NAILERS GAME DAY 2021-22
ALMEIDA AMAZING IN FOUR-GOAL GAME
Third Year Pro Takes Wheeling's 100th Hat Trick All-Time to a Different Level
CORALVILLE, IA- Saturday night at Xtream Arena was the Justin Almeida Show. The Wheeling Nailers forward lit the lamp four times, as the team earned a 4-2 road victory against the Iowa Heartlanders. The four-goal game was the 15th in Wheeling history, in addition to being the 100th hat trick in the team's 30 years in the Ohio Valley. Patrick Watling helped out by assisting on three of the goals, as he and Nick Hutchison both continued their point streaks.
The Nailers controlled the majority of the play in the first period, outshooting Iowa, 11-4. Both clubs came away with one goal. Wheeling struck first at the 7:02 mark. Chris Ortiz chopped the puck to the top of the right circle, where Justin Almeida turned a rocket of a slap shot into the top-left corner of the net. The Heartlanders responded with a couple of breakaways and scored the equalizer on the second one. Yuki Miura attempted to squeeze a shot through Stefanos Lekkas, who made the initial save, but his momentum carried the puck back in over the goal line.
Wheeling regained its lead with the lone marker of the middle frame, which came on the man advantage at the 13:43 mark. Patrick Watling stickhandled with the puck along the right wing wall, then slid a pass to Nick Hutchison along the goal line. The work on the right side allowed Almeida to jump up into the left circle and receive a perfect pass from Hutchison, which he buried into a wide open twine.
Almeida's magical night hit new heights in the third period. With 8:09 remaining, he completed his hat trick, as he took a drop pass from Watling and roofed a shot into the top of the goal. However, Almeida wasn't done yet, as less than three minutes later, he tallied his fourth of the tilt with another sizzler under the crossbar. Kris Bennett scored for the Heartlanders with 2:40 left, but the damage was done, as the Nailers were victorious, 4-2.
Stefanos Lekkas got the win in his Wheeling debut, as he made 13 saves on 15 shots. Hunter Jones took the loss for Iowa, as he allowed four goals on 22 shots.
The Nailers will return home on Friday night for a Frosty Friday against the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7:10. Wheeling also has a home game on Sunday, December 5th, which is Princesses & Pirates Day against the Indy Fuel at 4:10. The next Big 6 Promotional Night is Elf Night on Saturday, December 11th.
NAILERS OFFENSE COOKING IN CORALVILLE
Will Reilly Records Second Straight Three-Point Game in 7-4 Road Win
CORALVILLE, IA- The Wheeling Nailers had their offense rolling on Friday night, as they set a season high with seven goals in a 7-4 victory over the Iowa Heartlanders at Xtream Arena. Will Reilly and Justin Almeida both contributed in a big way with two goals and an assist, as Reilly has six points in two games as a Nailer. Nick Hutchison extended his point streak to eight with a goal and an assist, Patrick Watling extended his point streak to six with a helper, and rookie Cam Hausinger had his best game with three assists.
The Nailers got things going quickly, as they pounced on a pair of power play opportunities to take a 2-0 lead. The first marker came at the 9:48 mark. Justin Almeida and Dylan MacPherson exchanged passes on the left side, before Almeida stepped up and roofed a wrist shot from the left circle. Later in the stanza, Wheeling struck again. Cam Hausinger drove down the left side of the ice, then dropped a pass off in the left circle, which was thrusted home by Will Reilly into the bottom-right corner of the cage.
The second period got off to a scary start for the Nailers, as Iowa scored twice in a span of 12 seconds to draw even. Both goals were scored by Alex Khovanov, who whipped in a pair of wrist shots from the right side of the slot. Wheeling recovered well, and retook control of the contest. At the 2:55 mark, the visitors connected on a beautiful three-way passing play, as Patrick Watling slid the puck to Almeida, who led Nick Hutchison with a perfect feed on the right side. Hutchison walked in and slammed a one-timer into the back of the net. Less than three minutes later, the Nailers got their two-goal lead back, as Tim Doherty whipped in a shot from the right circle.
