WHEELING, WV – The Wheeling Nailers took a powerful first step in their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series on Friday night against the Reading Royals at WesBanco Arena. Cody Wydo opened the scoring at the 16:34 mark of the first period, then added another goal in the third period, as the Nailers were victorious, 4-1, limiting Reading to 19 shots on goal.
It took a few minutes for the Nailers to settle into their new series, as the Royals came out with a powerful start, outshooting the home team, 8-2. At that point, Wheeling began to turn things into its favor, peppering the next nine shots on net, including the opening tally. Jarrett Burton chased down a loose puck in the left corner, then twisted his way up the wall, where he fed a pass to John McCarron on the left side of the crease. McCarron slipped a pass through the slot to Cody Wydo, who lifted a shot into the right side of the cage.
The home team got a friendly bounce in the early stages of the middle frame to add it its lead. Burton won a face-off to Mathew Maione, who banked in a shot off of the right wall from in front of the penalty box. Reading closed the gap to one at the 9:16 mark of the period with a power play goal. Mike Marcou‘s try from the right circle got blocked, but the rebound kicked out to Jesper Pettersson, who punched a shot in through a screen.
In the early stages of the third period, the Nailers added some insurance, regaining their two-goal edge, before tacking on one more in the last ten minutes. On the third tally, Shane Bakker bumped a pass into the slot for Jordan Kwas, who spun completely around, and swept a shot into the bottom-right corner of the net. The final marker of the evening came off of a turnover. John McCarron intercepted a clearing attempt, and drove his way to the front of the goal. Martin Ouellette made the save, but Wydo jammed in the rebound for his second of the night and a 4-1 score.
Brian Foster made eight early saves, and ended the night with 18 on 19 attempts, earning his fourth straight win for Wheeling. Martin Ouellette took the loss for Reading, despite making 30 stops on 34 shots.
The Nailers and Royals will play game two of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series on Monday at 7:05.
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