INDEPENDENCE, MO- The Wheeling Nailers had revenge on their minds on Saturday night, and they weren't going to settle for anything less at Cable Dahmer Arena in the back half of their weekend set with the Kansas City Mavericks. Wheeling took control from the start with a dominant first period, and ended up turning on the red light twice in each stanza for a 6-2 victory. Six different players were responsible for the goals, including Max Johnson, who tallied for the first time in his pro career. Adam Smith contributed three points from the blueline, while Samuel Tremblay picked up a shorthanded marker.
The Nailers were fired up at the start of the game, as they flew out of the gates with a 15-6 advantage in shots, which included a pair of goals. The first tally came at the 8:15 mark. Louie Roehl swept the puck ahead to Justin Addamo, who drove into the offensive zone, then let a shot go from the high slot, which rifled through Shane Starrett. Wheeling added to its lead with 1:34 remaining. Tyler Drevitch battled his way to the front of the net, where he was able to squeeze a pass through the crease to Cédric Desruisseaux for a tap-in on the left side.
Special teams were the story of the middle frame, as both teams found the net twice. The Nailers briefly extended their lead with a shorthanded strike. Bobby Hampton led the charge into the offensive zone, then handed the puck to Samuel Tremblay, who zipped his left slot wrist shot into the right side of the cage. Kansas City responded on the power play, when Keegan Howdeshell lifted in the rebound of Jordan Sambrook's initial attempt. Wheeling followed by cashing in on a two-man advantage. Desruisseaux's sizzler of a wrister crashed off of the end boards, but ended up producing a perfect rebound for Carter Johnson, who pounced on the loose puck and slammed a shot into the right side of the goal. The Mavericks got another connection from Sambrook and Howdeshell for their second of the night on the power play, as Howdeshell tipped in Sambrook's right point shot.
The Nailers were able to maintain their two-goal lead through the majority of the third period, thanks to some terrific penalty killing, as the team killed off four in a row after allowing two power play markers in the second. Two more insurance goals followed, as Wheeling put the match to bed. Max Johnson's special moment came with 3:58 left in the contest, as he wired in the first goal of his pro career from the right circle, while the squads were playing 4-on-4. Then, Adam Smith provided the final dagger in the 6-2 triumph, as he broke out of the penalty box, and lofted a shot into the top-right corner of the net.
Brad Barone grabbed the win in goal for the Nailers, as he made 18 saves on 20 shots. Shane Starrett took the loss for the Mavericks, as he gave up six goals on 35 shots.
The Nailers will return home next week, where they will play five of their next six games. The first of those contests is a Frosty Friday against the Iowa Heartlanders on February 3rd at 7:10. Iowa will be the opponent the next night as well, which is Pups & Pucks Night at 7:10 on February 4th, when fans are invited to bring their dogs to the game. The next Big 6 Promotional Night is also part of this home stretch. That is Pittsburgh Penguins Night, starring 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.