NAILERS GAMEDAY 2019-20
Education Day Game Eludes Nailers
Carlos Fornaris Scores First Pro Goal for Lone Wheeling Tally
WHEELING, WV- Education Day has typically been very successful for the Wheeling Nailers, who entered Tuesday morning with a 12-1-3 record in their last 16 contests started before noon. Despite a terrific crowd of 5,140 at WesBanco Arena, the end result wasn't what the home team had in mind. The Reading Royals got two goals and two assists from Thomas Ebbing, en route to a 5-1 road triumph. Carlos Fornaris' first pro goal was the lone marker for the Nailers.
The Royals put lots of pressure on Wheeling during the first period, and that led to a couple of goals. On the first tally, the Nailers were in the midst of a line change. Luke Stork immediately fed the puck ahead to Hayden Hodgson, who broke down the middle and ripped a shot through goaltender Emil Larmi. A little more than five minutes later, Reading struck again, when Thomas Ebbing lunged out to deposit the rebound of Garrett Cecere's initial attempt.
Reading extended the lead with two more goals in the middle frame, as Rob Michel rifled home a shot from the slot during the opening minutes, before a snipe by Hodgson with 4:03 remaining. Sandwiched in the middle of those was the first marker of the day by Wheeling. Spencer Trapp drove to the goal and dribbled a backhander that sat on the goal line. Carlos Fornaris found the loose puck and poked it into the cage for his first professional goal.
Ebbing's second tally of the match was the lone scoring in the third period, as the Royals completed their 5-1 win.
Felix Sandstrom got the victory in net for Reading, as he made 17 saves on 18 shots. Emil Larmi came up with 33 saves on 38 shots in the loss for the Nailers.
Nailers Come up Short in Kalamazoo
Wheeling Opens Four-Game Homestand on Tuesday Morning
KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers played one of their better games of the road trip on Friday night, but ran out of gas in their third game in three days, as they were facing the Kalamazoo Wings, who had Thursday off. Aaron Thow scored on the power play at the 13:23 mark of the second period, giving Kalamazoo a lead it didn't relinquish, as the Wings prevailed 4-2 at Wings Event Center.
Both teams lit the lamp once during the openeing frame. Kalamazoo was first on the board at the one-minute mark. Ben Wilson tossed a shot toward the pile from the right point, which was tipped into the left side of the cage by Brennan Sanford. The Nailers responded with 6:58 remaining. Brandon Hawkins swiped the puck off the end wall and into the right side of the slot, where Alec Butcher chipped a one-timer into the left side of the net.
The Wings pulled ahead on a couple of occasions in the second period. Spencer Naas let a wrist shot go from the high slot for a 2-1 lead, before Wheeling answered with an equalizer. Renars Krastenbergs wired a one-timer off the crossbar, which produced a rebound finisher by Cam Brown from the left circle. Kalamazoo went back on top with one second left on a man advantage, when Aaron Thow's shot from the top of the right circle ramped off a stick and into the top-right corner of the goal.
The Nailers got a power play in the closing minutes, but Kyle Blaney's shorthanded empty netter sealed the 4-2 win for the Wings.
Jake Hildebrand was the winning goaltender for Kalamazoo, as he made 29 saves on 31 shots. Alex D'Orio stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced for Wheeling, but suffered the defeat.
Indy Widens its Lead for Fourth Place with 6-2 Win
Nick Saracino Nets Two for Wheeling
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers had an opportunity to close the gap behind the fourth place Indy Fuel on Thursday night, but Fuel protected their home ice, and were victorious, 6-2 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Nick Saracino netted both goals for Wheeling, while the Fuel got three points each from Craig Wyszomirski and Tim Soderlund.
The Nailers got on the scoreboard first, but found themselves trailing by one at the intermission. Wheeling's goal came off the rush, as Justin Almeida fed the puck to Nick Saracino, who crashed the net and slipped a backhander under netminder Dan Bakala. The Fuel pulled even at the 14:40 mark. Tim Soderlund slid a pass across the blueline to Craig Wyszomirski, who buried a one-timer from the right point. With 1:01 left in the stanza, Indy took the lead. Liam Coughlin set up Michael Doherty on a 2-on-1 break, and Doherty converted with a wrist shot from the right side of the slot.
The lone goal of the middle frame went to the Fuel, who extended their lead. Bobby MacIntyre willed a puck into the slot to Spencer Watson, who settled down the pass, then roofed his team-leading 29th tally of the season into the top-right corner.
Indy put the game away with three goals in the third period. Tim Soderlund lifted in a face-off win by Ryan Van Stralen, Joe Sullivan deposited his own rebound, and Soderlund tipped in Wyszomirski. Saracino redirected in a Cam Brown shot to give the Nailers a third period marker, but they fell, 6-2.
Dan Bakala got the win in goal for the Fuel, making 14 saves on 16 shots. Emil Larmi took the loss for Wheeling, stopping 30 of the 36 shots he faced.
Komets Edge Nailers, 3-2
Lyszczarczyk Snaps Deadlock with 9:50 Remaining
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers played a tight game against the Fort Wayne Komets, which came down to one shot in the third period to decide a winner. Unfortunately, that shot came from Fort Wayne's Alan Lyszczarczyk, who snapped a tie with 9:50 to go, giving the Komets a 3-2 victory at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Jan Drozg and Renas Krastenbergs scored for the Nailers.
The Nailers got off to a quick start, as they opened the scoring just 1:05 into the contest. Nick Saracino forechecked the puck away to Josh Holmstrom in the right circle. Holmstrom swung a pass over to Matt Abt, whose shot missed the net, but produced a large rebound off the boards for Jan Drozg, who tucked the puck into the right side of the cage.
Fort Wayne fired in a couple of quick goals to begin the middle frame, before Wheeling pulled even in the latter stages. Alan Lyszczarczyk stole the puck on the left side of the net, and converted on a wraparound at the 2:38 mark to put the Komets on the board. Less than three minutes later, Gabriel Verpaelst sent the puck to the front of the net, where a rebound was flipped in by Brady Shaw. With 5:01 to go, the Nailers got the equalizer off the rush. Yushiroh Hirano waited patiently as he gained the blueline, then fed Alec Butcher, who put a pass on Renars Krastenbergs' tape for a tap-in at the top of the crease.
The deciding goal came with 9:50 left in the third period. Drake Rymsha forced a turnover in center ice, which led to Lyszczarczyk speeding into the offensive zone. Lyszczarczyk faked his way around the back of the net, then stuffed in a wraparound, putting Fort Wayne ahead, 3-2. Wheeling pressed late, but was unable to put a tying marker on the board.
Dylan Ferguson got the win for the Komets, as he stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio suffered the defeat for the Nailers, making 26 saves on 29 shots.
Walleye Win Big at Home
Wheeling Continues Divisional Road Trip in Fort Wayne on Wednesday
TOLEDO, OH- The three-game weekend was a difficult one for the Wheeling Nailers, and it came to a conclusion in a painful way on Sunday afternoon, as they suffered a 6-0 loss at the hands of the Toledo Walleye at Huntington Center. Billy Christopoulos earned his first professional shutout with 25 saves, while six different Toledo players lit the lamp.
The lone goal of the first period went to the Walleye. Kyle Bonis picked off a pass on the right side of his offensive blueline, then quickly rushed into the circle, where he zipped a wrist shot under the crossbar to put his team in the lead. Wheeling nearly pulled even, when Nick Saracino broke through the defense and around the goaltender, but his shot rang off the left post.
Toledo exploded in the middle frame, as it put four pucks into the back of the net. At the 1:27 mark, Nolan Gluchowski sent a dribbling pass to TJ Hensick, who turned in a shot from the bottom of the left circle. A little more than six minutes later, the Walleye scored just after a power play expired, when Troy Loggins wired in a shot from the top of the right circle. Moments later, Gregor MacLeod deposited a cross-ice feed from Loggins, then Shane Berschbach dunked in a loose puck on the right side of the crease in the final minute.
Josh Kestner's power play strike was the lone goal of the third period, as Toledo put the wraps on its 6-0 win.
Billy Christopoulos recorded his first career shutout for the Walleye with 25 saves. Emil Larmi allowed five goals on 30 shots in two periods for the Nailers, before Alex D'Orio went 6-for-7 in the third.
Cyclones a Tough Opponent on Penguins Night
Crowd of 4,040 Comes to See Stanley Cup Champion Max Talbot
WHEELING, WV- 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Max Talbot helped bring in a crowd of 4,040 at WesBanco Arena on Saturday night, as the Wheeling Nailers celebrated Pittsburgh Penguins Night. Unfortunately, it was the Cincinnati Cyclones who celebrated a victory, as they scored five of the game's final six goals, while limiting Wheeling to just 12 shots on goal in a 5-2 result. Cam Brown and Renars Krastenbergs were the goal scorers for the Nailers.
The teams played a scoreless first period, but that result changed early in the middle frame. Wheeling got on the board first with a power play marker, as Brandon Hawkins swiped a pass across the slot to Cam Brown, who wired in a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle. Unfortunately, the lead lasted for just ten seconds, as John Wiitala tied things up for the Cyclones by wristing a shot just inside the right post. Later in the stanza, Jesse Schultz capitalized on a turnover for Cincinnati, then Ben Johnson put the visitors ahead by two, when he rang a shot off the left post and into the net.
Nate Mitton expanded the lead for the Cyclones with a one-timer from below the right circle at the 2:35 mark of the third period, before Wheeling's Renars Krastenbergs and Cincinnati's Tobie Bisson exchanged tallies, giving the game a 5-2 final score in favor of the Cyclones.
Michael Houser got the win for Cincinnati, as he made ten saves on 12 shots. Emil Larmi suffered the defeat for the Nailers, stopping 23 of the 28 shots he faced.
Maine Prevails Over Wheeling with Third Period Goal
Jan Drozg Scores in Return to Nailers from AHL
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers scored the opening goal for the third straight game, but were unable to break the final tie of the night in the third period of Friday night's clash with the Maine Mariners. Greg Chase tallied at the 6:52 mark of the third period, lifting he and the rest of Riley Armstrong's squad to a 3-2 road victory at WesBanco Arena. Jan Drozg and Brandon Hawkins were the goal scorers for the Nailers.
After a scoreless first period, both teams put two goals on the board in the middle frame. The Nailers struck first on a power play at the 1:18 mark. Renars Krastenbergs delivered a perfect saucer pass through the low slot to Jan Drozg, who pounded in a one-timer on the left side. Terrence Wallin was credited with the tying goal for Maine, when a Wheeling player scored on his own net. Brandon Hawkins put the Nailers back in the lead 2:12 later, when he roofed a wrist shot from the slot, off a rush with Nick Saracino. Wallin's second of the night tied things up before intermission, as he lunged to backhand in the rebound of Greg Chase's initial shot.
The deciding goal came at the 6:23 mark of the third period, and it was the visitors who went ahead for the first time. After a Nailer broke a stick, Maine rushed the other way on a 2-on-1, and Connor Bleakley set up Chase, who slammed in a one-timer from the left side of the slot. The Mariners did a remarkable job of blocking shots in the closing minute, which allowed them to preserve their 3-2 win.
Connor LaCouvee was the winning goaltender for Maine, as he made 21 saves on 23 shots. Alex D'Orio stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced in the defeat for Wheeling.
Clutch Third Period Lifts Nailers in Brampton
Krastenbergs & Almeida Break Deadlock, as Ontario Native Ruby Backstops Win
BRAMPTON, ON- The Wheeling Nailers finished a busy week in strong fashion on Sunday afternoon, as they clashed with the Brampton Beast at CAA Centre. Renars Krastenbergs broke a 1-1 tie in the third period, then Justin Almeida netted what turned out to be the winning goal, as the Nailers were triumphant, 3-2.
The Nailers struck for the lone goal of the first period, which came with flash and flare. Nick Saracino stickhandled his way into the right circle of the offensive zone, then faked out a Brampton defender, before reaching a forehand shot around Alex Dubeau on the left side of the crease.
Brampton drew even at the 10:37 mark of the middle stanza. TJ Melancon dangled his way in from the right point, before slipping a pass through the slot to former Nailer Daniel Leavens, who pounded in a one-timer from the left face-off dot.
At the 5:02 mark of the third period, Brendan Miller took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the Beast, giving Wheeling a power play. On the man advantage, Matt Abt's right point wrist shot went off of Alex Dubeau and landed in the crease, where it was poked home by Renars Krastenbergs. 3:05 later, Justin Almeida banged in the rebound of Alec Butcher's slap shot for what ended up being a huge marker, as Erik Bradford pulled Brampton within one during the final minute. However, the Nailers made sure to close out their 3-2 victory.
