Sunshine State Trip Earns Nailers Two Points

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Wheeling Nailers went to Orlando – and came away with two points. Unfortunately for the club, the two points came in separate games. Michael Neal scored in the fourth round of a shootout for the Solar Bears, as they edged past the Nailers, 2-1, at Amway Center on Monday afternoon.

After a scoreless first period, the Nailers finally broke the deadlock at the midway mark of the second. Wheeling kept the puck in the offensive zone for a significant period of time before Chris Higgins wound up for a slap shot from the right circle. Higgins’ chance got blocked, but the puck rebounded out to Chris Barton, who was able to slide his 10th goal of the season into the back of the net.

The Nailers carried their 1-0 lead into the second intermission, while leading 18-12 in shots on goal, which included an 8-1 margin in the first.

With 5:32 remaining in regulation, the Solar Bears pulled even. Edward Levens took a shot from high in the slot that was blocked by Peter Delmas. However, the puck came free, where it was dribbled into the net by Ryan Cruthers, as Orlando forced overtime for the second straight game.

Neither team could score in the extra session, ultimately sending the contest to a shootout. Only one goal was scored during the shootout, as Neal picked the top corner in the fourth round for the Solar Bears, who completed the three-game sweep of Wheeling with a 2-1 shootout win.

John Curry earned the victory for Orlando, stopping 27 of the 28 shots he faced during the game, before a perfect 5-for-5 effort in the shootout. Delmas took the loss, despite making 21 saves on 22 shots for Wheeling.

The Nailers return home on Friday night, where they will battle the Bakersfield Condors at 7.

Group and single game tickets can be purchased by calling 304-234-4625 or 1-877-NAIL-TIX. All Nailers games will be broadcast on Wheeling’s rock station EAGLE 107 (107.5 FM). Fans can also listen to and watch all Nailers games on