Former Nailer Hawkins' Hat Trick Propels Komets
FORT WAYNE, IN- Brandon Hawkins scored lots of big goals for the Wheeling Nailers during the 2019-20 season, but on Friday night, he haunted his former club. Fort Wayne's leading scorer netted his second hat trick as part of a game-high 11-shot attack, as the Komets snapped Wheeling's six-game point streak with a 6-2 victory at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets took a pair of leads in the first period, with a Wheeling goal sandwiched in the middle. The first goal came at the 4:11 mark, when the Nailers turned the puck over in their own zone and Brandon Hawkins immediately sniped a shot into the right side of the net. Wheeling drew even later in the stanza with a 4-on-4 tally, as Matt Alfaro broke in on the left side and whipped a shot through Louis-Phillip Guindon's legs. With 30 seconds remaining, Fort Wayne got its lead back with Hawkins' second of the night, as he clipped in a one-time feed from Randy Gazzola at the bottom of the left circle.
The home team extended their advantage with a pair of special teams markers in the middle frame. At the 7:18 mark, Anthony Petruzzelli dished a shorthanded pass across the slot to Nick Boka, who faked to his backhand to slip in the goal. Then, with 5:36 left, Hawkins completed his hat trick on the power play, as he roofed in a wrist shot from the left circle.
The third period followed a similar script to the first, as the Komets netted two goals around one by the Nailers. Matthew Boudens banged in the rebound of Marcus McIvor's initial shot for Fort Wayne's fifth goal, before Anthony Nellis wound around to the left circle for the final strike of the night. Wheeling's tally came from Patrick McNally in the low slot, as he lifted in a centering pass from Austin Fyten. The final score was 6-2 Komets.
Louis-Phillip Guindon got the win in goal for Fort Wayne, as he came away with 15 saves on 17 shots. Shane Starrett stopped 11 of the 13 shots he faced for the Nailers, before Taran Kozun came in for the final two periods and was the goaltender of record, despite turning aside 26 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Komets will meet again on Sunday, as the scene shifts to WesBanco Arena for a 4:10 face-off. 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.