Wheeling kept the pedal to the metal in the third period to put the game away. Reilly potted his second of the night at the 3:30 mark, when he cruised down the right side and lifted a shot just under the crossbar, which was called a goal, thanks to video review. Almeida followed with his second of the contest with another gorgeous wrist shot to the top shelf, as he and Reilly both posted three-point performances. Bryce Misley and Yuki Miura tallied in the final seven minutes for the Heartlanders, before Jared Cockrell put the final nail in the coffin for the 7-4 Nailers triumph.
Alex D'Orio picked up the win for Wheeling, as he made 13 saves on 17 shots. Trevin Kozlowski took the loss for Iowa, as he gave up six goals on 38 shots.
Nailers Feast on Fuel, 5-1
Nick Hutchison Scores Twice Against His Former Team, While Alex D'Orio Stops 34
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers enjoyed a feast of goals on Wednesday night at WesBanco Arena, before carving into their Thanksgiving turkeys. Nick Hutchison scored a couple of goals against his former team, the Indy Fuel, while Patrick Watling and Will Reilly both posted three-point nights in the 5-1 Wheeling triumph. Alex D'Orio also turned in a big game with 34 saves.
The Nailers felt some pressure in the form of a 13-3 shots advantage for Indy in the opening period, but got a timely goal and solid netminding to take a 1-1 deadlock into the intermission. The Fuel did get on the scoreboard first at the 6:27 mark. Mike Lee sent a shot in from the left point, which hopped over to Riley McKay for a swat-in from the right side. Wheeling bounced back 59 seconds later. Will Reilly stepped up to center the puck out of the right corner to Patrick Watling, who tacked in a one-timer from the low slot.
Early in the middle frame, the Nailers took the lead off of a beautiful rush into the offensive zone. Sam Houde carried the puck down the right side, then dropped a pass off to Dylan MacPherson. The Wheeling captain stepped in to drive a slap shot into the top-left corner of the cage. The Nailers defense and penalty kill held strong for the remainder of the period to keep the home side ahead.
The offense opened the game up in the third period to take the victory to the finish line. One of the key moments in the stanza came at the 5:56 mark, when Wheeling connected for a shorthanded goal. Reilly let a shot go from the right point and got a perfect redirection from Nick Hutchison. Less than three minutes later, the Nailers struck again on a tally that originated from the blueline, as Chris Ortiz found the top-right corner of the twine from the top of the left circle. The tandem of Hutchison and Reilly connected once more with 9:14 left, as Hutchison lit the lamp with another tip-in for the 5-1 final.
Alex D'Orio played a huge role in backstopping the win for Wheeling, as he denied 34 of the 35 shots he faced, which included 26 saves in the first two periods, when the goal differential was one. Cale Morris took the loss for Indy, as he allowed five goals on 23 shots.
Nailers Come Inches Away From a Point in Fort Wayne
Late Second Period Goal Gives Komets 3-2 Home Win
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets played another tight game that went right down to the wire on Saturday night at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The Nailers were inches away from coming away with a point, but a last minute goal in the second period was the difference, as the Komets collected a 3-2 win on their home ice. Tyler Drevitch and Patrick Watling were Wheeling's goal scorers, while Nick Hutchison extended his point streak to six games.
Both teams had strong stretches of play in the opening stanza, and that resulted in a 1-1 deadlock. The Komets were the first to strike, as they capitalized on a delayed penalty. Kellen Jones swung around out of the right corner and delivered a tape-to-tape pass to Matt Murphy, who drove a one-timer into the left side of the goal. Wheeling pulled even with 3:58 remaining. Nick Hutchison slid the puck out to Alex Stevens for a one-time blast from the right point, which got tipped into the cage by Tyler Drevitch.
