The Wheeling Nailers (28-16-0-2) scored a trio of goals in a 1:47 span to help pick up a 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones (19-18-6-2) in front of 4,861 at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday night. The victory was Wheeling's fifth in six trips to Cincinnati this season.
Dustin Sproat put the Cyclones up 1-0 just 3:54 into the opening period when he deked past Nailers goalie Peter Delmas (W, 28 saves, 7-0-0) and tucked in his 12th goal of the year. Unfortunately, though, the Nailers answered back on a power play when Mikael Bedard barely snuck one past Cincinnati netminder Chet Pickard (L, 11 saves, 6-10-2) to knot the score at one. With less than a minute left in the period, Sproat cashed in on his second of the night when he wristed a puck through Delmas' five-hole to give the Cyclones a 2-1 lead. It turned out to be short-lived; that's because just five seconds before the intermission, Casey Pierro-Zabotel stuffed home his 14th of the season to once again even the score heading into the break.
Early in the second period, Wheeling exploded for a trio of goals in just 1:47. The first came at the 6:30 mark when Kris Vernarsky stole a puck away from Ryan Del Monte and buried it through the legs of Pickard for a 3-2 Nailers lead. Then, Jason DeSantis and David Marshall each found the net to extend the Wheeling lead to 5-2. It was the shortest time frame in franchise history that the opponent had scored three goals. Luckily, Mathieu Aubin was able to stop the bleeding when he scored on a penalty shot after getting hauled down from behind on a breakaway. With Aubin's tally, the Cyclones pulled within a pair of goals through 40 minutes.
Nearly eight minutes into the third period, the Nailers regained their three-goal cushion when Kelly Miller sent another shot from inside the right circle past Marc Cheverie (ND, 8 saves, 13-8-3-2), who came in to relieve Pickard midway through the second period. With a 6-3 lead, the Nailers simply tightened up the defense and kept Cincinnati off the scoreboard, holding on to win by the same score.