WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers worked extremely hard on Sunday afternoon, as they wrapped up a stretch of four games in five days, while facing the team with the best record in the ECHL. The Nailers fell behind 2-1 in the early stages of the third period, but battled back with goals from Sean Josling and Cam Hausinger, as they edged the Toledo Walleye, 3-2 at WesBanco Arena, to maintain third place in the Central Division.
The Nailers put all sorts of pressure on during the first period, as they outshot Toledo, 17-8, but the game remained scoreless. The Walleye ultimately broke through with the opening goal of the match on a power play at the 6:49 mark of the middle frame. Randy Gazzola dished a pass to Brandon Hawkins, who stepped up into the left circle, and roofed a shot into the top-right corner of the net. Wheeling rebounded with 3:42 left to tie the score. Patrick Watling slid a pass through the slot for Sam Houde, who slammed in a one-timer from the right corner of the crease.
The third period saw both teams take a lead. Toledo regained its advantage very early on, as Brett Boeing found himself wide open on the right side of the ice. He deked his way to the net, then shoveled a backhander up and under the crossbar just 1:34 into the stanza. The Nailers got a bit of help to pull even 4:17 later, as goaltender Zach Driscoll gave the puck away to Justin Almeida in the slot. Almeida dribbled a pass to Sean Josling, who squeezed the puck into the empty cage. With 10:37 remaining, Wheeling took its first lead of the day, shortly after a power play had expired. Watling's shot hopped out to Matthew Quercia, who tapped a feed over to Cam Hausinger for an open shot on the right side of the crease. The Nailers made sure that their 3-2 lead reached the finish line, as the defense and goaltending shut down the league-leading Walleye.
Louis-Philip Guindon was brilliant between the pipes for Wheeling, as he denied 23 of the 25 shots he faced to improve to 5-1-2 in his last eight starts. Zach Driscoll had a busy day in goal for Toledo, as he stopped 40 of the 43 shots he faced in the setback.
The Nailers will begin the final week of the regular season with a huge game on Wednesday, when they visit the Kalamazoo Wings at 7:00. Wheeling will then play its final regular season home game on Friday night at 7:10 against the Fort Wayne Komets. The game is Fan Appreciation Night, which will feature a pregame party and surprise in-game giveaways. Plus, it's a Frosty Friday with $2 beers. 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.