Ontario native Jordan Ruby earned the win in goal for Wheeling, as he denied 27 of the 29 shots he faced. Alex Dubeau made 28 saves on 31 shots in the loss for the Beast.
Nailers Drop Heartbreaker in Kalamazoo
Goal in Dying Seconds Gives Wings 3-2 Win
KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers came extremely close to taking points out of Wings Event Center on Saturday night, but fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Kalamazoo Wings. Kyle Blaney lit the lamp with ten seconds left in the third period, as the Wings picked up a 3-2 victory on their home ice. Blake Siebenaler and Brandon Hawkins were Wheeling's goal scorers.
The Nailers needed just 39 seconds to get on the scoreboard. Yushiroh Hirano swept the puck off the right wall to Blake Siebenaler, who stepped in and wired a slap shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Kalamazoo drew even less than six minutes before the intermission, as Kyle Blaney fed Austin Farley off the rush, allowing Farley to connect from the left side of the slot.
The lone goal of the middle frame went to Wheeling, who took its second lead of the contest. Matt Abt snagged a loose puck along the left wall, and proceeded to lead his team on the attack with a center ice feed to Nick Saracino. After gaining the blueline, Saracino dished a pass to Brandon Hawkins, who slammed in a shot from the right side.
The Wings drew even at the 10:45 mark of the third period, when Ben Wilson stormed down the right side and sent a wobbling puck into the short side of the net. Then, with ten seconds remaining, Kyle Blaney found the twine, lifting Kalamazoo to a 3-2 home win.
Jake Hildebrand stood on his head to earn the win for Kalamazoo, as he stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio made 26 saves on 29 shots in the defeat for the Nailers.
Cyclones Stymie Nailers, 3-0
Cincinnati Scores Two Goals in 42 Seconds to Break Deadlock
CINCINNATI, OH- The Cincinnati Cyclones played a very stingy home game on Friday night, as they limited the Wheeling Nailers to just 11 shots on goal. Cincinnati got goals 42 seconds apart from Johnny Coughlin and Jesse Schultz, then added an empty netter in the last minute for a 3-0 final score at Heritage Bank Center.
The defenses and goaltenders were on their games early, as it took over 32 minutes for a goal to be scored. The first team to light the lamp was Cincinnati at the 12:41 mark of the second period. Pascal Aquin swiped a pass into the slot for Johnny Coughlin, who stepped into a one-timer, which he sent into the top-right corner of the net. The Cyclones added to their lead 42 seconds later on a power play. Jesse Schultz let a wrist shot fly from the right side of the slot, which came off a setup by Justin Baudry.
Cincinnati's defense continued to shut the door in the third period, and Mason Mitchell capped the home team's 3-0 win with an empty netter in the final minute.
Jamie Phillips made 11 saves in the shutout for the Cyclones. Jordan Ruby turned in a 27-save effort on 29 shots for the Nailers.
Abt Scores Twice, but Nailers Fall Short
Wheeling Gets First Two-Goal Game of the Season by a Defenseman
WHEELING, WV- The Reading Royals have been on a roll lately, and that continued at WesBanco Arena on Wednesday night, as they picked up their seventh straight win. Matt Abt scored twice for the Wheeling Nailers and Nick Saracino joined him in the goal column, but Wheeling fell, 6-3.
One goal was scored in the opening stanza, and that went to the Royals, who also held a 13-7 advantage in shots on net. Rob Michel made his way into the right circle, and with the puck on edge, sent a fluttering wrist shot into the top-left corner of the cage.
The second period followed a different script, as the two clubs combined to light the lamp six times. Marly Quince extended Reading's lead at the 2:22 mark, as he capitalized off a turnover in front of the net. Matt Abt put the Nailers on the board 42 seconds later, as he cruised into the left circle to score on a wrist shot. Brayden Low tipped in Miles Gendron's point shot for the Royals at 5:42, before Nick Saracino roofed a power play marker from the left side of the slot to bring Wheeling within one. Unfortunately for the home side, Reading tallied twice more before the break, as Thomas Ebbing wound into the slot at the 14:41 mark, then Corey Mackin stashed in a loose puck from the right circle with 1:36 left in the stanza.
Abt potted his second goal of the night with a wrist shot from the right point, but Steven Swavely's shorthanded empty netter put the wraps on a 6-3 Royals win.
Felix Sandstrom picked up the victory for Reading, stopping 30 of the 33 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio made 30 saves on 35 shots in the defeat for the Nailers.
Nailers Protect the Net and Serve up Six on Fort Wayne
Jordan Ruby Makes 39 Saves, as Wheeling Pulls Within Four Points of Fourth Place
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers knew they were faced with a big game on Saturday night, as they played host to the Fort Wayne Komets in front of 3,517 fans at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling was up for the challenge, and played a fantastic team game, as six different players found the back of the net, while Jordan Ruby made 39 saves in a 6-1 triumph.
The lone goal of the first period went to the Komets, who outshot Wheeling, 17-8. Shawn Szydlowski spun a pass into the middle of the ice for Brett McKenzie, who stepped in and ripped a shot into the top-right corner of the net.
The Nailers had excellent energy in the middle frame, as they stormed back with three straight goals to take the lead. At the 5:55 mark, Graham Knott had his first shot blocked, but followed up his attempt, and wired the equalizer into the left side of the cage. 1:22 later, Wheeling struck again. Nick Saracino held onto the puck in the right circle, then made a tape-to-tape pass to Ryan Scarfo for a wide open tip-in on the left side of the crease. Fort Wayne native Blake Siebenaler added another tally for the home side with 7:43 to go, as he forced a turnover, then got the return feed from Renars Krastenbergs, which sent him through the defense and in for a backhand goal.
The home crowd got even more to cheer about in the third period, as the Nailers tacked on three more goals for the 6-1 final. Cam Brown swatted in a loose puck with his backhand at the 1:29 mark on his backhand, Yushiroh Hirano capitalized off a turnover with a snipe into the top-left corner at 7:12, and Alec Butcher finished off a shorthanded rush with Ryan Scarfo at 16:16.
Jordan Ruby was maginificent in goal for Wheeling, as he denied 39 of the 40 shots he faced. Cole Kehler allowed six goals on 28 shots in the loss for the Komets.
LOTS OF HEARTS FOR THE NAILERS IN 5-3 WIN
Nick Saracino and Yushiroh Hirano return to the lineup in a big way!
CINCINNATI, OH- The Wheeling Nailers got a big jolt on Friday night, as Nick Saracino and Yushiroh Hirano returned to the lineup. Both players had an impact at Heritage Bank Center, as they joined Cam Brown by scoring second period goals, leading the Nailers to a 5-3 triumph over the Cincinnati Cyclones.
The first period was an open one, as both teams found the back of the net twice. Wheeling struck in the first minute for the second straight contest. Graham Knott dribbled a pass through the slot to Renars Krastenbergs, who slid in a shot from the bottom of the left circle. The Cyclones drew even at the 12:16 mark, when Ben Johnson broke in on the left side, burying a shot against the grain on the right side of the cage. Special teams created the final two tallies in the stanza, as Alec Butcher pounded in a one-time feed from Cam Brown for the Nailers goal, before Brady Vail's wrist shot from the left circle made for a 2-2 deadlock.
Wheeling dominated the middle frame, as they scored three times. At the 2:04 mark, Blake Siebenaler steered a shot on goal that was stopped, but the rebound hopped out to Yushiroh Hirano, who smacked in a backhander. Nick Saracino added to the lead in his return to the lineup, as he converted on a breakaway, finding the twine on the left side. Then, with 2:31 to go, Spencer Trapp kept the puck in the zone and set up Cam Brown, who ramped a redirection into the right side of the net.
Jesse Schultz scored the lone goal of the third period for the Cyclones, who were stymied on 16 other shots, as the Nailers preserved their 5-3 win.
Alex D'Orio backstopped the victory for Wheeling, blocking away 28 of the 31 shots he faced. Jamie Phillips allowed five goals on 29 shots in the loss for Cincinnati.
Royals Rally Back to Edge Wheeling, 5-3
Craig Skudalski Scores First Goal of Season While Playing Forward
READING, PA- The Wheeling Nailers took the ice with a unique lineup of seven forwards and nine defensemen on Saturday night, as they collided with the Reading Royals at Santander Arena. Despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Ryan Scarfo and Craig Skudalski, Wheeling was unable to hold off a second period surge by the Royals, who prevailed, 5-3 on their home ice.
The Nailers got off to a great start, as they lit the lamp twice during the opening period of play. The first goal came just 51 seconds into the stanza, as Matt Abt's right circle shot was tipped by Ryan Scarfo, who ended up depositing his own rebound into the cage. Then, after each squad spent time on the man advantage, Graham Knott fed Craig Skudalski, who powered in a shot from the top of the crease. Reading tallied with 2:57 remaining, when Rob Michel shifted behind the Wheeling defense, then reached the backhand side of his stick around Alex D'Orio's right pad to slide the puck in over the line.
The Royals had a strong surge to start the second period, as they pulled ahead with three goals in a span of 3:54. Hayden Hodgson knotted the game at the 6:36 mark, when he ripped in a wrist shot from the left circle. 1:06 later, Reading converted on a power play, as Eric Knodel set up Frank DiChiara for a one-timer from the right circle. The Royals then struck for a shorthanded marker, when Brayden Low broke down the left side on a 2-on-1, and lifted a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage.
With 5:41 left in regulation, the Nailers made a late push, pulling to within a goal. Alec Butcher rang a wrist shot off the crossbar, but the rebound pounded down to Graham Knott, who popped in an attempt from the left side. Unfortunately, a tying goal never materialized, and DiChiara's second of the night went into an empty twine, putting the finishing touches on Reading's 5-3 win.
Felix Sandstrom was the winning netminder for the Royals, as he made 25 saves on 28 shots. Alex D'Orio suffered the defeat for Wheeling, despite stopping 31 of the 35 shots he faced.
Powell Nets Game Winner, as Wheeling Goes 4-1-1
Nailers Punctuate Homestand with Overtime Win
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers fell behind three separate times on Tuesday night, but battled back each time, including once in the final minute of regulation. At the 2:54 mark of overtime, Myles Powell put the Nailers into the win column, as he scored on a breakaway, lifting Wheeling to a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks. The Nailers posted a 4-1-1 record on their season-long six-game homestand.
The lone goal of the first period went to the Mavericks at the 12:19 mark. Bryan Lemos picked off a pass in the low slot, and slid a backhander on goal, which was stopped by Jordan Ruby. However, the rebound was lifted into the cage by Loren Ulett.
Both teams lit the lamp in the middle frame, with the Nailers pulling even for a few minutes, before Kansas City retook the lead. On the Wheeling goal, Blake Siebenaler launched a pass ahead, springing Graham Knott in on the left side of the offensive zone. Knott kept the puck on his forehand, blazing a shot through Nick Schneider. Matt Schmalz responded for the Mavericks, as he intercepted a puck in the offensive zone, then slipped a backhander through Ruby's legs.
The keys to the third period were the first and last minutes, as the Nailers scored in both to force overtime. Knott potted his second of the night at the 52-second mark, when he slammed in the rebound of Nick Minerva's right point shot. Kansas City took its third lead of the contest at the 8:29 mark, courtesy of Darian Dziurzynski's redirection of Justin Woods' initial attempt. With 20 seconds to go, Wheeling got its final equalizer, as Ryan Scarfo fed Cam Brown on the left side of the crease. With the netminder down, Brown shoveled the puck into the goal, guaranteeing a point for each side.
The overtime session featured loads of great chances, and at the 2:54 mark, the Nailers cashed in for the 4-3 victory. Justin Almeida sent Myles Powell on a breakaway, and Powell converted, shaking the puck from his forehand to his backhand, before flipping a shot up and under the crossbar.
Jordan Ruby picked up the win in goal for Wheeling, as he made 28 saves on 31 shots. Nick Schneider took the overtime loss for the Mavericks, stopping 37 of the 41 shots he faced.
Orlando Splits Weekend Series with 5-2 Win
Krastenbergs & Trapp Score as Wheeling's Four-Game Point Streak Ends
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Orlando Solar Bears ended up splitting their two-game weekend series at WesBanco Arena. On Saturday night, Alexey Lipanov broke a 2-2 tie with a power play goal in the second period, then Orlando tacked on two more markers in the third period to prevail, 5-2. Renars Krastenbergs and Spencer Trapp were the goal scorers for the Nailers.
