Nailers Erase Early Deficit, but Wings Come Back to Win Late
KALAMAZOO, MI- Sunday afternoon's game at Wings Event Center was a wild one, which featured lots of emotions. Trailing 4-1 early, the Wheeling Nailers probably felt fortunate to get a point out of the game. However, tying and winning goals for the Kalamazoo Wings on the power play left the visitors with a sour taste in their mouths, as the Wings came away with a 7-6 overtime decision. Patrick Watling had a fantastic day for Wheeling with four goals, while Sam Houde added five assists.
The majority of the first period was okay for the Nailers, but there was also a very forgettable 61-second span. Kalamazoo got on the board first at the 1:17 mark on a close call. Logan Lambdin gloved down a pass from Kyle Blaney, and was able to get a whisker of his stick blade on the puck to direct it into the right side of the net. Wheeling answered that goal at the 4:48 mark. Cam Hausinger tossed a backhander under Jake Kielly's arm, which sat in the crease, before Jesse Lees eventually pushed the puck in over the line. Raymond Brice put the Wings back on top with a left side snap shot off the rush at the 8:32 mark. Four seconds later, Max Humitz roofed a forehand shot on a breakaway, and 57 seconds after that, Jake Slaker whizzed a shot into the top-right corner, after speeding down the left side of the ice. The Nailers got a goal back with under two minutes to go, as Patrick Watling wired in a pass from Sam Houde on the left side of the slot.
That late strike gave Wheeling serious momentum into the middle frame. Specifically, Watling was a man on a mission. He tipped in a net front feed by Justin Almeida to cut the deficit to one, then he completed his natural hat trick by slamming in a centering feed from Houde on the power play. Anthony Collins briefly gave the Wings the lead 33 seconds later, when he deposited the rebound of Giovanni Vallati's point shot. Three minutes after that, the Nailers drew even again, as Justin Almeida slid a power play wrist shot in from the top of the right circle. Wheeling then took its first lead of the day, as Watling got his fourth of the contest by tipping in a right side slap shot by Cam Hausinger.
Midway through the third period, Kalamazoo tied the score, after goaltender Trevor Gorsuch sold a goaltender interference penalty on Shaw Boomhower. Erik Bradford converted on the man advantage by roofing a shot from the left circle.
In the extra period, the Nailers were victimized by another penalty call, as Patrick Watling and Eric Kattelus were involved in a 50-50 puck battle and Watling was assessed the minor. 37 seconds into the power play, the Wings got the win, as Kyle Blaney sifted a pass into the slot, which was redirected in by Justin Taylor for the 7-6 final.
Both goalies who received decisions came into the game in relief roles. Trevor Gorsuch got the win for Kalamazoo, as he made 18 saves on 19 shots, after taking over for Jake Kielly, who allowed five goals on 24 shots. Brody Claeys suffered the overtime defeat, despite stopping 19 of 22 shots, following Alex D'Orio, who gave up four goals on five shots.
The Nailers will play one more road game on this trip, which will take place on Wednesday night at 7:00, when they visit the Indy Fuel. Wheeling will then come home for Throwback Night on Friday, March 25th at 7:10, which will feature special guests Louis Dumont and Paul Bissonnette. The Nailers will also be wearing specialty jerseys, and it's a Frosty Friday with $2 beer specials. The opponent that evening is Kalamazoo. 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.