The Nailers leaned on the goaltending of Alex D'Orio in the middle frame, as he put in a lot of work to keep his squad in the game. However, Fort Wayne was able to connect for a pair of strikes. Murphy notched his second of the night at the 6:58 mark, when he zipped down the middle of the offensive zone and roofed a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the net. Then, with under a minute to go, Stephen Harper batted the rebound of Will Graber's attempt out of the air and in on the right side.
Wheeling put forth an excellent push in the third period, and very nearly tied the contest. With 5:36 remaining, the Nailers got to within a goal on a power play. Cam Hausinger jammed at the puck on the doorstep, and eventually got it to slide to Patrick Watling, who lifted a shot over Sam Harvey, who was sprawled out in the Komets crease. Moments later, Wheeling thought it may have drawn even, but Dylan MacPherson's wrist shot rang off the crossbar and dropped down without going completely over the goal line. The Nailers were unable to come that close again, as they dropped the 3-2 decision.
Sam Harvey got the win in goal for Fort Wayne, as he made 18 saves on 20 shots. Alex D'Orio played very well for Wheeling, as he stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced, but ended up on the other side of the equation.
FUEL SQUARE SEASON SET WITH 5-2 HOME WIN
Alfaro & Hutchison Extend Point Streaks to Five on Opening Goal
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers got off to a nice start in Friday night's game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, but unfortunately, the remainder of the contest didn't go as planned. Brent Gates and Cliff Watson both lit the lamp twice for the host Indy Fuel, who collected a 5-2 victory in the second of 13 battles between the two division rivals. Matt Alfaro and Chris Ortiz both scored for the Nailers, while Alfaro and Nick Hutchison extended their point streaks to five games.
Both teams found the back of the net in the early stages of the first period. Wheeling was first on the board at the 2:40 mark. Nick Hutchison picked off a pass behind the net, then immediately centered the puck to Matt Alfaro, who buried a wrist shot from the slot and into the bottom-right corner of the cage. The Fuel pulled even 2:40 later, when Keoni Texeira's left point shot slid along the ice, before Brent Gates ramped a redirection up and under the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken very quickly in the middle frame, as Indy needed just 37 seconds to take its first lead of the night, with the two teams playing 4-on-4. Chad Yetman twirled around in the left circle, before teeing up Cliff Watson for a one-timer in the slot, which he slapped into the bottom-right side of the net. With 3:33 remaining in the period, the Fuel upped their advantage. Brent Gates finished off a rush that started from his own blueline by sweeping in a shot from the right circle.
Indy added a key insurance marker less than six minutes into the third period to extend their lead to three, as Jacob LeGuerrier rocketed a one-time feed from Yetman into the top-right corner of the goal. Chris Ortiz brought the Nailers within two with his left point one-timer during a 6-on-4 power play, but Cliff Watson's second of the night into an empty net put the finishing touches on the 5-2 decision for the Fuel.
Cale Morris got the win in goal for Indy, as he turned aside 31 of the 33 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio was saddled with the defeat for Wheeling, as he made 26 saves on 30 shots.
Wheeling's Win was Worth the Wait
Maniscalco & Paré Net First Two Pro Goals, Including Manisalco's OT Winner
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets both wrapped up 3-in-3 weekends on Sunday afternoon in a game which featured lots of twists and turns, and points going each way. The Nailers ultimately came out on top with less than one minute remaining in overtime, as Josh Maniscalco scored his second goal of the night and of his pro career, giving his team a 5-4 triumph and four out of six points on the weekend. Félix Paré also netted his first two career goals in a game which experienced a 90-plus-minute delay due to ice issues.
The Nailers did a solid job of controlling the play in the first period, as they outshot Fort Wayne, 11-5. However, it was the visitors who took advantage of their chances for a 2-0 lead. The first goal came off of a turnover, as Matthew Boudens stole the puck at his own blueline, and proceeded to break away, before flipping a shot into the top-left corner of the net. The second Komets tally came while the teams were playing 4-on-4. Connor Jones delieverd a pass to Marcus McIvor, who slithered in a shot from the bottom of the left circle.
