WHEELING, WV- Wednesday night's game between the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye at WesBanco Arena felt like a playoff game, and the Nailers showed that they are worthy of getting an invite to the dance. Justin Almeida and Cam Hausinger scored goals off of redirections, while Brody Claeys made 24 saves, as Wheeling earned its 30th victory of the season, 2-1 on home ice.
It took the teams a bit of time to get going, but the Nailers had a great final ten minutes of the first period, which also featured the game's opening goal. Matthew Quercia laid a check in the left corner, which led to a Toledo giveaway. Dominic Dockery gathered the puck in at the left point and sent a shot toward the net, which got tipped home by Justin Almeida.
Wheeling added to its lead at the 5:26 mark of the middle frame, courtesy of a second redirection. Adam Smith let a shot go from the left point, which got tipped into the twine by Cam Hausinger. A little more than six minutes later, the Walleye got on the scoreboard. Matt Berry dropped the puck off to Mitchell Heard, who drove his way into the slot, and whipped a shot in along the ice. With 4:23 left in the period, the Nailers had a chance to go up by a pair with a penalty shot. However, Kaden Fulcher stopped Tim Doherty.
Wheeling turned to its defense and goaltending in order to get the game to the finish line in the third period. Neither team lit the lamp, as the Nailers preserved the 2-1 triumph.
Brody Claeys was terrific in goal for Wheeling, as he denied 24 of the 25 shots he faced for the win. Kaden Fulcher also played well in the Toledo cage, but got saddled with the loss, after making 25 saves on 27 shots.
The Nailers will travel to Cincinnati on Friday to face the Cyclones at 7:35, before returning home for a pair of games against the Reading Royals on Saturday at 7:10 and Sunday at 4:10. Saturday is St. Baldrick's Night, as fans are invited to get their heads shaved to support childhood cancer research. Sunday is Pups & Pucks, when fans can bring their dogs to the game. That game will feature a Puppy Parade, a Dog Kerchief Giveaway, and a raffle of puppy paintings done by the players. The next big promotional night is Throwback Night on March 25th, starring Paul Bissonnette and Louis Dumont. Season memberships, single game tickets, and partial packages are available, and fans can get more information by calling (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.