– The Wheeling Nailers (20-14-0-2) used a three goal first period and stingy defense to beat the Cincinnati Cyclones (15-14-5-2) by a 6-3 final score in front of 5,960 at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday night.
The Nailers stormed out to an early 3-0 lead with goals from Nick Petersen, Joey Haddad and Ben Street, all within the first seven minutes of the game. With that, Marc Cheverie's (L, 9 saves, 12-8-2-2) night was done as he got relieved by Chet Pickard (ND, 18 saves, 3-6-2-0). Luckily, Cincinnati was able to stop the bleeding at 18:22 when Brady Calla poked home his first goal as a Cyclone after a Dustin Sproat wrap-around try left a loose puck underneath Wheeling goalie Patrick Killeen (W, 25 saves, 15-7-0-1). With the late goal, it was 3-1 Nailers at the first intermission.
Wheeling regained their three-goal cushion at the 7:18 mark of the second period when Joey Haddad sent home his team-leading 17th tally of the season, making it 4-1. Cincinnati responded, though, with a goal of their own as Mathieu Aubin sent a laser past Killeen at 10:56 to pull within a pair once again. Yet, Wheeling's Trevor Hunt slid one past Pickard not even three minutes later to push his team out in front 5-3. Just like the first period, though, Cincinnati netted a late goal to pull within striking distance; Calla was camped out in the slot and blasted home his second of the night at 18:22, making it 5-3 Wheeling after 40 minutes.
Despite several great Cyclones scoring chances in the third period, Killeen and the Nailers defense kept Cincinnati off the scoreboard. Casey Pierro-Zabotel tallied an empty net goal with just 23 seconds left in the game to seal the 6-3 victory for Wheeling.