INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The first 52 minutes of Sunday's game proved to be challenging at times for the Wheeling Nailers, but they rallied back in a big way to defeat the Indy Fuel, 3-1 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Chase Zieky started the comeback with the tying goal, then Davis Bunz followed with the go-ahead strike, before Samuel Tremblay put the finishing touches on the triumph. All three goals came during the final eight minutes of play, which put Brad Barone into the win column with 22 saves.
The game got off to an incredibly slow start, as the two squads combined for just nine shots on goal during a scoreless first period. A puck finally found its way into the cage at the 12:51 mark of the middle frame. Indy's Chris Van Os-Shaw forced a turnover in the offensive zone, which allowed Nate Pionk to set up Cameron Hillis for a one-time dart from the middle of the slot.
Once the offense got clicking for the Nailers in the third period, the visitors completely turned the game around. Wheeling got great sustained pressure to lead to the tying goal, which eventually led to Davis Bunz centering the puck to Chase Zieky, who blistered a wrist shot from the slot into the right side of the net. 3:17 later, Cédric Desruisseaux held onto the puck until Bunz stepped in for a one-timer from the blueline. Bunz had his initial shot stopped, but followed it up, and roofed the rebound from the right circle. After allowing 17 shots in the second period, the Nailers played a nearly perfect third period in their own end, as they limited the Fuel to just two attempts on target. Wheeling iced its 3-1 victory in the final minute, when Samuel Tremblay tossed in an empty netter from the right side.
Brad Barone turned in another great performance in goal for the Nailers, and was rewarded with the win, as he denied 22 of the 23 shots he faced. Zach Driscoll took the loss for Indy, as he made 15 saves on 17 shots.
The next part of the road trip will take the Nailers to Independence, Missouri next weekend, where they will play two games against the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday and Saturday at 8:05. Wheeling's next home game is a Frosty Friday on February 3rd, when the team welcomes the Iowa Heartlanders to town for a 7:10 face-off. Saturday, February 4th is also a 7:10 game against Iowa, and that will be the annual Pups & Pucks Game, when fans are invited to bring their dogs to the game. The next Big 6 Promotional Game is Pittsburgh Penguins Night on Saturday, February 11th at 7:10 against the Norfolk Admirals. The special guests for Pittsburgh Penguins Night are Tyler Kennedy, Jean-Sébastien Aubin, and François Leroux. Ticket packages and single game tickets are available for the 2022-23 season by visiting wheelingnailers.com or 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.