Wheeling kept the pressure coming in the middle frame and got rewarded with three goals. The Nailers got on the board when Fort Wayne netminder Jiri Patera gave the puck way to Félix Paré, who bounced in his first professional goal from the right side. Tyler Drevitch squared the score with 6:45 remaining on an incredible individual effort, as he skated the puck from end to end, slipping a forehand shot around Patera's left leg. 1:20 later, Wheeling took the lead on a beautiful three-way passing play during 4-on-4 action. Patrick Watling started with the tic, Nick Hutchison got the tac, and Josh Maniscalco put the toe on the play, slamming in a one-timer from the left circle.
The third period was a long one, with a few ups and downs. The Komets pulled even at the 1:04 mark, when Connor Corcoran swiped in a wrist shot from the right circle. The Nailers bounced back to retake the lead at the 8:17 mark, just as a power play expired. Matt Foley's right point shot got stopped, but Paré was camped on the doorstep to bat in his second of the night.
With 4:30 to go in regulation, a large chunk came out of the ice, leading to a delay of over 90 minutes. When the teams returned, Fort Wayne quickly knotted things up. Matt Alvaro fed Boudens, who was cruising down the slot, and Boudens was able to tuck a shot inside the left post for the tying marker.
Both teams had glorious chances to end the contest, as overtime got under way, with each side receiving a power play. Both penalty kills got the job done, which preserved the deadlock until the final minute of the extra session. That's when Maniscalco stepped up as the hero, swatting in his second of the tilt from the left circle for the 5-4 Wheeling triumph.
Louis-Philip Guindon earned the win for the Nailers in his season debut, as he denied 27 of the 31 shots he faced from his former club. Jiri Patera took the overtime loss for the Komets, as he made 40 saves on 45 shots.
Cyclones Escape Victorious in Feisty Affair
End of First Period Brawl Leads to 90 Penalty Minutes
WHEELING, WV- There was a hockey game on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena, but one of the major storylines took place at the end of the first period, when three separate fights broke out, leading to six ejections. Although the Wheeling Nailers won the fights, the Cincinnati Cyclones won the match with five goals in a span of 10:29, including two from Dominic Franco. The Nailers got two goals from Patrick Watling, as they fell, 5-4.
The first period was a spirited one, which also featured three goals. Wheeling was the first team to strike, and it did so with two tallies in a span of 40 seconds. On the opening marker, Matt Alfaro slid a pass through the low slot to Patrick Watling, who finished with a tap-in on the left side of the crease. The Nailers kept things rolling moments later, when Tim Doherty had his initial shot stopped, but Nick Hutchison pounded home the rebound from the right circle. Cincinnati closed within one on the man advantage, as Graham Knott set up Dominic Franco for a one-timer from the right circle. The period ended with a bang (or three), as Brandon Saigeon squared off with Colton Waltz, Jake Flegel challenged Dajon Mingo, and Shaw Boomhower threw down with Nick Boka.
The goals continued to come at a fast and furious rate in the middle frame. The Cyclones capitalized on two more power plays in the opening three minutes, as Franco rolled in his second of the night, before Wyatt Ege's right point wrist shot found its way in. Graham Knott tucked in his own rebound less than a minute later, then Jesse Schultz lifted in the rebound of Yushiroh Hirano's initial attempt to put the visitors ahead by three. Wheeling began to cut into the deficit with two goals in the last seven minutes of the period. Watling netted the team's third straight Golden Goal at the 13:10 mark, when he touched in a cross-crease pass from Hutchison. Then, with 4:37 to go, Alex Stevens launched a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the cage from just inside the blueline.
Both sides tightened up and played a scoreless third period, which meant a 5-4 final in favor of Cincinnati.
