WHEELING, WV – In what has become a trend for the Wheeling Nailers, the team that is outshot wins the game, continued Sunday inside Wesbanco Arena. The Nailers are now 5-11-2-0 when outshooting their opponents, compared to 11-2-0-0 when taking less shots than the opposition. The shots aren’t always easy stops for the opposing goalies just no “puck luck” as shot after shot gets turned away. Some shots that do get past the goalie clang off the iron and away from the net. Sunday’s game saw at least three such opportunities for Wheeling
On their second power play of the contest, Wheeling was applying great pressure. Cody Wydo fired a shot that was saved by Etienne Marcoux, but the rebound popped out to the left side of the crease. Troy Josephs was waiting on the doorstep and put the rebound in past Marcoux. Reid Gardiner had started the play at the blue line and earned an assist on the play.
The Nailers would finish the period 1-for-2 on the man advantage, Indy 0-for-1 with 49 seconds of carryover power play time. Wheeling took 11 shots and Marcoux made the other 10 saves as the Nailers had some excellent shorthanded chances. Colin Stevens saw nine shots and turned all of those aside.
Indy would be unsuccessful on the power play but was able to tie the game 17 seconds after the penalty expired. A Riley Sweeney shot confuses Stevens as he was sliding to his glove side and the puck beat him to the stick side. Michael Neal and Stephen Collins notched the assists at 1:06 of the second period.
Neither team able to succeed on the power play in the second. Shots were 20-12 in the period for Wheeling. The team from the Friendly City had some excellent chances late including one that Garrett Meurs rang off the junction with one minute to play in the period.
On a power play in the second half of the third period, Anthony Cortese fired a shot from the point that beat Stevens on the glove side. Ryan Rupert and Alex Wideman pitched in the assists at 16:08.
The Nailers pulled Stevens for the extra attacker with 90 seconds to go. Sweeney fired one from deep in his own zone and on target as he scored on what eventually became the game-winner at 19:07. Sweeney’s second of the game and season sent many of the fans in attendance to the exits.
With 28 seconds to go, Wydo pulled the hosts to within one. With the extra attacker on Hunter Fejes fired one that Marcoux knocked down but before he was able to cover up, Wydo pushed it in. However, a final rush was unsuccessful to find the equalizer and the Nailers fell 3-2.
Marcoux made 43 saves on 45 shots in earning the victory and number one star of the game. Stevens saw 28 shots turning aside 26. The game-winner was scored on the empty net, with Stevens being the goalie of record in taking the loss. Wheeling and Indy finished the game 1-for-4 on the man advantage. Wydo and Sweeney picked up the second and third stars.
Indy will return to action on Friday as the Fort Wayne Komets invade Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. Game time set for 7:35
Wheeling next contest is Wednesday night as they travel to Norfolk, VA for a date with the Admirals. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 from the Norfolk Scope.