The first period was a wide open one, which saw four pucks find the back of the net. Orlando was first on the board, as the puck made its way to Trevor Olson, who turned and fired in a shot from the slot. The Nailers tied the tilt 3:26 later, when Renars Krastenbergs roofed a wrist shot off Ryan Scarfo's face-off win. Later in the stanza, Wheeling took the lead. Graham Knott fed a pass out to Spencer Trapp, who stepped up from the blueline, and slid a shot through Clint Windsor's legs. The Solar Bears knotted things up 2:38 after that, when Rich Boyd wound in a wrist shot from the right point.
The offensive numbers slowed down in the middle frame, with the lone tally going to Orlando on the man advantage. Chris LeBlanc dribbled a pass across the slot to Alexey Lipanov, who chipped in a one-timer from the right circle.
Taylor Cammarata added insurance for the Solar Bears with a power play goal from the slot at the 4:42 mark of the third period, then Cody Donaghey capped the scoring in the 5-2 win for the visitors with an empty netter.
Clint Windsor earned the victory in net for Orlando, turning away 31 of the 33 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio saw his three-game winning streak get snapped for the Nailers, despite making 38 saves on 42 shots.
Brown Breaks Late Tie, as Nailers Edge Orlando, 3-2
Myles Powell Dishes Out Two Assists in Return to the Lineup
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Orlando Solar Bears hadn't played each other since 2018, but the excitement and intensity made for a thrilling game on Friday night at WesBanco Arena. Cam Brown scored twice in the third period for the Nailers, including the winning goal with 4:09 left, as Wheeling earned its first ever home win over Orlando, 3-2. Alex D'Orio backstopped the triumph with 34 saves, while Myles Powell dished out two assists in his return to the lineup.
The Nailers stormed the Orlando net early, but it was the Solar Bears who tallied the lone goal of the opening stanza. Chris LeBlanc tapped a pass across the blueline, sending Alexey Lipanov in on the left side of the offensive zone. Lipanov made his way to the circle, where he tossed in the power play marker.
The defensive battle continued into the middle frame, but Wheeling was able to even the score. Alec Butcher had his initial shot blocked, but chased down the loose puck along the right wing wall, where he shoveled a shot toward the goal. Ryan Scarfo had his stick in the perfect spot to ramp a deflection into the top of the cage.
At the 3:05 mark of the third period, the Nailers took their first lead of the night. Myles Powell broke down the left side of the slot, where he rang a shot off the post. However, Cam Brown followed up the attempt and potted the rebound for a shorthanded goal. Orlando pulled even with five seconds left on a Wheeling major penalty. Trevor Olsen tipped in Eric Drapluk's wrist shot from the left point. The Nailers got their chance to respond on the man advantage with 4:09 to go, as Powell fed Cam Brown for a one-timer from the right face-off dot, which went whipping through Zachary Fucale's legs. Alex D'Orio and the Wheeling defense shut the door the rest of the way, as the home team skated away victorious, 3-2.
Alex D'Orio earned his third straight win for the Nailers, denying 34 of the 36 shots he faced. Zachary Fucale took the loss for the Solar Bears, making 23 saves on 26 shots.
Fleurent Flips Wheeling into the Win Column
D'Orio Stops 27, as Nailers Edge Norfolk, 2-1
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers signed Brady Fleurent early in the day on Wednesday, hoping he would make a positive impact on his new club. He did that and more, as Fleurent snapped a 1-1 deadlock at the 12:32 mark of the second period, giving the Nailers the lead in a game they held on to win, 2-1 at WesBanco Arena. Alex D'Orio picked up his tenth victory of the season with 27 saves.
The Nailers came close on a couple of occasions in the first period, but the lone goal of the stanza went to Norfolk. Alex Tonge made his way into the right circle, where he rifled a wrist shot into the right side of the cage. Wheeling's first opportunity for an equalizer came moments later on the man advantage, when Renars Krastenbergs' wrister was swept off the goal line by a defender. A few minutes after that, newcomer Brady Fleurent was given a penalty shot, but his chance missed to the right.
In the opening minute of the second period, the Nailers drew even. Cam Brown sped through center ice and into the offensive zone, before snapping home a shot from the right circle. Later in the stanza, the home team took the lead. Michael Kim let a wrist shot go from the right point, which was tipped into the net by Fleurent, who was making his Wheeling debut.
The defense stood tall in the third period, as the Nailers allowed just six shots, en route to closing out their 2-1 win.
Alex D'Orio earned the victory for Wheeling, thwarting 27 of the 28 shots he faced. Michael McNiven took the loss for the Admirals, making 26 saves on 28 shots.
Nailers Power Past Cyclones, 4-1
Kim Nets First Pro Goal, D'Orio Stops 28 and Adds an Assist
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers rebounded from a difficult defeat and exacted revenge on the Cincinnati Cyclones at WesBanco Arena on Saturday night. Wheeling struck three times on the power play, including Michael Kim's first professional goal, Brandon Hawkins dished out three assists, and Alex D'Orio made 28 saves in a 4-1 triumph.
Both teams struck on the man advantage in the opening stanza. The Nailers were first on the board at the 5:16 mark, thanks to a rush that started from their own zone. Brandon Hawkins led Christopher Brown down the right side of the ice, and he proceeded to bury a shot from the circle. Alex D'Orio also notched an assist on the marker, giving him two on the season. Cincinnati answered with 5:54 remaining, when Kurt Gosselin skated to the high slot, where he roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net.
The tilt stayed tied until the closing minute of the second period, when Wheeling cashed in on another power play. Hawkins fired a pass ahead to Graham Knott, who caught the feed in stride, broke between the two defenders, and zipped a shot into the left side of the cage.
The Nailers added two key insurance goals in the third period. Michael Kim converted on a one-timer from the middle of the blueline for his first professional goal, then Alec Butcher tossed in an empty netter from center ice to put the finishing touches on the 4-1 victory.
Alex D'Orio earned the win in goal for Wheeling, denying 28 of the 29 shots he faced, in addition to his first period assist. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen took the loss for the Cyclones, making 22 saves on 25 shots.
Nailers Pick up One Point Against Division Leader
All-Star Cam Brown Tallies One Goal & One Assist
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers began their six-game homestand on Friday night, and picked up one point against the division-leading Cincinnati Cyclones at WesBanco Arena. Unfortunately, Wheeling was unable to maintain a 2-0 lead, as the Cyclones rattled off three straight goals to pick up a 3-2 overtime win. Cam Brown and Brandon Hawkins scored the goals for the Nailers, who got a 33-save effort from Jordan Ruby.
For the first time in eight games, the Nailers were the first team to get on the scoreboard. With 8:06 left in the opening stanza, Matt Abt spun the puck along the blueline from the right wall to Nick Minerva in the middle. Minerva quickly found Cam Brown, who was able to drag the puck around Michael Houser's right leg and into the cage.
Wheeling added to its advantage with 4:46 remaining in the second period. Cam Brown, Yushiroh Hirano, and Matt Abt forechecked hard in the offensive zone, as they kept possession, while creating a scoring chance. Hirano ended up with the puck out of the pile, and he proceeded to feed a pass through the slot to Brandon Hawkins, who potted a one-timer from the left circle.
Midway through the third period, the Cyclones began to turn the game around. Darik Angeli swiped in a wrist shot on the power play at the 9:53 mark, then Mason Mitchell picked the top-left corner with 4:54 left in regulation to force overtime.
In the extra session, the Nailers had a terrific opportunity to skate away victorious, but came up empty on a power play. Less than 15 seconds after the penalty expired, Ben Johnson stole the puck and fed Frank Hora, who gave Cincinnati the 3-2 victory.
Michael Houser picked up the win in goal for the Cyclones, making 19 saves on 21 shots. Jordan Ruby suffered the overtime defeat for Wheeling, despite turning away 33 of the 36 shots he faced.
Nailers Drop Final Game Before All-Star Break
Wheeling Begins Key Six-Game Homestand on Friday
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers had found some dramatic ways to beat the Indy Fuel during the 2019-20 season, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case on Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Justin Almeida tallied the lone goal for the visiting side, as the Nailers fell 4-1 to the Fuel, who increased their lead to three points over Wheeling for fourth place in the Central Division.
Indy held a 12-6 advantage in shots on goal during the opening stanza, and put the lone puck into the back of the net. Liam Coughlin deked his way down the left side to put himself alone on the goal. The Fuel forward waited patiently, while dragging the puck to the right, as he proceeded to lift a shot into the top portion of the net.
The Fuel extended their lead in the second period, lighting the lamp twice in a span of 1:13. Craig Wyszomirski swiped in the second Indy marker from the blueline, following strong work along the boards by Alex Rauter. Moments later, Wheeling was victimized by a stick getting stuck in the door, which gave Christian Horn a wide open chance in the slot. Justin Almeida put the Nailers on the board 17 seconds after that, banging in a loose puck at the top of the crease.
Alex D'Orio denied a Derian Plouffe penalty shot in the final frame, but Indy tacked on an empty netter by Bobby MacIntyre to put the wraps on a 4-1 home win.
Dan Bakala backstopped the victory for the Fuel, turning aside 28 of the 29 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio suffered the defeat for Wheeling, making 29 saves on 32 shots.
Wings Hold off Nailers, 5-4
Almeida, Brown, Butcher, Hawkins All Post Multi-Point Games for Wheeling
KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers were attempting to have a game of comebacks on Friday night, as they battled the Kalamazoo Wings at Wings Event Center. Wheeling erased three separate deficits, but were unable to overcome two Kalamazoo goals which were sandwiched around the second intermission, as the Wings prevailed 5-4 on their home ice.
The first period was an explosive one offensively, as both teams lit the lamp twice, while posting double digits in shots. Kalamazoo struck first, when Luke Sandler intercepted a pass in the low slot, before roofing a backhander. The Nailers answered 1:17 later. Blake Siebenaler teed up a slap shot from the right point that was tipped home by Justin Almeida. The Wings briefly regained the lead on Ian Edmondson's stuff shot in front of the net, but Wheeling responded in a matter of 1:39, as Cam Brown smacked in a centering feed from Alec Butcher on a play that was started at the blueline by Aaron Titcomb.
The offenses were a bit quiet in the early stages of the middle frame, but that changed in the closing minutes. Justin Kovacs slammed in Kyle Blaney's pass from behind the net to give Kalamazoo its third lead at the 10:31 mark. Wheeling drew even on the man advantage, as Renars Krastenbergs tipped in Brandon Hawkins' wrist shot from the center point. However, with 6.6 seconds left in the stanza, the Wings got a lucky bounce, as Eric Kattelus had his shot blocked by a Nailers defender, as it rolled into the right side of the cage.
The biggest goal of the night came in the opening minute of the third period. Kalamazoo's Matheson Iacopelli blazed down the right side, then cut to the net to deposit a breakaway strike. The Nailers closed the gap to one with Nick Minerva's extra attacker goal in the closing minutes, but were unable to come up with an equalizer, as they fell, 5-4.
Jake Hildebrand picked up the win for the Wings, making 32 saves on 36 shots. Alex D'Orio stopped 24 of the 29 shots he faced in the defeat for Wheeling.
Nailers Rally Past Walleye Behind Larmi's 47 Saves
Wheeling Scores Four Goals in the Third Period
TOLEDO, OH- The Wheeling Nailers saved their best for last on Sunday afternoon, as they visited the Toledo Walleye at Huntington Center. Trailing 1-0 most of the way, Wheeling rattled off four goals in a row in the third period, and got a fantastic goaltending performance from Emil Larmi, who made 47 saves, as the Nailers earned a 4-1 road victory.
Both teams had lots of chances in the first period, as they combined for 28 shots on goal. The lone puck to find the twine came off a Toledo stick at the 4:14 mark. Steve Oleksy swiped the puck into the slot for Branden Troock, who dribbled a shot through Emil Larmi's legs. Former Nailer Kevin Spinozzi also recorded an assist on the opening strike.
After a scoreless second period, Wheeling rallied with a huge final frame, erasing the small deficit to come away with a big victory. Blake Siebenaler got the outburst started on the power play, when he banked a shot off goaltender Pat Nagle from beneath the goal line. Renars Krastenbergs put the Nailers in the lead on a breakaway, as he took a Yushiroh Hirano lead pass and swept a backhander through Nagle's legs. Brandon Hawkins provided insurance with the teams playing 4-on-4, as he buried a drop pass from Graham Knott. Alec Butcher put the finishing touches on the 4-1 triumph with a shorthanded empty netter.
Emil Larmi was brilliant in goal for Wheeling, as he denied 47 of the 48 shots he faced. Pat Nagle made 29 saves on 32 shots in the loss for the Walleye.
Three Millionth Fan Highlights Nickelodeon Night
Yushiroh Hirano Scores Lone Wheeling Goal
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers welcomed their three millionth fan in team history on Saturday night, as part of a terrific crowd of 3,972 fans at WesBanco Arena. Unfortunately, the result on the ice didn't go the home team's way. Yushiroh Hirano tallied Wheeling's lone goal in a 6-1 setback at the hands of the Fort Wayne Komets.
