Fast Start Propels Walleye, 4-2
Tyler Drevitch & Sean Josling Score Wheeling's Goals
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers weren't exactly dealt an easy hand, as they had to face the defending Western Conference Champion Toledo Walleye twice on Opening Weekend. On Sunday afternoon, Toledo got things rolling with three quick goals, and despite a valiant comeback effort by the Nailers, that start ended up being enough, as the Walleye picked up the 4-2 road win at WesBanco Arena.
Toledo carried the momentum from Saturday night's comeback right into Sunday, as the visitors put three goals on the board in the opening 5:06 of play. Gordi Myer struck first on the opening shot of the day. He carried the puck in on the left side of an odd-man rush, and looked like he may elect to pass, but instead slipped a shot in along the ice. Nine seconds later, Trenton Bliss got a bounce to go his way, as he stole the puck in the trapezoid, then banked a shot off of Taylor Gauthier and into the net. Lukas Craggs added another goal on the power play, as he followed up the initial try by Brett McKenzie and chipped a rebound into the left side of the cage.
The Nailers began to turn things around in the middle frame, as they lit the lamp twice to close the gap to one. Wheeling's first marker of the day came at the 13:18 mark when Cedric Desruisseaux sent Tyler Drevitch away with a bank pass off the left wall. Drevitch sped into the offensive zone and roofed a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the net. Less than three minutes later, the Nailers struck again, as they converted on a man advantage. Josh Maniscalco drove a shot in from the right point that was stopped, but Sean Josling won the battle for the rebound and smacked home the loose puck.
Both defenses stood tall for the majority of the third period, but with 5:04 left, the Walleye got a key insurance strike. Thomas Ebbing's chance create havoc around the crease, and the puck was dug free to Gordie Green, who shuffled in a shot from the left side. A third minor penalty in the closing stanza slimmed Wheeling's chances at a comeback, as Toledo prevailed, 4-2.
Sebastian Cossa earned the win for the Walleye, as he turned aside 25 of the 27 shots he faced. Taylor Gauthier was saddled with the defeat in his pro debut, as he made 20 saves on 24 shots for the Nailers.
The Nailers will continue their season-opening four-game homestand with two more home contests next week during Halloween Weekend. Friday night is the first Frosty Friday of the season, featuring $2 beer specials, as Wheeling hosts the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7:10. Then, Sunday is a Halloween celebration with costumes, candy, and more, plus a post-game skate with even-numbered players, as the Nailers face the Iowa Heartlanders at 4:10. Season memberships, Big 6 ticket plans, 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.