Fans Get Early Fireworks, but Nailers Fall, 3-2
WHEELING, WV- Garet Hunt and Stefan Fournier put quite a show on for the fans at WesBanco Arena on Friday night, as they lit each other up in an early fight, then lit the lamp in the first ever game between the Wheeling Nailers and Wichita Thunder. Wichita ended up with the final say on the scoreboard, as Spencer Dorowicz snapped a tied score with 5:38 to go for a 3-2 decision.
The game started out with some fireworks, as Garet Hunt and Stefan Fournier threw down the gloves just six seconds into the contest. Although Wheeling controlled a good portion of the play with a 13-7 advantage in shots, the lone goal was scored by the Thunder. Anthony Beauregard sauced a perfect pass to the right side of the crease, where Fournier put his stick on the ice and connected with a redirection. The tally came with just 1:17 left in the period.
The Nailers had a dominant second period, as they outshot Wichita, 17-1. One of those shots found the back of the net to tie the game. Michael Joly entered the zone on an odd-man rush, then delivered a cross-ice pass to Patrick Watling, who hammered in a one-timer from the right circle. Joshua Winquist also assisted on the marker, as he returned to the lineup after missing 15 straight contests.
The two combatants from the start of the tilt put an offensive stamp on the scoresheet in the early stages of period three. Hunt netted his first goal in a Wheeling uniform at the 4:35 mark, as Nick Rivera forced a turnover and setup Hunt for a wrist shot from the slot. Fournier knotted things up 2:28 later, when his first shot got blocked, but he followed up and swept in his second chance from the right side. With 5:38 to go, the Thunder collected the game winning goal. Brayden Watts slid a pass to Spencer Dorowicz, who was able to squeeze in a backhand from in front of the net. The Nailers struggled to gain possession in the offensive zone in the closing minutes, and fell, 3-2.
Evan Weninger turned in a great performance for Wichita, as he was the winning goaltender with 36 saves on 38 shots. Alex D'Orio stopped 15 of the 18 shots he faced in the setback for Wheeling.
The Nailers and Thunder will meet up again on Saturday at 7:10, before concluding their series on Sunday at 4:10. A limited number of tickets are available for Wheeling Nailers home games, and season memberships and flex packs are also available. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.