The Nailers outshot Fort Wayne, 15-12 in the first period, but found themselves behind, 3-0. The Komets opened the scoring with a power play goal, as Anthony Petruzzelli redirected Drake Rymsha's feed in the low slot. Brady Shaw netted the second tally for the visitors, intercepting a pass for a tap-in at the top of the crease. The third marker also came off a turnover, resulting in Jermaine Loewen cashing in from the left side.
Fort Wayne added to its lead in the late stages of the middle frame. Gage Torrel flipped a pass into the slot for Petruzzelli, who swept in his second tally of the evening.
Olivier Galipeau and Rymsha tacked on two more goals for the Komets, before Yushiroh Hirano ended Fort Wayne's shutout bid in the last minute of the game, by banging in the rebound of Blake Siebenaler's initial shot.
Cole Kehler backstopped the victory for the Komets, as he turned aside 38 of the 39 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio made 28 saves on 34 shots in the loss for Wheeling.
Nailers Unable to Complete Comeback in Reading
Ryan Scarfo Picks up Assists on Two Special Teams Goals
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me.READING, PA- The Wheeling Nailers fell behind the Reading Royals early on Friday night, and were almost able to make a comeback. Despite a power play goal by Graham Knott and a shorthanded strike by Alec Butcher, Reading's three-goal start was enough to produce a victory, as the home team prevailed, 5-2 at Santander Arena.
The Nailers suffered through a difficult start, as they were outshot, 19-5, while Reading put a pair of pucks into the net. The first goal came off of an offensive zone face-off, as Eric Knodel and Matthew Gaudreau quickly moved the puck around to Matthew Strome, who connected on a one-timer from the top of the left circle. With under two minutes remaining, the Royals struck on the power play, as Thomas Ebbing roofed a shot just under the crossbar, following a rush into the zone by Hayden Hodgson.
Brayden Low extended Reading's lead in the early stages of the middle frame, before Wheeling battled back to within a goal. The first tally resulted after just five seconds of power play time, as Ryan Scarfo won a face-off back to Graham Knott, whose blueline blast flew into the left side of the cage. Later in the period, the Nailers picked up a shorthanded marker. Blake Siebenaler led Ryan Scarfo and Alec Butcher on an odd-man rush, with Scarfo feeding Butcher in the slot for the goal.
The early deficit ended up being too much to overcome, and the Royals added two empty netters to cap off their 5-2 win. Steven Swavely and Ebbing were the goal scorers.
Kirill Ustimenko got the win in goal for Reading, making 23 saves on 25 shots. Emil Larmi had a solid performance in the defeat for Wheeling, stopping 39 of the 42 shots he faced. It's easy.
Toledo Trips up Nailers
Walleye Score Three Shorthanded Goals in 8-1 Win
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers had a difficulty end to their weekend on Sunday afternoon, as they were on the wrong end of an 8-1 result against the Toledo Walleye at WesBanco Arena. Troy Loggins was the lone player to score twice, while Toledo connected for three shorthanded goals.
The Walleye came charging out of the gates, scoring a pair of goals in the first period. At the 8:07 mark, TJ Hensick and Charle-Edouard D'Astous whipped the puck around the zone to Kyle Bonis, who connected on a wrist shot from the left face-off dot. A little more than six minutes later, Toledo extended its lead, as Mark Auk slipped a backhander on the rebound of Brenden Kotyk's right point shot.
The visitors struck again at the 10:34 mark of the middle frame. Josh Kestner flew through Wheeling defenders, then broke in alone on Emil Larmi for a shorthanded tally. The Nailers got on the scoreboard moments later with a breakaway goal of their own, as Alec Butcher snapped a shot into the bottom-left corner of the cage.
The Walleye blew it open in the third period, starting with two shorthanded strikes by Justin Buzzeo and Joshua Winquist. Troy Loggins followed at even strength, which chased Emil Larmi from the crease. Kevin Spinozzi tacked on a power play marker, then Loggins finished it up for the 8-1 final.
Billy Christopoulos picked up the win for Toledo, making 26 saves on 27 shots to improve to 11-1-2. Emil Larmi gave up six goals on 34 shots in the loss for Wheeling, before Alex D'Orio went 2-for-4 in relief.
Cyclones Blank Nailers, 4-0
Jordan Ruby Makes Season-High 46 Saves in the Defeat
CINCINNATI, OH- Heritage Bank Center has been a challenging building for opposing teams, and despite earning a win on Friday night, the Wheeling Nailers were unable to duplicate the feat on Saturday. The Cincinnati Cyclones scored four goals on 50 shots and got a shutout from Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, as they bested the Nailers, 4-0.
The Cyclones got an early save by Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on a 3-on-1 break by the Nailers, and that helped them grab some momentum, which led to two goals in the first period. At the 7:52 mark, Cincinnati capitalized on Wheeling having a player without a stick. Tobie Bisson moved the puck to Andrew DeBrincat, who swept in a wrist shot from the left circle. Later in the stanza, a power play goal extended the lead, when Pascal Aquin and Mason Mitchell tipped Justin Baudry's point shot. Mitchell's deflection was the final one, as he got credit for the marker.
The home side added to its lead with a pair of goals in the middle frame. John Edwardh turned in a wrist shot from the slot at the 2:49 mark, then Aquin rushed out of the penalty box, took a lead pass from Ben Johnson, and buried a shot from the right circle.
The Nailers mustered ten shots on goal in the third period, but neither team was able to find the back of the net, as the Cyclones completed their 4-0 win.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen earned his third career shutout for Cincinnati, blocking all 21 shots he faced. Jordan Ruby turned in a season-high 46 saves in the defeat for Wheeling.
D'Orio Shuts the Door in Thrilling 2-1 Win
Cam Brown Scores Twice, Including the Overtime Winner
CINCINNATI, OH- Alex D'Orio played his first game in goal for the Wheeling Nailers since December 1st, as they visited the Cincinnati Cyclones on Friday night. He turned in one of the best performances of his young career, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced. Wheeling got its offense from Cam Brown, who scored two goals, including the overtime winner, as the Nailers edged the Cyclones, 2-1.
Cincinnati controlled the majority of the action in the first period with a 16-4 advantage in shots on goal, but the Nailers got a break and were able to convert to open the scoring. Cam Brown stole the puck on the right side of the neutral zone, and proceeded to go on a breakaway. Brown stickhandled a ton, and ultimately faked out Michael Houser, before shoveling in a backhander.
The 1-0 score remained until the 16:09 mark of the middle frame, when the Cyclones pulled even. Brady Vail swirled around the back of the net to the right circle, where he was able to squeeze a wrist shot into the right side of the net.
The defenses and goaltending kept the contest deadlocked through the end of regulation and into overtime. During the extra session, Wheeling's special teams were the difference. The Nailers killed off an early penalty, then went on the power play and won the game. Brandon Hawkins' left circle wrist shot was tipped in by Cam Brown, lifting Wheeling to the 2-1 victory.
Alex D'Orio was phenomenal in his return to the crease for the Nailers, as he thwarted 34 of the 35 shots he faced. Michael Houser made 16 saves on 18 shots in the overtime loss for Cincinnati.
Nailers Roll Norfolk, 6-1 to Finish the Decade
Emil Larmi Makes 45 Saves, While Picking up an Assist
WHEELING, WV- Emil Larmi has given the Wheeling Nailers some outstanding goaltending in his short time with the team, and those efforts shined brightly on Tuesday night. The 23-year old stopped 45 of 46 shots and collected an assist, as the Nailers earned their 350th regular season win of the decade, 6-1 against the Norfolk Admirals at WesBanco Arena.
The two teams spent a good amount of time feeling each other out in the first period, but with 1:55 remaining, the Nailers got on the scoreboard with a shorthanded goal. Ryan Scarfo stole the puck at the defensive blueline, then went the distance on a breakaway, which he buried into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Wheeling extended its lead in the middle frame. At the 6:26 mark, Aaron Titcomb made his way to the middle of the blueline, then tossed a wrist shot home in the right side of the cage. Norfolk briefly trimmed the margin to one on Austin McEneny's slap shot from the slot, but the Nailers answered less than four minutes later. Christopher Brown centered the puck to Justin Almeida, who lifted a shot under the crossbar from the top of the crease.
The flood gates opened up in the third period, as Wheeling put the game away. Brandon Hawkins converted on a breakaway at the 6:42 mark, while drawing an assist from Emil Larmi. Yushiroh Hirano tapped in his own rebound on the right side of the ice, then Willy Smith finished off a three-way passing play with Renars Krastenbergs and Alec Butcher, as the Nailers put the punctuation on a 6-1 victory.
Emil Larmi was magnificent in goal for Wheeling, denying 45 of the 46 shots he faced. Roman Durny took the loss for the Admirals, allowing six goals on 24 shots.
Nailers Win Incredible Comeback in Indy
Christopher Brown Scores in Overtime, Following Brandon Hawkins' Tying Goal in Closing Seconds
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers have found dramatic ways to beat the Indy Fuel this season, and those wild ways came to life again on Sunday afternoon at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Brandon Hawkins tied the tilt with two seconds left in the third period, then Christopher Brown netted the game winner at 2:57 of overtime, as the Nailers came back to stun Indy, 3-2.
The two teams combined for 30 shots in the first period, but only one of those attempts found the back of the net. Indy's Josh McArdle had his point shot blocked, but with a maze of bodies in front, Dylan McLaughlin blasted a second opportunity along the ice and into the net.
The Nailers pulled even with 5:30 remaining in the middle frame, cashing in on the man advantage. Ryan Scarfo won a left circle draw back to Marc-Olivier Duquette at the left point. Duquette let a wrist shot go that was tipped into the cage by Yushiroh Hirano.
The Fuel went ahead for the second time at the 3:35 mark of the third period, when Spencer Watson wired in a wrist shot from the right circle. Indy was very close to locking down a win, but with two seconds left, Wheeling had other ideas. Brandon Hawkins wheeled his way into the right circle, where he drilled a shot into the top-right corner, sending a 2-2 tie to overtime.
In the extra session, Emil Larmi made a spectacular save on a Dylan McLaughlin chance, sending his team the other way. Ryan Scarfo hesitated during a line change, then gave the puck to Blake Siebenaler for a 2-on-1. Siebenaler fed Christopher Brown, who slammed a one-timer into the left side of the net, giving the Nailers the 3-2 victory.
Emil Larmi stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced to earn the win for Wheeling. Charles Williams made 37 saves on 40 shots in the overtime loss for the Fuel.
Nailers Fall One Goal Short in Toledo
Christopher Brown Extends Point Streak to Four with Lone Wheeling Tally
TOLEDO, OH- The Wheeling Nailers played a strong defensive game against one of the more explosive offenses in the ECHL on Friday night, but were unable to score enough goals of their own to land in the win column. Christopher Brown was the only Wheeling player to solve Billy Christopoulos, as Toledo edged the Nailers, 2-1 at Huntington Center.
The first two periods were dominated by the defenses and the goaltenders, as just one puck found the back of the net. That came courtesy of a former Nailer. Shane Berschbach pounded a shot on goal from the left circle, which was kicked away. However, the rebound went to Kevin Spinozzi, who wired home his first tally in a Toledo uniform. One of the other highlights of the first two stanzas was a fight between Brandon Hawkins and Charle-Edouard D'Astous.
The Walleye scored what turned out to be a big goal at the 3:03 mark of the third period, as Kyle Bonis banked a shot off a Wheeling defender and into the cage. The Nailers battled back to within one at the 7:55 mark, when Christopher Brown lifted in the rebound of Cameron Heath's drive off the rush. Despite three power plays in the final frame, Wheeling was unable to pot an equalizer, as Toledo prevailed, 2-1.
Billy Christopoulos earned the win for the Walleye, stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced, including a stellar left pad save during a Nailers two-man advantage. Jordan Ruby played extremely well, but was saddled with the loss for Wheeling, after making 32 saves on 34 shots.
Wings Snap Wheeling's Four-Game Win Streak
Christopher Brown Notches Two Assists for Four-Point Weekend
WHEELING, WV- The Kalamazoo Wings have been a thorn in the side for the Wheeling Nailers over the course of the past two seasons, and on Saturday night, Kalamazoo put an end to Wheeling's four-game winning streak. Justin Taylor led the offensive attack with one goal and two assists, while Matheson Iacopelli tallied the eventual winning goal in a 4-2 Wings win at WesBanco Arena. Christopher Brown recorded two assists for the Nailers.
