CORALVILLE, IA- One thing has been very evident in the first two games of the weekend at Xtream Arena - the Wheeling Nailers and Iowa Heartlanders do not like each other. The two Central Division rivals played a spirited tilt on Saturday night, which resulted in a plethora of penalties. The game was also tightly contested, but for the second straight night, it was Iowa who came out on top, as Zach White tallied two goals and an assist, including the deciding marker in the 4-3 Heartlanders win. Tyler Drevitch posted a two-goal game for the second week in a row for Wheeling.
The Nailers did their best to control the play in the opening stanza, as they had a 16-7 advantage in shots on goal. However, the scoreboard read the other way, as Iowa skated into the intermission with a 3-1 lead. The Heartlanders struck first at the 3:13 mark, when James Sanchez won a face-off back to Nolan Orzeck, who let a shot go from the point. Tanner MacMaster got a piece of the attempt to ramp the puck into the top-right corner of the cage. Wheeling battled back with an equalizer a little more than six minutes later. Davis Bunz's right point wrister set off some chaos around the crease. Tyler Drevitch was able to locate the loose biscuit, which he dragged into the right circle, and threw into the net with his backhand. Iowa regained the lead with a power play goal at 13:46. Orzeck again played a key role in helping to create the tally, as his wrist shot along the ice produced a rebound, which was stashed in by Zach White. Tommy Parran followed that up 51 seconds later, when he sifted a wrist shot along the ice and in from the top of the right circle, off of a face-off win by White.
In addition to all of the scoring, the first period also featured a penalty parade, which continued through all three frames, as the two rivals combined to rack up 86 minutes in the box. Neither side turned on the red light in the second, but the third period was a different story. The Nailers climbed back to within a goal on two occasions. Drevitch collected his second of the night at the 8:57 mark, following a magnificent keep-in by Ryan Da Silva at the left point. Drevitch faked to the backhand, then roofed a forehand attempt up and under the crossbar. The Heartlanders regained their two-goal edge when Zach White banged home Brendan Robbins' centering feed, which set off more rage between the clubs. Cédric Desruisseaux followed just under three minutes later, when he threw a shot through a screen and in from the outer edge of the right circle. Wheeling pressed with the goaltender pulled, but was unable to pot an equalizer, as Iowa prevailed, 4-3.
Darion Hanson was the winning goaltender for the Heartlanders, as he stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced, after taking over for Hunter Jones, who left with an injury on Wheeling's first goal. Jones ended up with ten saves. Brad Barone suffered the defeat for the Nailers, as he made 20 saves on 24 shots.
The Nailers and Heartlanders will conclude their three-game weekend series at Xtream Arena on Sunday at 3:05. Wheeling will then return home for three games against the Norfolk Admirals on Friday, February 24th, Saturday, February 25th, and Sunday, February 26th. The Friday game is a Frosty Friday with $2 beers, the Saturday game is First Responders Night, and the Sunday game will feature a post game skate. 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.