Joe Murdaca got the win for the Cyclones, as he made 28 saves on 32 shots. Evan Moyse suffered the defeat in his Nailers debut, as he turned away 33 of the 38 shots he faced
TIMELY EFFORT LEADS NAILERS IN TOLEDO
Wheeling Scores Twice in 61 Seconds and has a Perfect Penalty Kill
TOLEDO, OH- The Wheeling Nailers got some timely goals and phenomenal special teams on Friday night, as they earned a 3-2 triumph over the Toledo Walleye at Huntington Center. Jared Cockrell and Shaw Boomhower scored 61 seconds apart from each other in the second period, while Alex D'Orio made 24 saves in the win.
There were two goals scored in the first period, and they came 17 seconds apart from each other. Wheeling struck first on the man advantage. Matt Alfaro opened up the play by sending a pass to Tim Doherty, who let a wrist shot go from the top of the left circle. Billy Christopoulos made the save, but the rebound squirted out to Nick Hutchison, who pounced on the loose biscuit for the tally. The Walleye answered quickly. John Albert squibbed the puck toward the top of the crease, where Matt Berry ultimately sent a shot hopping into the cage for the equalizer.
The Nailers had a marvelous middle frame, as they outshot Toledo, 16-8, while tallying twice. The go-ahead marker came at the 9:48 mark, when an errant Walleye pass sent Jared Cockrell on a breakaway. Cockrell flew down the ice and chipped a forehand shot into the top-left corner of the cage. 1:01 later, the visitors struck again. Tyler Drevitch and Shaw Boomhower had an aggressive forecheck to force a turnover in the neutral zone. As the two turned defense to offense, Drevitch put a pass right on Boomhower's tape for a redirection on the right side of the crease.
Berry's second of the contest made things a little more interesting in the closing minute, but Wheeling made sure to close out its victory, 3-2.
Alex D'Orio earned his second straight win with another strong outing in goal, as he made 24 saves on 26 shots. Billy Christopoulos took the loss for Toledo, as he stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced.
Patrick's Hat Trick Puts Nailers in Victory Lane
Wheeling Scores Five Unanswered Goals to Beat Indy, 5-2
WHEELING, WV- Patrick Watling has created some tremendous moments in his two seasons with the Wheeling Nailers, and on Sunday afternoon, he added to that list. Watling tied the game in the final second of the second period, then added two more goals in the third for his second hat trick with the club. Alex Stevens ultimately broke the tie with his first professional goal, as the Nailers rallied back from an early deficit to defeat the Indy Fuel, 5-2 at WesBanco Arena.
The Fuel struck first with a couple of special teams goals in the opening six minutes of play. The first tally came shorthanded, as Riley McKay dribbled a pass into the low slot for C.J. Eick, who faked to his backhand, which allowed him to elevate the puck and score. Indy's power play extended the lead 2:10 later, when Mike Lee's center point wrist shot found its way into the bottom-left corner of the cage.
The second period was a different story, as Wheeling rallied back to tie the contest in thrilling fashion. The home team got on the scoreboard at the 8:24 mark, when Félix Paré delivered a perfect pass across the slot to Tyler Drevitch, who slammed in a one-timer from the left side. Then, with the seconds ticking away, Nick Hutchison put what appeared to be one final shot on goal. However, Patrick Watling gloved down the rebound, and tucked in a backhand wraparound to beat the buzzer, as the clock read, "0.2."
The Nailers carried the momentum into the third period, and took their first lead of the day at the 1:55 mark. Alex Stevens took a slap shot from the right point, and got a fortunate bounce, as the puck deflected off of an Indy stick and went whistling over Mitch Gillam's glove. With 3:36 remaining, Wheeling tacked on a key insurance goal, while playing with a 4-on-3 power play. Nick Hutchison's shot got blocked to Watling, who slid his second of the game from the right circle. Watling finished off his stellar night in the final minute, tossing his hat trick goal into an empty net and giving the Nailers a 5-2 victory.