Penalty trouble put the Nailers behind in the first period, as Kalamazoo tallied twice on the man advantage to take a 2-1 lead. Justin Taylor tipped in a Kyle Blaney feed on the left side of the crease during a 5-on-3, then Zach Frye buried a one-timer from the top of the right circle. Sandwiched in the middle, Wheeling got on the board, courtesy of its captain. Nick Saracino took a pass from Cam Brown, faked to his backhand, and lifted a shot into the top-right corner of the net.
Neither team was able to light the lamp in the middle stanza, then the Wings picked up a key insurance goal at the 11:51 mark of the third. Matheson Iacopelli drove down the middle of the offensive zone, where he ripped a shot into the bottom-left part of the cage. Moments later, the Nailers pulled within one, when Marc-Olivier Duquette tossed in a wrist shot from the left wing wall. Unfortunately, the home squad was unable to record an equalizer, and Kyle Blaney applied the finishing touches on Kalamazoo's 4-2 win with an empty netter.
Jake Hildebrand picked up the victory in goal for the Wings, denying 24 of the 26 shots he faced. Emil Larmi turned aside 36 of the 39 shots he faced, but suffered the defeat for Wheeling.
Larmi Blanks Walleye in Wheeling Debut
Christopher Brown Scores Twice in 3-0 Nailers Victory
WHEELING, WV- Emil Larmi made his debut for the Wheeling Nailers on Friday night, which was perfect, as he put on a show for the home fans at WesBanco Arena. The 23-year old native of Finland turned away all 26 shots he faced, while Alec Butcher and Christopher Brown lit the lamp in Wheeling's 3-0 victory over the Toledo Walleye.
It took a while for the first goal to be scored, which went Wheeling's way with 3:10 remaining in the second period. Alec Butcher wound through the defense, then cut to his right, before ripping a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net. Blake Siebenaler and Marc-Olivier Duquette assisted on the power play marker.
The Nailers added two insurance tallies in the final frame to put the finishing touches on their home win. Christopher Brown collected both goals off the rush, connecting from the right circle first, then the left circle second, beating goaltender Billy Christopoulos over the glove on both occasions.
Emil Larmi stopped all 26 shots he faced to earn the shutout win for Wheeling. Billy Christopoulos made 29 saves on 32 shots in the loss for Toledo.
Nailers Complete Three-Game Sweep in Rapid City
Christopher Brown Tallies Twice in Andrew D'Agostini's First Win with the Club
RAPID CITY, SD- The Wheeling Nailers put together a phenomenal three-game road trip, as they won all three matches against the Rapid City Rush at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. On Saturday night, Christopher Brown tallied twice, while Renars Krastenbergs' second period marker turned out to be the difference, as the Nailers were triumphant, 4-2. Andrew D'Agostini made the win stand up with 26 saves.
The offenses got rolling in the latter stages of the first period, and it was the Nailers who took a 2-1 lead into the intermission. Wheeling struck first at the 12:48 mark. Willy Smith slid a pass across to Christopher Brown, who buried a wrist shot from the right circle. The Rush drew even on the power play, as Ryker Killins fed Peter Quenneville for a one-timer from the top of the left circle. The Nailers went back on top with a one-timer of their own, as Yushiroh Hirano pounded a drive into the bottom-left corner of the cage.
Wheeling added to its lead in the middle frame, just after coming up short on a two-man advantage. Justin Almeida whipped a shot toward the goal from the right circle. Renars Krastenbergs got a piece of the puck to tip it home for the tally.
The game tightened up in the third period, as Rapid City pulled to within one at the 4:43 mark, when Keeghan Howdeshell sliced through the defense to lift in a backhander. However, the Nailers weren't about to let the host squad climb any closer, as Andrew D'Agostini and the defense shut the door, allowing Christopher Brown to toss in an empty netter, applying the finishing touches on the 4-2 win.
Andrew D'Agostini earned his first victory in a Wheeling uniform, blocking aside 26 of the 28 shots he faced. Tyler Parks took the loss for the Rush, making 35 saves on 38 shots.
Nailers Take Testy Tilt in Rapid City, 3-1
Nick Saracino Nets Winning Goal During Wild Second Period
RAPID CITY, SD- The Wheeling Nailers and Rapid City Rush are quickly building a dislike for one another, as emotions boiled over in a big way on Friday night at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The Nailers capitalized twice on the man advantage, and that made the difference in the game, as they picked up a 3-1 victory. Nick Saracino scored the winning goal for the second straight contest, while Jordan Ruby made 23 saves.
The two teams played scoreless hockey for nearly 30 minutes, before the Nailers got on the board. Ryan Scarfo drifted into the offensive zone, then let a shot go, beating goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos through the legs. The contest took an amazing twist with 5:30 left in the second period. Taylor Crunk appeared to tie the game for Rapid City, but the goal got waved off, leading to a bench minor on the Rush. Wheeling cashed in. Yushiroh Hirano's initial shot trickled wide to the right, but the rebound was dunked in by Nick Saracino on the right side. Brennan Saulnier attacked Christopher Brown after the goal, giving the Nailers another power play. Alec Butcher helped his team convert on the opportunity, as he drove to the middle of the ice, then slid a backhander inside the left post.
Rapid City broke Wheeling's shutout bid with a 4-on-4 goal at the 2:37 mark of the third period. Eric Israel let a shot go from the left point, which was stopped by Jordan Ruby, but the rebound was lifted in on the backhand by Tyler Coulter. The Nailers fended off a 16-shot attack by the Rush in the final frame, and proceeded to close the door for a 3-1 road triumph.
Jordan Ruby got the win for Wheeling, as he stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced. Alex Sakellaropoulos made 28 saves on 31 shots in the loss for Rapid City.
Saracino's Late Goal Wins Road Trip Opener
Jordan Ruby Makes 18 of his 32 Saves in Third Period to Preserve 4-3 Victory
RAPID CITY, SD- The Wheeling Nailers and Rapid City Rush had never played each other before Wednesday night, but there was plenty of emotion in the late stages of the one-goal match at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Nick Saracino netted his first goal of the season with 2:06 left in the third period, snapping a deadlock, and lifting the Nailers to a 4-3 road victory. Blake Siebenaler added a goal and an assist, while Jordan Ruby made 32 saves.
Both teams were eager to get the game started, as it took just 1:07 for the two sides to record goals. Rapid City struck first at the 45-second mark. Keeghan Howdeshell wound his way around the offensive zone, before wrapping the puck out to the point, where Chris Leibinger pounded a shot in along the ice. The Nailers answered in a matter of 22 seconds. Alec Butcher deked his way into the left circle, where he whipped a shot through goaltender Tyler Parks.
The next 45 minutes went by without a goal, but the final 12 minutes provided plenty of excitement. Blake Siebenaler gave Wheeling its first lead of the contest at the 8:19 mark of the third period, when he zipped in a wrist shot from the slot. The Rush answered 42 seconds late, as Tyler Poulsen slipped in a shot from low on the right side. The Nailers went ahead again with a tap-in fron Christopher Brown, but once again, Rapid City responded, as Trey Phillips cashed in on a scramble around the net. However, just 34 seconds after that, Wheeling took a final lead, as Nick Saracino grabbed the rebound of Siebenaler's point shot, and tucked his first goal of the year into the left side of the cage. The Nailers had to kill a penalty for the final 1:34 of the game, and did so successfully, closing out the 4-3 win.
Jordan Ruby earned the victory in goal for Wheeling, turning away 32 of the 35 shots he faced, including 18 of 20 in the third period. Tyler Parks took the loss for the Rush, despite making 37 saves on 41 shots.
Nailers Strike First, but Come up Short Against Toledo
Brandon Hawkins & Willy Smith Score Wheeling's Goals
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers battled through a difficult homestand, and will now look at a three-game road trip to Rapid City to get back into the win column. On Sunday afternoon, the Toledo Walleye erased an early deficit, then scored what turned out to be the deciding goal on a breakaway in the second period. The Walleye collected a 5-2 victory at WesBanco Arena.
The Nailers got on the scoreboard first, but Toledo responded with a pair of tallies to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission. On the Wheeling goal, Justin Almeida poked the puck ahead to Brandon Hawkins, who zipped in a wrist shot from the left circle. Steve Johnson picked up the secondary assist, giving him points in four straight games. The Walleye drew even at the 14:42 mark, when TJ Hensick found just enough daylight to slip the puck through on the right side. With 1:41 remaining, Marcus Vela put the visitors ahead, tapping home the rebound of Michael Moffat's shot, which rang the bottom part of the left post.
Toledo added to its advantage in the middle stanza. Hensick launched a long pass to the offensive blueline, sending Brett Boeing on a breakaway. Boeing's approach was quick and simple, and he wired a shot into the top of the net.
Wheeling closed the gap to one at the 5:59 mark of the third period, when Willy Smith banged in the rebound of Blake Siebenaler's shot one second after a power play had expired. An equalizer wasn't in the cards, and the Walleye salted away their 5-2 win with two empty netters - one by Josh Winquist and the other by Josh Kestner.
Billy Christopoulos was the winning netminder for Toledo, as he blocked away 31 of 33 shots. Andrew D'Agostini made 27 saves on 30 shots in his Nailers debut.
Hirano Scores Teddy Bear Goal, but Nailers Fall
Wheeling Concludes Five-Game Homestand Sunday Against Toledo
WHEELING, WV- Yushiroh Hirano scored the goal that sent stuffed animals flying onto the ice at WesBanco Arena on Saturday night for the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Unfortunately, that was the only celebration for the home team, as the Kalamazoo Wings picked up a 4-1 road victory over the Wheeling Nailers. Boston Leier tallied two goals and an assist for the Wings, who got a 24-save effort from Jake Kielly.
The first period was a tough one for the Nailers, who fell behind by a pair of goals, while mustering just one shot on net. Kalamazoo's markers came during the early stages, starting on the man advantage, when Boston Leier whipped in a wrist shot from above the right face-off dot. Matt VanVoorhis followed 3:18 later, pounding in a one-time feed from Eric Kattelus.
The Wings added to their lead in the middle frame. Kyle Blaney tossed a shot on goal from the left side, then Ben Wilson crashed the net and was able to push a loose puck into the right side of the cage.
At the 9:55 mark of the third period, Wheeling got on the scoreboard with the Teddy Bear Toss Goal. Aaron Titcomb wound his way to the top of the offensive zone, where he swept a shot toward the net. Yushiroh Hirano tipped the puck in for the tally. The Nailers poured 17 shots on goal in the final stanza, but were unable to close the gap any more, and Leier's second of the night went into an empty net to cap off a 4-1 Kalamazoo win.
Jake Kielly picked up the victory for the Wings, making 24 saves on 25 shots. Jordan Ruby took the loss for Wheeling, stopping 14 of the 17 shots he faced.
Hats off for Hawkins in 6-2 Nailers Win
Brandon Hawkins Nets Hat Trick, Myles Powell Adds Three Points
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers started their three-in-three home weekend in fine fashion on Friday night, as they took down the Kalamazoo Wings, 6-2 at WesBanco Arena. Brandon Hawkins led the offensive attack with the team's first hat trick of the regular season, and was complemented by a three-point night from Myles Powell. Jordan Ruby held the fort on the other end of the ice, making 27 saves for the win.
The first eight minutes of action were electric, as the teams combined for five goals, with the Nailers taking a 3-2 lead into the intermission. Kalamazoo struck first at the 2:51 mark, as Yannick Veilleux drove to the net to deposit the rebound of Justin Taylor's initial attempt. Wheeling responded 41 seconds later, when Jan Drozg slid in a cross-crease pass from Renars Krastenbergs. After that, Brandon Hawkins took over, denting the twine twice in a span of 29 seconds. His first was a one-timer from Christopher Brown, then his second was a wrist shot from the left circle. The Wings trimmed the margin to one on Zach Saar's power play marker from the top of the crease.
The Nailers added a couple of insurance tallies in the middle frame. At the 10:48 mark, Cam Brown battled a puck out of the right corner, then fed Ryan Scarfo, who spun in a shorthanded goal from the low slot. Less than four minutes after that, Myles Powell slammed in a Yushiroh Hirano feed, which was originally created by Aaron Titcomb's long shot from the right side.
In addition to the win, the only item left to finish off was Hawkins' hat trick. With 5:49 left, the hats flew down from the stands at WesBanco Arena, as Hawkins threw in a wrist shot from the blueline, putting the final touches on Wheeling's 6-2 triumph.
Jordan Ruby backstopped the victory for the Nailers, turning away 27 of the 29 shots he faced. Jake Hildebrand took the loss for Kalamazoo, allowing six goals on 26 shots.
