3 over the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Brady Tomlak and Shane Kuzmeski were the other goal scorers, who both recorded their first of their pro careers.
The Nailers came out with some good energy, but the lone goal in the first period was scored by the Fuel on a power play. Spencer Watson made a perfect play at the right point, as he wristed the puck to the left side of the slot, where it was redirected into the net by Derek Barach.
The middle frame was a thriller for Wheeling, as the home team lit the lamp three times. Similar to Indy in the first, a power play marker turned the tide. Felix Robert slipped the puck into the slot for Patrick Watling, who flicked a shot into the right side of the cage. 55 seconds later, the Nailers took the lead. Dylan MacPherson let a wrist shot go from the right point, which was tipped home by Brady Tomlak for his first professional goal. Shane Kuzmeski also collected his first career tally at the 15:29 mark, when his blast from the blueline found the target. Nic Pierog brought the Fuel within a goal during the final minute, as he slid in a one-time feed from Jared Thomas.
At the 5:10 mark of the third period, Wheeling got a key insurance goal, which turned out to be the game winner. After the Nailers won a couple of puck battles, Sean Josling tossed a pass through the low slot to Watling, who cashed in for his second marker of the night. Antoine Waked bounced in the rebound of Willie Raskob's initial shot to make it a one-goal game, but Wheeling was determined to get to the finish line and it did, closing out the 4-3 home win.
Shane Starrett earned the victory in goal for the Nailers, as he denied 25 of the 28 shots he faced. Tom Aubrun took the loss for Indy, as he made 24 saves on 28 shots.
Fuel Escape with Fifth Straight One-Goal Win
Michael Pelech Dishes out Three Primary Assists for Wheeling
WHEELING, WV- The Indy Fuel have been making a living off of winning close games, and on Sunday afternoon, they improved to 5-0 in one-goal games, as they edged the Wheeling Nailers, 4-3 at WesBanco Arena. Peter Krieger tallied twice for the Fuel, including the game winning goal on the power play in the third period. Michael Pelech dished out the primary assist on each of Wheeling's three markers.
The Nailers had a huge start to the game, as they had three power play opportunities in the opening ten minutes. The third man advantage was the charm, as Michael Pelech snapped a pass through the low slot to Felix Robert, who banged in a one-timer on the left side. Unfortunately for Wheeling, the Fuel responded quickly, as they scored a pair of goals to take the lead. The first tally came on the man advantage, as Peter Krieger picked the top-left corner of the net from his spot on the left face-off dot. 1:04 later, the visitors struck again, as Matt Marcinew raced over the blueline and rang a wrist shot in off the crossbar.
Hard work was the theme of the middle frame for the Nailers, as they outshot Indy, 13-7, while netting the tying goal. Shane Kuzmeski tossed the puck toward the goal, where the reboud was dug free by Pelech to Tyler Drevitch. Drevitch quickly shifted the puck to his backhand in order to lift a shot into the top shelf.
A key moment in the game occurred at the 6:35 mark of the third period, while Wheeling was on the power play. The Nailers turned the puck over in their own zone and Nic Pierog capitalized, faking to his backhand, and flipping a shot into the goal. The Fuel extended their lead on their own power play a little more than four minutes later, when Krieger cashed in with his second in the day into the top-right corner. Wheeling trimmed the deficit down to one with under two minutes to play, as Pelech made a dazzling through-the-legs pass to Matt Alfaro, who chipped in a backhander on the right side of the slot. A late penalty handicapped the Nailers' chance to pull even, as Indy prevailed with the 4-3 decision.
Tom Aubrun stopped 36 of the 39 shots in his pro debut to record the win for the Fuel. Brandon Halverson made 24 saves on 28 shots in his season debut for Wheeling.
Nailers Take Another Point, but Indy Wins in Overtime
Matt Alfaro Becomes the Fifth Straight Rookie to Score His First Career Goal
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- For the second straight game, the Wheeling Nailers came away with one point and very nearly got a second one. However, Peter Krieger's shorthanded goal at the 4:31 mark of overtime delivered a 2-1 win for the Indy Fuel at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Matt Alfaro tallied the lone marker for the Nailers - the fifth straight goal by a Wheeling rookie.
The two division rivals played to a scoreless first period, which featured a 7-5 shots advantage for Wheeling. Indy was the first team to get on the board at the 9:43 mark of the middle frame. Shane Starrett made back-to-back splendid saves during a shift of heavy pressure, but DJ Busdeker eventually broke through, as he grabbed the final rebound and stashed it into the right side of the cage. The Nailers answered 1:55 later. Matt Alfaro breezed into the left circle and wired his first professional goal inside of the right post.
Both teams had strong defensive showings in the third period, which included successful performances on the penalty kill. That led to a 1-1 deadlock, which sent the contest into overtime.
In the extra session, the Fuel came away with the extra point, as Peter Krieger had his shorthanded breakaway attempt stopped, but he was able to follow up his own shot and tuck in the rebound for the 2-1 Indy win.
