WHEELING, WV- After firing 50 shots in a losing effort on Friday night, it didn’t take Wheeling long to find the twine on Tuesday night. The Nailers looked to avenge the loss they suffered at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, a game in which they could only get two goals on those 50 shots. The Nailers looked to be in control throughout this one but saw the two-goal lead slip away late in the second before getting enough to push through for the victory 3-2.
The scoring started when Hunter Fejes fired a shot from the slot at Indy goalie Matt Tomkins, the puck pinballed in front of the net and went up in the air off Tomkins and found its way in the net for the 6000th goal in Wheeling hockey history. Freddie Tiffels credited with the goal, Fejes and Ross McMullan given assists at 2:28 of the first.
The Nailers had some great chances and fired 15 shots at Tomkins who stopped the other 14. Adam Morrison made ten saves in the first for Wheeling. The hosts were unsuccessful on the only power play of the period.
After a penalty prematurely ended the Nailers second chance on the powerplay, they came charging out 4-on-4 and Garrett Meurs passed it ahead to Cam Brown. He took the puck across the slot from right to left and fired a low wrister towards the net and beat Tomkins low to the glove side. Jaynen Rissling was given the secondary assist as the hosts took a 2-0 lead at 9:24.
On the Nailers next powerplay chance late in the frame, Ryan Rupert caused a turnover deep in the Indy offensive zone and passed it in front to Matt Rupert who beat Morrison low to the glove side for a short-handed goal at 18:14.
As the penalty expired, the Fuel skated into the offensive zone, Garrett Clarke fired a shot toward the net. Morrison made a pad stack save but the rebound found its way to Jack Burton for the tap in to draw Indy even. Ryan Rupert was also given an assist on Burton’s first of the season at 19:19.
Shots in the second period were tied at 14. Wheeling was 0-for-2 on the power play in the middle frame. Indy was 0-for-1 on an abbreviated chance in the period.
Indy was on a powerplay and applying excellent pressure. A Ryan Rupert shot appeared to beat Morrison and to hit the crossbar and then down. The referee, Furman South, was right on top of the play and signaled it was off the bar and out. Nailers had just killed the penalty as the shot was taken.
The Nailers then would push the play into the offensive zone as Cody Wydo drove down the left side and then behind the net and passed it to Troy Josephs who would drive a one-time shot past Tomkins to put the hosts back in front. Dylan Zink got the secondary assist on Josephs’ second of the year at 6:29 of the third period.
The third period saw the Fuel fire 13 shots on goal to just 4 for Wheeling. Adam Morrison stood tall and turned Indy away. Indy was unsuccessful on the powerplay in the third and 0-for-2 in the contest. Wheeling didn’t have a powerplay in the third and was 0-for-3 in the game.
Morrison stopped 35 of 37 improving his record to 2-5-0-0 while Tomkins stopped 30 of 33 to suffer the first loss of his pro career and his record is now 3-1-0-0. Morrison picked up the third star of the game. Josephs and Ryan Rupert were the first and second stars respectively.
Indy will return to action on Thursday night with a visit from the Quad City Mallards at Indiana Farmers Coliseum at 7:05 pm.
Wheeling will travel to Reading to take on the Royals Friday & Saturday nights. Game time from Santander Arena is 7:00 pm.