Wheeling's Comeback Falls Short Against Toledo
Justin Almeida Collects First Goal and Assist as a Nailer
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers nearly erased a three-goal deficit on a Sunday for the second time this month, but their comeback fell one goal short against the Toledo Walleye at WesBanco Arena. Toledo's Tyler Spezia scored twice during a four-goal second period for his club, who held on for a 5-4 road win. Justin Almeida scored his first goal as a Nailer and added an assist.
The Nailers registered the lone goal of the first period, needing just 3:42 to put the biscuit in the basket. Christopher Brown won an offensive zone face-off to Justin Almeida, who powered in a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. Wheeling came close to adding to the lead later in the stanza, but Ryan Scarfo's bid was disallowed, due to a kick.
Toledo had an explosive start to the middle frame, as it scored three times in a span of 4:38. Josh Kestner wired in a right side shot off the rush, before Tyler Spezia netted two goals of his own in 19 seconds. Spezia's first came off the rebound of Freddy Gerard's shot, then his second was a wrist shot from the slot. Wheeling trimmed the deficit to one on a wild goal. Yushiroh Hirano's shot was blocked into the air by Steve Oleksy. The puck landed in the net, but Cam Brown was whistled for charging the goaltender, which gave the Walleye a power play. They converted, as Brett Boeing swept in the rebound of Shane Berschbach's right circle wrister.
The Walleye got what turned out to be a key goal at the 6:15 mark of the third period, when Michael Moffat snapped in a shot from the top of the right circle. The Nailers attempted to come back, and ultimately clawed to within one. Nick Minerva drove in a cross-ice feed from Ryan Scarfo, then 57 seconds later, Jan Drozg tipped the puck to Willy Smith at the top of the crease for a 5-4 score. Unfortunately, a tying tally wasn't in the cards, as Wheeling fell, 5-4.
Billy Christopoulos backstopped his second straight win for Toledo, making 28 saves on 32 shots. Alex D'Orio took the loss, despite stopping 29 of the 34 shots he faced.
Nailers Fall 4-1 to Kalamazoo
Ryan Scarfo Nets Wheeling's Lone Goal
WHEELING, WV- The Kalamazoo Wings executed a strong road game plan on Saturday night, as they got big saves early and stayed out of the penalty box, which added up to a 4-1 win over the Wheeling Nailers at WesBanco Arena. Ryan Scarfo netted his sixth goal of the season for the Nailers, which was the only puck that got past Butler, Pennsylvania native Jake Hildebrand, who finished the evening with 28 saves.
Both clubs lit the lamp in the first period, and it was Kalamazoo who took a 2-1 lead into the intermission. The first marker came off a face-off, as Yannick Veilleux of the Wings battled his way into the slot to force a backhander in along the ice. Wheeling temporarily evened the score with 1:43 remaining, when Ryan Scarfo broke down the right side and buried a wrist shot. However, Kalamazoo regained its advantage 46 seconds later, when Adam Dauda and Zach Frye executed a give-and-go on the left side of the offensive zone, with Dauda collecting the goal.
The Wings extended their lead in the middle frame, killing off a Nailers power play, before converting on one of their own. David Pope dropped a pass back to Aaron Thow, who blasted in a one-timer from the middle of the blueline.
Matheson Iacopelli tacked on a breakaway goal in the third period, as Kalamazoo put the wraps on its 4-1 road win.
Jake Hildebrand backstopped the victory for the Wings with 28 saves on 29 shots. Alex D'Orio stopped 21 of the 25 shots he faced in the defeat for Wheeling.
Special Teams the Difference in 3-0 Fort Wayne Win
Wheeling's Six-Game Point Streak Snapped
FORT WAYNE, IN- Thanksgiving Night is a strong tradition in Fort Wayne, and on Thursday night, the host Komets honored late broadcaster Bob Chase in winning fashion at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Fort Wayne scored on three of four power plays and Cole Kehler turned away all 20 shots he faced, as the Komets blanked the Wheeling Nailers, 3-0.
Fort Wayne's power play shined in the first period, as the home team jumped out to a 2-0 lead. At the 7:15 mark, Olivier Galipeau sent a shot on goal, which got stopped by Jordan Ruby. However, Brett McKenzie jammed at the rebound, sneaking it in over the goal line. After a pair of fights involving Aaron Titcomb and Brad Drobot against Shawn Szydlowski and Kyle Haas, the Komets struck again. Alan Lyszczarczyk delivered a perfect slap pass to the left side of the crease for a Brady Shaw tap-in.
Neither team dented the twine in the second period, then Fort Wayne capped off their 3-0 win with a power play goal in the third. Shawn St-Amant sped down the right side of the ice, sweeping in a shot from the circle.
Cole Kehler made 20 saves in his first career shutout for the Komets, while Jordan Ruby turned in a 29-save performance for the Nailers.
Nailers Extend Point Streak to Six, but Fall in Overtime
Alec Butcher Leads Wheeling's Offense with Three Points
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets went to overtime for the third straight head-to-head match-up, and while the Nailers extended their point streak to six games, it was Fort Wayne who came away with the win. Shawn St-Amant found the back of the net with 3.2 seconds left in the bonus period, as the Komets edged Wheeling, 5-4 at WesBanco Arena. Alec Butcher dished out three assists for the Nailers.
The two teams played to a scoreless first period, but the middle frame was a different story. Fort Wayne took a couple of leads on a shorthanded goal by Brett McKenzie and a one-timer by Olivier Galipeau, but the Nailers answered both times. Brandon Hawkins blazed in a one-timer from the left side of the slot for the team's first goal of the evening, then Ryan Scarfo banged in the rebound of Alec Butcher's shot, which squeezed through goaltender Cole Kehler's legs. With under a minute to go in the stanza, Wheeling took the lead. Fort Wayne native Blake Siebenaler buried a drop pass from Butcher in the right circle. Butcher had the lead assist on all three tallies in the period.
Renars Krastenbergs gave the Nailers a two-goal lead by swatting in a loose puck in the right circle, but unfortunately, that did not salt the game away. The Komets lit the lamp twice in a span of 1:18, as Shawn St-Amant deposited the rebound of Brady Shaw's floater, then Kyle Haas blasted in a slap shot from the left point, which ultimately led to overtime.
Wheeling killed off a penalty in the extra session, but Fort Wayne skated away with the bonus point, as it scored with 3.2 seconds on the clock. After Alex D'Orio robbed Jason Binkley, the Komets defenseman fed St-Amant, who slammed in the winning strike for a 5-4 decision in favor of the road squad.
Komets Edge Nailers in Overtime, 5-4
Two Teams Have Combined for 101 Goals in Their Last 11 Head-to-Head Games
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets opened up a three-game head-to-head series on Saturday night at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, and as has been the case the last two seasons with these clubs, offense was the story of the tilt. Both teams scored three times in the second period, but it was the Komets who prevailed in overtime, as Alan Lyszczarczyk tallied his second goal of the night to lift his team to the 5-4 triumph.
The two sides exchanged goals in the opening stanza, with the Komets getting on the board early, and Wheeling answering in the latter stages. Fort Wayne's tally came on a breakaway, as A.J. Jenks sent Brad Ross in alone, and Ross proceeded to keep the puck on his forehand, lifting a shot into the top-left corner of the goal. Brandon Hawkins knotted things up for the Nailers with 1:30 remaining, as he took a Nick Minerva drop pass and buried a wrist shot from the left face-off dot.
The middle frame was a wild one, as the Nailers rattled off three goals in 2:15, but Fort Wayne battled back with three goals in 3:53 to create a 4-4 tie. Alec Butcher blazed in a shot from high in the slot to give Wheeling its first lead of the contest, and that was followed 50 seconds later, as Cam Brown drove to the net, slipping a backhander inside the right post. Ryan Scarfo continued the attack by picking the top-left corner of the cage from the left circle. The Komets comeback featured a pair of goals on delayed penalties, then one on a power play. Alan Lyszczarczyk and Brycen Martin both converted on wrist shots from the right circle, then Shawn St-Amant pounded in a centering pass from Brady Shaw.
After all of that scoring, neither team was able to light the lamp in the third period, leading to overtime. In the extra session, the Nailers came extremely close, as a shot trickled just wide of the right point. Fort Wayne raced back the other way, and Lyszczarczyk ended the match on a breakaway for a 5-4 Komets win.
Cole Kehler got the victory in goal for Fort Wayne, making 20 saves on 24 shots. Jordan Ruby played strong for Wheeling, turning aside 40 of 45 shots in the overtime defeat.
Siebenaler's Late Game Heroics Wins Another One
Wheeling Earns First Road Victory, as Winning Goal Scored with 1:23 Left
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- Blake Siebenaler and the Wheeling Nailers are as clutch as they come in the final minutes of regulation. On Friday night, Siebenaler snapped a 2-2 tie with 1:23 remaining, lifting the Nailers to a 3-2 triumph over the Indy Fuel at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. It was Siebenaler's third game winner of the year, and it put Alex D'Orio into the win column, after a 41-save performance.
The Nailers had a strong first period, as they fended off some Indy pressure, while sending two pucks to the back of the net. On the first goal, a Fuel pass deflected off Yushiroh Hirano and went right to Alec Butcher in the slot. Butcher promptly ripped a shot into the top-left corner of the cage. Less than four minutes later, Brandon Hawkins banked the puck off the left wing wall, springing Spencer Trapp in behind the defense. Trapp faked to his backhand, sliding his first professional goal through Charles Williams' legs.
Indy battled back with a pair of goals in the middle frame, squaring the contest at two. Both tallies came off the rush, starting with Dylan McLaughlin, who potted a cross-ice feed from Spencer Watson. The equalizer went to Sam Kurker, who sped down the left side of the ice, before rifling a shot into the right side of the net.
The tilt stayed tied until what is quickly becoming Wheeling's time to shine - the closing minutes of regulation. Blake Siebenaler wound his way around from the left corner into the high slot, where he swept a wrist shot along the ice and through Williams. The goal came with 1:23 remaining, putting the Nailers ahead 3-2. Wheeling had to kill of a pair of penalties in the final minute, and did so successfully, hanging on the for the victory.
Alex D'Orio played a fantastic game for the Nailers, earning the win by denying 41 of the 43 shots he faced. Charles Williams made 29 saves on 32 shots in the loss for the Fuel.
Nailers Win on Goal with Five Seconds Left
Blake Siebenaler Nets His Second Deciding Goal in Final 30 Seconds of Play
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers picked up their seventh win in eight home games on Tuesday morning, and once again, they did it in dramatic fashion. Blake Siebenaler scored with five seconds remaining, lifting the Nailers to a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones in front of a sellout crowd of 5,042 fans on Education Day. Jan Drozg added two goals and an assist, while Brandon Hawkins netted a goal that will certainly make its way onto the highlight reel.
Both teams tallied during the opening period, with the Cyclones scoring first and Wheeling answering back. Cincinnati's goal came at the 3:17 mark, when Darik Angeli wound through the slot, then lifted in a backhander on the left side. The Nailers got their equalizer on the power play. Renars Krastenbergs whistled a pass through the top of the crease to Jan Drozg, who pounded in a one-timer from the left side.
The second period saw Wheeling strike first with a remarkable goal. Brandon Hawkins got the puck on his stick behind the net, which he lifted up like a lacrosse shot into the top-right corner. The Cyclones came back to knot the score off a rush, as Cody Milan dropped a pass to Tobie Bisson for a wrist shot from the left circle.
The Nailers regained the lead 14 seconds into the third period, when Jan Drozg zipped a shot from the slot into the bottom-right corner of the net. Cincinnati drew even on Cody Milan's neutral ice wrister, which put Wheeling's celebration on hold for a brief moment. With five seconds remaining, the Nailers got their heroics from Blake Siebenaler. Drozg fired a shot wide, but the rebound made its way to Hawkins. He proceeded to drop a pass to Siebenaler, who buried his shot from the right side, giving Wheeling the 4-3 win.
Alex D'Orio got the victory between the pipes for Wheeling, turning away 27 of the 30 shots he faced. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 19 saves on 23 shots in the loss for the Cyclones
Nailers Rally for Thrilling 6-5 Overtime Win
Cam Brown Nets Tying & Winning Goals, While Adding Two Assists
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers were down, but not out on Sunday afternoon, as they came back from as many as three goals to stun the Fort Wayne Komets, 6-5 in overtime at WesBanco Arena. Jan Drozg and Cam Brown both notched two goals and two assists, with Brown netting the winning goal, as Wheeling began an 11-game stretch against the Central Division on a positive note.