Alex D'Orio earned the win in goal for Wheeling, as he denied 24 of the 26 shots he faced, including all 20 sent his way in the second and third periods. Mitch Gillam made 28 saves in 32 shots, as he took the loss for the Fuel.
Harvey's Hot Goaltending Spoils Home Opener
Shaw Boomhower Leads Wheeling's Attack with a Goal & an Assist
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers got their 30th home season started on Saturday night by putting together a strong offensive attack. However, Fort Wayne Komets goaltender Samuel Harvey played a big part in spoiling the party, as he thwarted 46 of the 48 shots he faced. His team helped him out by finding the net three times during the third period, which made the difference in a 5-2 road win. Shaw Boomhower had a goal and an assist for the Nailers.
The Nailers did a good job of controlling the play in the first period, as they outshot Fort Wayne, 12-5. However, the lone goal went to the Komets, who capitalized on the power play. Shawn Boudrias slid the puck out to Jameson Milam, who stepped up and clobbered in a slap shot from the left point.
Wheeling's efforts were rewarded in the middle stanza, as the home team netted a pair of goals. The first marker came on the man advantage, as Shaw Boomhower won a face-off back to Dylan MacPherson, whose wrist shot whistled off of Samuel Harvey's glove and in. Boomhower was responsible for the second tally, as he redirected Josh Maniscalco's long distance wrist shot. Fort Wayne drew even with 2:39 left, as the squads were playing 4-on-4. Boudrias centered the puck out of the right corner to Stephen Harper, who roofed a shot into the top-right corner of the net.
Early in the third period, the Komets took the lead back, as they took advantage of having an extra attacker during a delayed penalty. Former Nailer Blake Siebenaler threw a wrist shot through a maze of bodies and into the top-left corner of the goal. Fort Wayne struck again 2:04 later, when Matt Alvaro stole the puck and reached around to tuck a shot just past Tommy Nappier's right leg. Despite a 20-shot third period, Wheeling was unable to trim the deficit down, and Harper's second of the contest into an empty net put the finishing touches on a 5-2 Komets win.
Samuel Harvey was sensational in goal for Fort Wayne, as he stopped 46 of the 48 shots he faced. Tommy Nappier took the defeat for the Nailers, as he made 20 saves on 24 shots.
NAILERS WIN 6-5 IN COMEBACK FOR THE AGES
Next Stop Wheeling, WV. Home Opener Saturday November 6th, 2021 @7:10PM
WICHITA, KS- Saturday night at INTRUST Bank Arena can be filed into the category of improbable, but extremely sweet. The Wheeling Nailers trailed the Wichita Thunder, 4-0, after 11:04 was played, but weren't about look toward the bus ride home yet. After a 90-minute ice delay, the Nailers found their game in a big way, scoring four goals in the third period to stun the Thunder, 6-5, and earn four points on their season-opening four-game road trip. Sean Josling and Justin Almeida both scored twice in the third period comeback.
The first period was a rough one for the Nailers, as Wichita came out to a flying start. Peter Crinella put the home team on the scoreboard 2:03 into the contest, when he squirted a wrist shot through from just below the right circle. At the 8:40 mark, Matt Alfaro laid out Stephen Johnson with a punishing check, but at the same time, Matteo Gennaro slid a wrist shot home to put the Thunder up by two. The hit resulted in a five-minute Wichita power play, which turned into two more goals, as Crinella connected for his second off of a left side one-timer, before Dean Stewart found the net with a seeing-eyed wrister. Patrick Watling got one marker back for Wheeling while the team was playing shorthanded, as he hammered in a one-time feed from Sean Josling in the right circle. In addition to Alfaro tangling with Brayden Watts after the hit, the opening stanza featured another fight early on, as Shaw Boomhower threw down with Sean Allen.
