WHEELING, WV– The Nailers started the night with the best powerplay in the league. However, it was the Royals powerplay that would prove to be the deciding factor as Reading downed the Nailers 4-3 Friday night. With the Nailers leading 3-2 Reading would get two powerplay goals to put the game away. The evening started quickly as the teams traded goals just 10 seconds apart to open the scoring.
Just over 2 minutes in, Nick Sorkin made an ill-advised pass up the middle of the zone. The pass was tape to tape to Reading’s Matt Willows who teed it up and fired it past Adam Morrison glove side, and the hosts took a 1-0 lead. The goal was unassisted at 2:27.
Dylan Zink intercepted the puck at his blue line and flipped it high to Hunter Fejes who then one-handed it past John Muse‘sglove side and again pulled the game even. Zink got the only assist on the goal at 2:37.
The Nailers continued with good pressure after an unsuccessful power play. Sorkin, along the left side boards, passed to Cody Wydo in the slot, who fired a one-timer that beats Muse five-hole and the Nailers would take the lead. Reid Gardiner would also assist on Wydo’s 11th goal of the season at 11:59 of the first.
The first period would end 2-1 with the hosts in front. Shots in the opening frame were 10-9 in favor of Wheeling. Wheeling was 0-2 on the man advantage, and Reading carried 1:17 of its first powerplay time to the second period.
The Royals had early pressure and got the game tied at the 3:51 mark of the second act; Alex Krushelnyski beat Morrison high glove side off the junction and in the twine. Willows and Nick Luukko got the assists.
Following a bit of pressure from Reading, pushing and shoving followed the play with all ten players gathered at the top of the left faceoff circle in the Royals offensive zone earned Ryan Penny, Nolan Zajac for Reading along with Fejes and Garrett Meurs two each for unsportsmanlike conduct at 5:03.
Already on the power play, the Nailers’ Derek Army fires it towards the goal, and it beats Muse on his high glove side as referee Mike Hamilton had his right hand in the air indicating that Reading was guilty of another penalty. Wydo and Freddie Tiffels got the help as the power play (4-on-3) goal at 12:51 of the second put the hosts ahead 3-2.
Wheeling finished the period with one goal on two powerplay chances while Reading was 0-1 on the carryover powerplay being their only chance on the advantage. 10-7 shots for Wheeling in the frame and 20-16 in the game.
On the power play in the third Steven Swavely fired a shot toward Morrison and as it slid through him, the biscuit had just enough to get across the line and pull the visitors even at 3. Penny and Mark Narclerio with assists at 3:51
At 6:48, Gardiner got called for a hook giving Reading its third power play of the game. Krushelnyski took a shot from the left circle, and Michael Huntebrinker redirected it in front of Morrison at 8:11 and Reading got its second lead of the evening. Luukko would also get an assist.
Reading finished the night 2-for-3 on the man advantage while the Nailers were 1-for-4. Muse (31 saves on 34 shots) was victorious improving his record to 6-3-1-0 while Morrison (24-28) fell to 0-2-0-0 for Wheeling. Huntebrinker was named the number one star while Krushelnyski earned the second star. Cody Wydo picked up the number three star of the game selection for Wheeling.
Both teams next game is a Saturday rematch at Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling. It is Star Wars Night, and the Nailers will be wearing Darth Vader-themed jerseys.
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