The Nailers got on the scoreboard first, but the remainder of the opening period belonged to Fort Wayne, who responded with three goals. Wheeling put tons of pressure on in the opening minutes and got rewarded, when Jan Drozg swiped in a shot from the left circle. The Komets drew even less than four minutes later, as Alan Lyszczarczyk deposited the rebound of Brad Shaw's shot from the right side. With under three minutes remaining in the stanza, Fort Wayne took the lead, as Taylor Ross fed Brad Morrison for a one-timer from below the right circle. Stephen Baylis added insurance, when he poked in the rebound of Brad Ross' initial attempt.
The two teams exchanged two markers each during the second period, as the Komets maintained their two-goal advantage. Shawn St-Amant started and finished the scoring in the frame for Fort Wayne, while Wheeling got a transition goal from Drozg on the left side, and Nick Minerva notched his first professional goal from the right circle, while a Komets defender was diving back toward the cage.
The Nailers showed remarkable resiliency in the third period, battling back to square the match, 5-5. Steve Johnson's right point shot banked off Myles Powell's skates on the left side of the ice to bring Wheeling within one, then Cam Brown roofed a wrist shot from the left side of the slot, sending the contest into overtime.
In the extra session, the Nailers completed their comeback win. Marc-Olivier Duquette tossed a pass to Cam Brown, who dangled to his forehand, then flipped the deciding goal under the crossbar for the 6-5 victory.
Alex D'Orio got the win in goal for Wheeling, making 25 saves on 30 shots. Dylan Ferguson took the overtime loss for the Komets, allowing six goals on 35 shots.
Ruby Helps Nailers Earn Point in Reading
Royals Score in Opening Minute of Overtime for 1-0 Win
READING, PA- Jordan Ruby played extremely well for the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday night, helping his team earn one point at Santander Arena. Corey Mackin scored at the 48-second mark of overtime and Kirill Ustimenko denied all 32 shots he faced, as the Reading Royals edged Wheeling, 1-0.
The goaltending and the defenses were at the tops of their games during all three periods of regulation, as neither team was able to connect for a goal. Reading came the closest in the opening stanza, as Max Willman smacked in a bouncing puck on the left side of the ice. However, the tally was wiped off the board due to goaltender interference.
The game got decided just 48 seconds into overtime, when Corey Mackin touched the puck to himself in the middle of the ice, opening the lane for the lone goal in a 1-0 Royals win.
Kirill Ustimenko was perfect on 32 shots, earning his first career shutout for Reading. Jordan Ruby played a terrific game for the Nailers, making 27 saves on 28 shots in the overtime defeat.
Wheeling's Home Winning Streak Snapped at Five
Brad Barone Makes 34 Saves in Utah's 2-1 Road Triumph
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers controlled a good portion of their game on Friday night against the Utah Grizzlies, but ran into a strong goaltending performance. Renars Krastenbergs connected for the lone Wheeling goal, as Utah's Brad Barone made 34 saves, backstopping a 2-1 victory for the visitors, and ending the Nailers five-game home-winning streak to start the season.
The Nailers needed just 1:13 to open the scoring, as they capitalized on a Utah turnover. Jan Drozg stole the puck in the trapezoid, then fed a pass to Renars Krastenbergs, who buried a one-timer from the right side of the slot. The goal gave Krastenbergs at least one point in seven straight games, matching the team-high for the young season.
A face-off violation penalty against Wheeling gave the Grizzlies some life in the middle frame, as they pulled even on the power play. Tim McGauley swung around the offensive zone, then dished a pass through the slot for Taylor Richart, who slammed in a one-time from the left circle. Utah took the lead less than three minutes later, as Yuri Terao pounced on a loose puck in the left circle, ripping a shot into the bottom-left corner of the cage.
The Nailers put plenty of pressure on in the final two periods, but were unable to muster up a tying goal, as Utah prevailed, 2-1.
Brad Barone had a big game between the pipes for the Grizzlies, earning the win by stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio played well for Wheeling, but was saddled with the defeat, after making 20 saves on 22 shots.
Royals Come Back for 6-4 Home Win
Myles Powell Dishes Out Three Assists for Wheeling
READING, PA- The Wheeling Nailers nearly earned their first road victory of the season on Saturday night, but the Reading Royals erased three separate deficits for a 6-4 comeback win at Santander Arena. Four different players found the back of the net for Wheeling, while Myles Powell dished out three assists.
The Nailers surrendered the first goal of the tilt, but rebounded to light the lamp twice and take the lead. Reading's marker came from Ralph Cuddemi, who stashed in a loose puck at the top of the crease. Wheeling tied things up on the power play, as Renars Krastenbergs sliced through the defense on the rush, before burying his shot along the ice. The Nailers utilized their speed again on their second goal, as Jan Drozg and Marc-Olivier Duquette flew into the zone on a 2-on-1 break. Drozg kept the puck to himself, swiping in a wrist shot from the right circle.
The offenses took control of the game in the second period, as the clubs combined to find the twine five times. Matthew Gaudreau of the Royals started the big run of goals with a left circle shot at the 4:30 mark. Blake Siebenaler answered 13 seconds later for Wheeling from the right point. Gaudreau struck again on a breakaway less than three minutes later, but the Nailers regained the lead on Alec Butcher's tally off a 2-on-1 break with Drozg. The final goal of the frame went to Reading, as Corey Mackin knotted things up by flipping in a backhander from the right side of the crease.
An unfortunate bounce led to Reading taking the final lead of the night at the 7:02 mark of the third period. Cuddemi smacked in a wobbling puck on the right side of the slot for his second of the evening. Brayden Low added one more tally for the 6-4 Royals win, as he flung in a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
Trevor Gorsuch got the win in his season debut for Reading, making 20 saves on 24 shots. Jordan Ruby took the loss for the Nailers, stopping 35 of the 41 shots he faced.
Nailers Continue Home Success in 4-1 Win
Ryan Scarfo's Two Goals Bookend the Victory
WHEELING, WV- Home ice continues to produce wonderful results for the Wheeling Nailers, who earned their fifth straight victory at WesBanco Arena on Friday night. Ryan Scarfo tallied a pair of goals and Alex D'Orio made 21 saves for a 4-1 win over the Reading Royals in the first half of a home-and-home series.
The two teams got things going quickly, exchanging goals in the opening 2:56 of play. Wheeling was first on the board, as Ryan Scarfo grabbed the rebound of Blake Siebenaler's shot, and blasted his attempt inside the right post. The Royals responded when Hayden Hodgson grabbed a loose puck in the right corner, then danced his way to the middle, where he deposited a backhander.
The Nailers put forth a terrific effort in the second period, as they scored twice, while limiting Reading to two shots on goal. The go-ahead tally came on the man advantage, as Christopher Brown and Myles Powell executed a perfect passing play, with Brown, whipping in a wrist shot from the left circle. Just before the midway mark of the frame, Renars Krastenbergs lunged forward to chip the puck home from the left side of the crease on a goal that was set up by Jan Drozg and Cam Brown.
Wheeling's strong defense and goaltending kept the Royals at bay in the third, and Scarfo added the finishing touches on the 4-1 triumph with an empty netter.
Alex D'Orio earned the win for the Nailers, stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced. Kirill Ustimenko took the loss for Reading, making 25 saves on 28 shots.
Nailers Record One Point in Morning Contest at Toledo
Jan Drozg Tallies Two Points, Including Team-Leading Fifth Goal
TOLEDO, OH- Wednesday morning saw a back-and-forth tilt at Huntington Center, as the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye exchanged leads, and ultimately needed overtime to decide a winner. The decision went to the Walleye, as Tyler Spezia scored on his backhand at the 1:21 mark of the extra session for a 5-4 final. Jan Drozg was one of four goal scorers for the Nailers, and the only one with multiple points.
Both offenses were ready to go from the drop of the puck, as two goals went in for each squad. The first two tallies came in quick succession, as Abbott Girduckis opened the scoring with a left circle shot for Toledo, but Jan Drozg responded 29 seconds later, lifting in a rebound on the left side of the crease. The Walleye went ahead again on Justin Buzzeo's rebound goal at the 8:05 mark, but with 1:28 remaining in the stanza, the Nailers answered again, as Cam Brown tapped in a feed from Drozg, who made a steal in the right corner.
A successful penalty kill gave Wheeling a big lift in the second period, as the visitors took the lead with a shorthanded goal, then added another marker shortly after the minor expired. Steve Johnson put the Nailers ahead for the first time in the contest, as he skated the length of the ice, before sliding a backhander through Pat Nagle. 2:18 later, Ryan Scarfo broke behind the defense, then faked to his forehand for the tally. Toledo trimmed the margin to one with 4:09 remaining, when Marcus Vela swiped in a shot from the slot.
The top-ranked power play in the ECHL knotted the score in the third period, as Brandon Anselmini wired in a one-timer from the right point, which was set up by Troy Loggins. Drozg had a chance to win the game with a breakaway in the final 30 seconds, but came up empty, sending the 4-4 tilt to overtime.
Wheeling had an early chance to create a winner, but the puck went the other way, and Tyler Spezia cut across the slot with a successful backhander, lifting the Walleye to the 5-4 win.
Pat Nagle picked up the victory in goal for Toledo, making 28 saves on 32 shots. Alex D'Orio suffered the overtime defeat for the Nailers, despite stopping 22 of the 27 shots he faced.
Wheeling's Win Streak Snapped by Wings
Marc-Olivier Duquette Nets First Pro Goal for Nailers
KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers nearly battled back from an early three-goal deficit at Wings Event Center on Saturday night, but in the end, the Kalamazoo Wings got a big offensive attack and a stellar performance from their goaltender. Renars Krastenbergs and Marc-Olivier Duquette lit the lamp for Wheeling, who poured 46 shots on goal in a 7-2 setback.
Kalamazoo got off to a fast start, scoring three times in the opening 10:06 of play. All three tallies featured sharp passing plays with three different players. On the first goal, Zach Diamantoni backhanded the puck through the slot to Luke Sandler, who connected with a backhander from the right side. 2:21 later, Yannick Veilleux drilled in a shot from high in the slot, which was set up by Justin Taylor. Finally, Boston Leier drifted in on the right side to pot a cross-ice pass by Matt Van Voorhis.
The Nailers attempted to battle back in the early stages of the second period, as they briefly trimmed the deficit to one. Renars Krastenbergs slammed in a one-timer from Yushiroh Hirano at the 15-second mark, then Marc-Olivier Duquette floated in his first professional goal from the left point. However, the Wings answered back with two goals of their own, making the score 5-2. Kyle Blaney tapped in the rebound of Dylan Sadowy's shot off the post, and Zach Diamantoni redirected in Zach Frye's feed on the right side of the crease.
Aaron Thow and Sadowy tacked on power play goals in the third period, putting the finishing touches on Kalamazoo's 7-2 win.
Jake Kielly earned the victory in goal for the Wings, turning away 44 of the 46 shots he faced. Jordan Ruby suffered the defeat, making 22 saves on 29 shots.
Nailers Sweep Four-Game Homestand
D'Orio Denies 35, Wheeling Scores Three in 2:41
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers had a tremendous first homestand of the season, as they won all four games at WesBanco Arena. On Saturday night, Wheeling scored three goals in a span of 2:41 in the second period, and Alex D'Orio made 35 saves, as the Nailers defeated the Reading Royals, 3-1. Jan Drozg netted the deciding goal for the second straight contest.
The Royals picked up the lone goal of the first period at the 10:47 mark. Ralph Cuddemi picked up a loose puck on the left side of the crease, and proceeded to tuck it into the net.
Wheeling turned things around in a big way during the middle frame, starting with a successful penalty kill, which led to a goal in a matter of 16 seconds. Nick Saracino delivered a perfect pass to Myles Powell, who tapped in the feed on the right side of the crease. 15 seconds later, the Nailers took the lead. Cam Brown's pass bounced off of Jan Drozg and into the net. The original call was no goal, but the first overturned video review in WesBanco Arena history gave Wheeling the answer it was looking for. 2:26 after that, another puck found the back of the net, as Christopher Brown tipped home Yushiroh Hirano's center point wrist shot on the power play.
Reading turned up its pressure in the third period, but Alex D'Orio and the Nailers defense didn't budge, keeping the door shut to punctuate the 3-1 victory.
Alex D'Orio was phenomenal in goal for Wheeling, earning his third straight win with 35 saves on 36 shots, including 16 stops in the third. Felix Sandstrom took the loss for the Royals, allowing three goals on 21 shots.
Nailers Win With Another Dramatic Ending
Drozg Scores Twice, Including Game Winner in Final Three Minutes
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers kept their home fans on the edges of their seats for the third game in a row, and once again, those fans came out of their seats thanks to a late winning goal. Jan Drozg's second goal of the night snapped a 4-4 deadlock with 2:33 remaining, as the Nailers erased a 4-2 deficit with four straight strikes to take down the Tulsa Oilers, 6-4 at WesBanco Arena.