The Nailers continued to work towards bouncing back in the middle frame, and they pulled within two at the 4:32 mark. Dylan MacPherson let a wrist shot go from the blueline, which was tipped down and into the cage by Nick Hutchison. Later in the period, the Thunder answered off the rush, led by former Nailer Brady Fleurent, and eventually resulted in Stewart feeding Carter Johnson for a one-timer in the slot.
With 1:34 remaining in the second period, there was a hole in the ice, which caused a delay of approximately 90 minutes. The delay ended up working in Wheeling's favor in a big way, as the visitors exploded in the third period.
The comeback began at the 1:45 mark. Watling fired in a shot from the left point, which was tipped into the net by Josling. Then, at 7:12, Justin Almeida picked up Cam Hausinger's shot off the end boards, and tucked it into the right side of the goal. Almeida struck again 2:09 later, as he capitalized off a Wichita turnover and tossed a shot into an open left side of the twine. With less than four minutes to go, the Nailers got a power play, and scored their biggest goal of the early season. Josh Maniscalco took a wrist shot from the point, and Josling ramped a deflection into the top corner to put Wheeling ahead 6-5 in a game they trailed by as many as four. That surge was plenty to get the game to its conclusion, as the Nailers were victorious by that 6-5 final.
Tommy Nappier was phenomenal in relief for Wheeling, as he earned the win, making 18 saves on 19 shots, after Alex D'Orio surrendered four goals on eight shots. Evan Buitenhuis was the losing goaltender for the Thunder, as he allowed six goals on 44 shots.
Next up for the Nailers is their first home game of the 2021-22 season, which takes place on Saturday, November 6th against the Fort Wayne Komets at 7:10.
Mavericks Take Special Teams Battle & Game
Nailers Wrap up Season Opening Trip in Wichita Saturday
INDEPENDENCE, MO- Special teams were the story of Friday night's game, as the Wheeling Nailers and Kansas City Mavericks did battle at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks converted on a power play in each of the first two periods, while Wheeling came up empty on seven attempts, as Kansas City collected a 3-0 win on home ice. Angus Redmond made 31 saves in the shutout.
The first period was a spirited one, which featured a fight, matching roughing minors, and five power plays. There was also a goal, which was scored by the Mavericks on one of those man advantages. Nick Pastujov rushed the puck in on the left side of the offensive zone, before making a pass to the slot, where Lane Scheidl lifted a quick wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net.
Kansas City extended its lead in the middle frame, taking advantage of another power play. Ryan Harrison jammed at the puck on the left side of the crease, and ultimately got a friendly deflection off of teammate Pastujov, as the loose biscuit squibbed its way across the goal line. The Nailers had a big chance to get a goal back in the second, as they received a 5-on-3, but the Mavericks maintained their two-goal edge into the dressing room.
Wheeling threw the kitchen sink at Kansas City with a 14-3 shots advantage, but Angus Redmond stood tall in the Mavericks crease, and Scheidl put the finishing touches on the 3-0 result with an empty netter.
Angus Redmond backstopped the shutout with a 31-save performance for Kansas City. Tommy Nappier made 18 saves on 20 shots in goal for the Nailers.
The Nailers will wrap up their season-opening road trip on Saturday night, when they visit the Wichita Thunder at 8:05.
ALMEIDA THE OT HERO IN WHEELING'S FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
Hausinger & Ortiz Net First Pro Goals on Memorable Night
CORALVILLE, IA- The Wheeling Nailers needed a bit of a dramatic ending to secure their first win of their 30th season, and they got that on Wednesday night in their first ever trip to Coralville, Iowa. The Iowa Heartlanders scored with 90 seconds left to force overtime, but in the extra session, Justin Almeida made sure the visitors skated away with the two points, as his left side rip gave the Nailers a 4-3 triumph. Cam Hausinger and Chris Ortiz both scored their first career goals in the victory.