Dan Bakala picked up the victory in net for the Fuel, as he stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced. Shane Starrett turned in another great performance for Wheeling, as he made 24 saves on 26 shots in the overtime defeat.
Nailers Pick up First Point in Overtime Defeat
Lawton Courtnall & Felix Robert Join the Parade of Players to Score First Goals
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers put forth a tremendous effort on Saturday night in their weekend finale against the Orlando Solar Bears. Unfortunately, they were only able to come away with one point, as Alex Green's goal in the final minute of overtime lifted the Solar Bears to the 3-2 road win at WesBanco Arena. Lawton Courtnall and Felix Robert both netted their first career goals for the Nailers.
The Nailers put some solid opportunities together in the opening stanza, but an unlucky bounce led to Orlando getting on the board first. Ryan Lohin's pass through the slot got blocked, but the puck deflected to Peter Abbandonato, who placed a shot into the open left side of the twine.
Wheeling wasn't discouraged, and thanks to some big saves by Shane Starrett, the home team was able to fight back and get two big goals during the final five minutes of period two. The first tally came shorthanded. Matt Alfaro gloved the puck down at his own blueline and broke away. He had his shot stopped, but Lawton Courtnall followed and lifted in the first goal of his pro career. With under 30 seconds to go, the Nailers struck for their first power play goal of the year, which was also a first for a player, as Felix Robert rifled a shot under the crossbar for the first marker of his career.
The Solar Bears pulled even in the third period, as they converted for their first power play tally of the campaign. Aaron Luchuk fed Jimmy Huntington, who zipped a wrist shot into the top-left corner from the left face-off dot. Wheeling recovered to kill another Orlando man advantage in the closing minutes of regulation to force an extra session.
Overtime featured loads of chances for each team, as there were ten shots combined shots on goal. Both netminders were spectacular, as it took until 21 seconds remained to decide a winner. Defenseman Alex Green jumped up to the bottom of the left circle, where he rang the deciding marker in off the right post, as the Solar Bears skated away with the 3-2 victory.
Garret Sparks snagged the win in goal for Orlando, as he turned away 26 of the 28 shots he faced, including all six in overtime. Shane Starrett turned in a strong performance for the Nailers, as he made 28 saves on 31 shots.
Nailers Save Best for Last, but Fall to Orlando
Tyler Drevitch & Sean Josling Score First Career Goals for Wheeling
WHEELING, WV- Two rookies had goals to remember for the Wheeling Nailers on Friday night, as Tyler Drevitch and Sean Josling both scored the first goals of their professional careers. However, the second period was the story of the game, as the Orlando Solar Bears found the back of the net three times, en route to a 4-2 road win at WesBanco Arena.
The two sides played to a scoreless first period, but in the middle frame, Orlando opened things up by lighting the lamp three times. The first goal came from the blueline, as DeVante Stephens let a wrist shot go through traffic and was able to find the bottom-right corner of the cage. Less than three minutes later, the visitors upped the lead. Tyler Bird dragged the puck wide of the goal, then dropped a pass to Johno May, who smacked the loose biscuit into the top-right corner. The Nailers hoped to get some momentum off of a successful 5-on-3 penalty kill, but the Solar Bears tacked on one more tally with 2:53 remaining. Chris LeBlanc scraped the puck out of the crease, then flipped a shot under the crossbar.
The third period was Wheeling's best, but unfortunately, it was a case of too little too late. Tyler Drevitch got the Nailers on the board with a shorthanded goal at the 5:22 mark, when he sped into the right circle and tossed an offspeed shot underneath netminder Clint Windsor. Ryan Lohin gave Orlando a big insurance goal with 2:44 left, as his left side shot had just enough power to make its way in over the line. Sean Josling also picked up a marker in the third for Wheeling, as he banged in the third shot, after Windsor kicked out initial shots by Lawton Courtnall and Shane Kuzmeski. All four players involved in the third period scoring for the Nailers recorded their first professional points.
Clint Windsor was the winning goalie for the Solar Bears, as he made 22 saves on 24 shots. Shane Starrett stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced between the pipes for Wheeling.
Wheeling's Comeback Falls Short on Opening Night
Chad Duchesne & Michael Joly Tally the Goals for the Nailers
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers opened the 2020-21 season on Saturday night, as they played host to the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Chad Duchesne and Michael Joly both lit the lamp for the Nailers, but the Fuel netted two goals in a span of 27 seconds in the first period and never surrendered the lead, as they skated away with the 3-2 road win.
The highlight of the first period was a fight that everyone was looking forward to, as Brad Drobot and Patrick McGrath dropped the gloves. Unfortunately for Wheeling, there were two red lights that went the other way. Derek Barach opened the scoring for the Fuel, when he drilled in a one-time feed from Derian Plouffe in the left circle. 27 seconds later, David Broll extended the advantage for the visitors, when he redirected in Seamus Malone's wrist shot from long distance.