The game got off to an electric start, as the two teams exchanged goals in the opening two minutes of play. Wheeling was first on the board at the 18-second mark. Alec Butcher battled the puck over the blueline for Cam Brown, who sliced his way into the slot, where he ripped a shot into the top-right corner of the cage. J.J. Piccinich knotted the score 1:36 later for the Oilers, as he batted in a loose puck on the right side of the crease.
Period two started in similar fashion, as both sides lit the lamp in the first five minutes. Christopher Brown breezed past a defender for a goal in the right circle, before Robby Jackson squared the match by ringing a shot in off the crossbar. Tulsa then collected back-to-back markers to build a two-goal lead, as Adam Pleskach tipped in a Jared Thomas feed, then Miles Liberati stepped in to drive home a loose puck on a power play. Jan Drozg brought the Nailers within one, roofing a centering pass from Nick Saracino.
Wheeling drew even at the 11:46 mark of the third period, when Myles Powell drove down the left side, then shoveled a backhander into the right side of the net. With 2:33 left, Drozg put the Nailers ahead for good with his second of the night, snapping in a shot from the left side of the slot. Yushiroh Hirano added a power play marker into an empty net, applying the finishing touches on a 6-4 comeback triumph for Wheeling.
Alex D'Orio had his busiest evening of the early season, as he stopped 37 of the 41 shots he faced to earn the victory for the Nailers. Olle Eriksson Ek took the loss for Tulsa, surrendering five goals on 26 shots.
Nailers Get More Last Minute Magic in 4-3 Win
Hirano's Second of the Day Gives Wheeling Weekend Sweep of Indy
WHEELING, WV- For the second day in a row, the Wheeling Nailers saved the best for last, and came away with a remarkable 4-3 home triumph over the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Yushiroh Hirano netted his second goal of the day with 26 seconds remaining in the third period, giving Wheeling a sweep of the two-game weekend set.
The Fuel got off to a fast start, scoring twice in the opening stanza. The first goal came at the 4:43 mark, when Spencer Watson fed Bobby MacIntyre for a one-timer from below the left face-off circle. Indy's second tally came off a redirection, as Alex Krushelnyski got a piece of Ben Youds' attempt from the right point.
The lone marker in the middle frame went to the Nailers, who trimmed their deficit to one. Yushiroh Hirano skated the puck over the blueline, then fed Cam Brown, who battled through a check to free himself in the slot, where he snapped a shot into the right side of the cage.
Wheeling drew even in the opening minute of the third period, when Hirano grabbed the rebound of Blake Siebenaler's shot, and proceeded to stash it into the right side of the net. Spencer Watson regained the lead for the Fuel, but the Nailers responded with their power play. Brandon Hawkins squared the tilt at three with a rocket from the high slot at the 13:16 mark. Then, with 26 seconds remaining, Hirano roofed a shot from the top of the right circle, giving Wheeling its second dramatic win in a row. That strike also occurred on the man advantage.
Alex D'Orio collected his first professional victory for the Nailers, making 18 saves on 21 shots. Chase Marchand took the loss for Indy, stopping 27 of the 31 shots he faced.
Siebenaler Wins it in the Final Minute for Wheeling
Butcher Adds Two Goals in Home-Opening Victory
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers won their home opener in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, as a last-minute goal was the difference in a 4-3 victory over the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Blake Siebenaler fished out a loose puck in front of the net, snapping the deadlock for the first win of the year. Alec Butcher also had a strong night for the Nailers, collecting a pair of goals.
Wheeling's first home stanza was a solid one, as it lit the lamp twice to take the lead. The first goal came at the 5:59 mark. Macoy Erkamps backhanded the puck to Alec Butcher, who drove the net from the left side, and had enough force to push the puck through Charles Williams. Derian Plouffe briefly tied the score for the Fuel on wrist shot from the left side of the slot, but with under a minute to go, Cam Brown regained the lead for the Nailers, backhanding in a loose puck on the right side of the crease. The goal gave Brown 100 points in his ECHL career.
The teams exchanged goals in the middle frame, resulting in a 3-3 deadlock. Butcher notched his second of the evening, when he poked home the rebound of Lucas Kohls' initial shot, which rang off the right post. However, that marker was surrounded by Graham Knotts and Spencer Watson, who tallied for Indy. Watson's was the second strike on the man advantage for the visitors.
The tilt stayed tied until the final minute of play, when Blake Siebenaler's first goal in a Wheeling uniform lifted his club to an enormous home triumph. Yushiroh Hirano crashed the net with the initial attempt, which got stopped, but Siebenaler was there to deposit the rebound. The Nailers didn't allow any chances in the closing seconds, preserving the 4-3 final.
Jordan Ruby earned the win in his first start of the season for Wheeling, denying 26 of the 29 shots he faced. Charles Williams took the loss for the Fuel, making 23 saves on 27 shots.
Quick Start Propels Komets at Home
Jan Drozg Nets First Professional Goal for Wheeling
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers are ready to get their home season under way. Unfortunately, Friday night's trip to Fort Wayne was a tough one. The Komets dented the twine five times during the first period, then added a couple more for a 7-3 win at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Yushiroh Hirano, Brandon Hawkins, and Jan Drozg were the goal scorers for Wheeling.
The start of the game wasn't fun for the Nailers, who saw Fort Wayne storm out of the gates with four goals in the first 5:06 of play. The first tally came at the 51-second mark, when Brett McKenzie's pass banked off Brady Shaw and into the net. That pair was responsible for setting up the second goal, as Shawn St-Amant converted a breakaway. Alan Lyszarczyk tipped in Max Gottlieb's shot 14 seconds later, then Anthony Petruzzelli's backhand squeezed into the net for number four. The Nailers got on the board, courtesy of Yushiroh Hirano's one-time blast from the center point on a 5-on-3, but A.J. Jenks lit the lamp in the final minute, putting the Komets ahead, 5-1.
In the second period, Brandon Hawkins tapped in a Hirano feed to give Wheeling its second goal of the evening, but Fort Wayne added to its advantage with a spinaround shot by Chase Stewart in the right circle, then a rebound goal from Jenks, off of Jason Binkley's point shot.
Jan Drozg netted the lone marker in the final stanza, tipping in Myles Powell's shot for his first professional goal.
Cole Kehler got the win for the Komets, making 23 saves on 26 shots. Alex D'Orio suffered the loss for the Nailers, coming up with 23 stops, before turning the game over to Jordan Ruby, who was perfect on nine attempts in the third.
Cyclones Rally in Third for Comeback Win
Powell, Smith Score in the Opener for Wheeling
CINCINNATI, OH- The Cincinnati Cyclones were a dominant team on home ice last season, but for two periods on Saturday, the Wheeling Nailers had them on the ropes. Myles Powell and Willy Smith built a 2-0 lead, only to see Cincinnati rattle off four straight goals for a 4-2 comeback win at U.S. Bank Arena.
The Nailers scored the first goal of the season, as a former Cyclone made a quick impression on his new team. Nick Saracino chased down a loose puck in the left corner, then curled behind the net. Myles Powell alertly went to the slot, where he received a pass from Saracino, drilling a one-timer into the left side of the cage.
Wheeling added to its advantage in the middle frame. Cam Brown sped after the puck in the left corner, then swept a pass out to Blake Siebenaler at the left point. Siebenaler's point drive was stopped, but the rebound trickled into the crease, where it was smacked home by Willy Smith.
Unfortunately for the visitors, things turned sour in the third, as the Cyclones rallied with four straight strikes. Cincinnati's first goal came shorthanded, when Shaw Boomhower fed Mason Mitchell, who crashed the net on the left side of the slot. Andrew DeBrincat knotted the score on third chance, after a pair of saves by Alex D'Orio. The Nailers nearly prevented the go-ahead tally with a blocked shot, but the puck took a tough bounce, going to a wide-open John Edwardh at the bottom of the right circle. Mitchell tacked on an empty netter in the closing minutes, as the Cyclones prevailed, 4-2.
Michael Houser played a strong game in goal for Cincinnati, stopping 36 of the 38 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio turned in a solid effort for Wheeling, making 28 saves on 31 shots, but suffered the loss.
Marathon Shootout Goes to Fort Wayne
Nailers and Komets Combine for 20 Goals in Weekend Preseason Set
FORT WAYNE, IN- Offense was the name of the game during the weekend series between the Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets, as the two Central Division rivals combined to score 20 goals in two games. However, the goaltenders rose to the occasion in Saturday night's shootout. Alex D'Orio and Cole Kehler combined to stop 19 of 22 shooters, with Brady Shaw's 11th round attempt found the twine, lifting Fort Wayne to the 6-5 home ice win. Brandon Hawkins and Christopher Brown both notched three points for the Nailers.
Fort Wayne applied a large dose of pressure in the opening stanza, outshooting the Nailers, 19-2, while taking a 2-1 lead into the dressing rooms. Wheeling got on the board first, converting on a play down the length of the ice. Lane Valimont led the puck out of the zone to Christopher Brown, who had a quick give-and-go with Alec Butcher, before snapping in a shot from the left face-off dot. The Komets drew even 3:28 later, when Connor Sanvido roofed a one-timer from the right circle. A little more than four minutes after that, Sanvido was robbed twice by Alex D'Orio, but Fort Wayne continued to press, and ultimately broke through, when Taylor Ross squeezed in a shot from the slot.
Less than a minute into period two, the Komets added to their advantage. Shawn Szydlowski led Brett McKenzie down the middle for a breakaway strike. However, the Nailers weren't rattled, as they drew even with two goals in less than two minutes. Cam Brown trimmed the deficit to one, when his pass bounced off of Ryan Scarfo, then went back to Brown, who swept home a shot from the right side. Moments later, Yushiroh Hirano used his speed to blaze past Olivier Galipeau, then faked out netminder Cole Kehler for his second tally in as many nights. Unfortunately, Fort Wayne regained the lead with a 4-on-3 goal in the final minute, when Olivier Galipeau blasted in a one-timer from the high slot.
Brandon Hawkins continued his phenomenal weekend by helping Wheeling erase two deficits in the third. His first marker came from the right circle on the power play, then his second was a missle from the right side. Even though there was still 14:37 remaining, that final goal forced overtime in a 5-5 deadlock.
The Nailers were forced to kill an early penalty in the extra session, and did so successfully, keeping the game moving along. It kept on moving along, all the way through an 11-round shootout, before the Komets finally decided the match with Brady Shaw's winning goal.
Cole Kehler made 17 saves on 21 shots in the game to get the win for Fort Wayne, while Stephen Dhillon stopped seven of the eight shots he faced as the starter. Alex D'Orio played the entire contest for Wheeling, turning aside 39 shots in regulation and overtime, then another ten in the shootout.
Komets Win Wild One in Overtime to Open Preseason
Hawkins Nets Hat Trick in First Game as a Nailer
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets waited all summer to get back into action, and they put on a show of nine goals, 71 shots, and five fights at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Wheeling erased an early 2-0 deficit by scoring four straight goals, including a hat trick by Brandon Hawkins. However, the Komets also had a comeback in them, as they tied the game late, then skated away with a 5-4 overtime victory on Shane Bennett's goal.
The Komets were quick to get onto the scoreboard, as they lit the lamp just 1:20 into the contest. Alan Lyszczarczyk poked the puck to the left face-off dot for Shawn Szydlowski, who roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Fort Wayne added to its lead later in the stanza. Connor Sanvido skated the puck into the left side of the offensive zone on a 2-on-1, and proceeded to snap a shot into the left side of the net.
Wheeling's performance got stronger as the game went along, and with less than four minutes left in the middle frame, it broke through. Brandon Hawkins shuffled his way over the middle of the blueline, deked to his right, then sent a laser into the bottom-right corner of the goal for a shorthanded marker.
Both teams saw their offenses explode in the third period, combining for five goals. The Nailers had a hot start to the stanza, rifling home three tallies in a span of 4:23 to build a two-goal advantage. Yushiroh Hirano tipped in Blake Siebenaler's left circle wrist shot, then Hawkins buried a pair of shots from the left side of the ice, notching a hat trick. The Komets battled back to force extra hockey, as Shawn Szydlowski slid in a power play goal from the blueline, before Max Gottlieb flipped in a shot from the slot in the final minute of regulation.
Fort Wayne ended up prevailing in the new seven-minute overtime session, as Shane Bennett powered his way in on the right side, ramping in the deciding goal for a 5-4 Komets win.
Dylan Ferguson got the win for Fort Wayne, making 26 saves on 30 shots. Andrew D'Agostini had a busy evening for Wheeling, turning away 36 of the 41 shots he faced in the overtime defeat.