The two squads played to a 1-1 draw in the opening stanza, as the Nailers got on the board first, before Iowa tied things up less than three minutes later. Wheeling's goal was a special one, as Cam Hausinger lit the lamp for the first time in his pro career, after taking last season off. Justin Almeida dribbled a pass deep on the left side to Hausinger, who chipped a backhander up and over goaltender Hunter Jones. Brett Gravelle was responsible for the equalizer, as he battled his way into the slot, where he ultimately swung a shot into the right side of the net.
The goals were a bit more spread out in the middle frame, and they came in reverse order. The Heartlanders struck at the 6:15 mark to pull ahead, as Jack Billings capitalized on a turnover, then faked to his backhand to shovel in the tally. Wheeling responded with a 4-on-4 strike on another first. Tim Doherty sent Patrick Watling and Chris Ortiz ahead on a 2-on-1 break. Watling feathered a pass across the slot to Ortiz, who snapped in a one-timer from the right side for his first pro goal.
The Nailers poured on the shots to a 19-3 tune during the third period, and with just under seven minutes left, they thought they were in good shape. Tim Doherty snagged the puck at the right face-off dot, and slithered a shot through Jones' legs. However, with 90 seconds remaining, Iowa sent the contest past regulation. Gravelle collected his second of the night by redirecting a point shot from Fedor Gordeev.
In overtime, Wheeling took its time to gain clean possession, then march ahead to deposit the winning marker. Justin Almeida flew down the left side, and rang a shot in off the crossbar to give the Nailers their first victory of the season, 4-3.
Tommy Nappier picked up the win in goal for Wheeling, as he made 14 saves on 17 shots. Hunter Jones turned aside 39 of the 43 shots he faced in the overtime loss for the Heartlanders.
The Nailers will continue their road trip with another first time stop, when they visit the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday at 8:05.
Nailers Battle Hard, but Komets Prevail on Banner Night
Sean Josling Leads Wheeling Offense with a Goal & an Assist
FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers opened their 30th season on Saturday night with a seesaw battle against the Fort Wayne Komets at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Things were going well for approximately 25 minutes, as the Nailers built a 3-1 lead. However, the Komets rallied back and eventually pulled ahead with 7:24 remaining in the game, as they collected a 4-3 win on their home ice. Sean Josling led the offensive attack for Wheeling with a goal and an assist.
The first period of the season went well for the Nailers, who got things started with the first goal of the campaign. Nick Hutchison poked the puck away from a Fort Wayne player and broke all the way down the length of the ice, before sliding a backhander through goaltender Jiri Patera's legs for a shorthanded strike. The Komets got on the board with a power play marker later in the frame, when an errant clear deflected off of Stephen Harper and into the net. Wheeling rebounded to snag the lead back with just eight seconds left in the period, when Sean Josling redirected in a left point shot from Adam Smith.
The Nailers carried that momentum into the early stages of the middle stanza, as they increased their lead to two. Matt Alfaro swept a pass across to Patrick Watling, who blazed in a one-timer from the right circle. Fort Wayne came back with a pair of goals to draw even, getting both from Matthew Boudens. Boudens' first marker was a tip-in off of Will Graber's right point wrist shot. Then, his second tally was a breakaway, which he lifted into the top-left corner of the cage.
The teams battled tooth and nail in the third period, when it became clear that one goal would make the difference in the game. With 7:24 to go in regulation, it was the Komets who got that goal, as Oliver Cooper tipped in Marcus McIvor's right point shot, which was set up by an offensive zone face-off win by Stephen Harper. Fort Wayne won three key defensive zone face-offs in a row during the final minute of the contest, which helped them take the 4-3 score to the finish line.
Jiri Patera picked up the win in goal for the Komets, as he made 25 saves on 28 shots. Joe Murdaca turned aside 24 of the 28 shots he faced in his Wheeling debut, and was unfortunately saddled with the defeat.
The Nailers will continue their season-opening four game road trip on Wednesday night at 8:00, when they face the expansion Iowa Heartlanders for the first time ever. Wheeling's first home game is Saturday, November 6th at 7:10 against the Fort Wayne Komets.