Early Goal Sets Fuel in Motion
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- Friday night's game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum didn't get off to a great start for the Wheeling Nailers, and unfortunately, they were unable to recover. Jan Mandat scored 23 seconds into the contest, setting off a string of five straight Indy Fuel goals, as they defeated the Nailers, 5-1. Patrick Watling extended his point streak to ten with the lone Wheeling tally.
One goal was scored in the first period, and it came in a quick fashion, as the Fuel found the net just 23 seconds into the match. Darien Craighead centered the puck to Jan Mand, who drilled a one-timer into the top-right corner of the net.
The Nailers had one break go their way, and one break goes against them in the middle frame. C.J. Eick appeared to give Indy a 2-0 lead with 4:29 remaining, but the goal was wiped off the board, due to goaltender interference by Griff Jeska. However, 1:17 later, the Fuel was awarded a penalty shot, as Wheeling was guilty of having a skater cover the puck in the crease. Jared Thomas scored on the attempt with a rocket of a slap shot from the right circle.
Indy extended its lead in the third period. At the 4:18 mark, Eick got a goal that counted when he cashed in on a scramble in front of the net. Mandat's second of the night into the top shelf and a shorthanded empty netter by Jeska capped off the scoring for the Fuel, before Patrick Watling's wrist shot from the top of the right circle on the power play gave Wheeling its lone marker of the contest in a 5-1 final.
Mitch Gillam picked up the win for Indy, as he made 24 saves on 25 shots. Stefanos Lekkas suffered the defeat for the Nailers, as he stopped 32 of the 36 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Fuel will travel across I-70 and meet in Wheeling on Saturday at 7:10. The game will feature a regift exchange, in which fans can bring an unwrapped gift to the game, and swap it out for a new one. The Nailers will also play at home on Sunday at 4:10 against the Kalamazoo Wings. Following that game, there will be a skate with odd-numbered players. Season memberships, single-game tickets, and holiday 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.