The Nailers got their first goal of the season at the 6:23 mark of the middle frame. Chad Duchesne stepped up into the high slot and wired a slap shot into the top-left corner of the cage. However, Indy rebuilt its two-goal edge with 6:46 remaining, when Jared Thomas hammered in a one-timer, which was set up by Peter Krieger and former Nailer Alex Rauter.
Wheeling pulled to within a goal with 3:11 remaining, when Michael Joly broke behind the defense, and swept a shot through Dan Bakala's legs. Drydn Dow had the lead pass to send Joly on the break and Shane Starrett also picked up an assist from the crease. The comeback ended up falling short, as the Fuel prevailed, 3-2.
Dan Bakala backstopped the win in goal for Indy, as he made 32 saves on 34 shots. Shane Starrett was saddled with the defeat, despite stopping 23 of the 26 shots he faced.
Nailers Announce 2020-21 Season Opening Roster
Wheeling Begins its 29th Season Saturday Against Indy
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their season opening roster for the 2020-21 season. Wheeling is opening the season with 26 players - 15 forwards, eight defensemen, and three goaltenders.
Starting in the crease, the Nailers have three netminders who all have professional experience. Shane Starrett was assigned to Wheeling from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, after spending all of last season with the AHL's Bakersfield Condors. The last time Starrett played a full season in the ECHL was in 2017-18, when he was an all-star with the Wichita Thunder. Brandon Halverson has also spent significant time in the AHL, primarily with the Hartford Wolf Pack, while also appearing in an NHL game with the New York Rangers. Halverson spent last season with the Norfolk Admirals, and posted a .904 save percentage. Hayden Hawkey saw limited action last season as a member of the Kansas City Mavericks, but the former Montreal Canadiens draft pick had a sensational college career at Providence, where he went 72-36-13.
On the blueline, there are two familiar faces in Dane Birks and Marc-Olivier Duquette. Birks played for Wheeling in 2018-19, then was involved in an NHL trade, which led him to the Rapid City Rush last season. Duquette was a rookie with the Nailers last season, and is one of only two returning players from that squad. Chad Duchesne is the most experienced player among Wheeling defensemen, as he begins his fifth pro season, after spending each of the first four with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Dylan MacPherson also played for Greenville last season and contributed 17 points as a rookie. Drydn Dow makes his North American pro debut following two seasons with the EIHL's Dundee Stars, and is coming off leading the EIHL with 14 goals a year ago. Ohio State's top defensive scorer Matt Miller is set to make his pro debut with the Nailers, in addition to Matt Foley out of Yale University and Shane Kuzmeski out of Clarkson University.
Up front, Cody Sylvester is one of two forwards who has played in Wheeling before, as he led the 2013-14 team with 24 goals. He has spent the last six seasons playing in Europe. The other familiar face is fan favorite Brad Drobot, who returns for his third season in the Friendly City. Michael Pelech ranks fourth in ECHL history with 705 games played, sixth with 372 assists, and 21st with 541 points. Michael Joly has spent the last two seasons in the AHL, and the last time the ECHL saw him, he was hoisting hardware as the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoff MVP with the Colorado Eagles. Kevin Dufour eclipsed the 20-goal plateau the last time he played in the ECHL, and is coming off a successful season as Dow's teammate in Dundee. Patrick Watling notched 89 points in 103 ECHL games with Orlando and Tulsa, and he returns to the pro ranks after two seasons at the University of New Brunswick.
The Nailers also have a significant amount of rookies among their forwards, starting with AHL contract Felix Robert, who ranked third in the QMJHL with 92 points last season, while playing with Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Samuel Poulin in Sherbrooke. Luke Lynch continues the Robert Morris University pipeline to Wheeling, and will look to enjoy similar success as his brother Zac did two seasons ago. Sean Josling had a standout performance in Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage, after leading the OHL's Sarnia Sting in scoring last year. Matt Alfaro and Ben Freeman also led their teams in scoring in 2019-20, as Alfaro did so for the University of Calgary and Freeman did so for the University of Connecticut. Brady Tomlak is a Lieutenant in the Air Force, Lawton Courtnall of Western Michigan University continues his family's legacy by playing pro hockey, Tyler Drevitch was a captain at Merrimack College, and Nick Rivera was a captain at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
The ECHL has announced the following roster modifications that are in place for the start of the 2020-21 season:
The ECHL has temporarily approved additional roster spots for each team for the assignment of National Hockey League and American Hockey League contracted Players. As a result of these additional roster spots, ECHL teams will be allowed to dress two additional skaters for each game, raising the lineup limit to 18 skaters and two goaltenders.
ECHL teams can carry a maximum of 20 Players on the active roster, no more than 18 of whom may be skaters, at any one time. For the first 30 days of the regular season, teams can carry a maximum of 21 Players on the active roster, no more than 19 of whom may be skaters, at any one time.
Teams are permitted to carry up to three (3) Players at a time on the Reserve List, while an unlimited number of players can be placed on the 14-day Injured Reserve.
The Wheeling Nailers will open the 2020-21 regular season on Saturday, December 12th at 7:10, when they play host to the Indy Fuel. Season memberships are available for the 2020-21 season. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.