Nailers Drop Both Games of Home and Home to Reading
READING, Pa. – For the second night in a row, the Wheeling Nailers and Reading Royals took the ice in a contest where defense stole the show.
Reading netted a pair of power-play goals in the second period, and held off a late surge by the Nailers, to pick up a 2-1 victory at Santander Arena.
Neither team was able to score in the first period, despite a 13-5 advantage in shots on goal for the Royals, as netminders Mike Condon and Riley Gill quickly put themselves into the spotlight.
Reading finally opened the scoring at the 7:39 mark of the second period while playing on the man advantage. Stanislav Galiev swung the puck into the slot from the left circle, where it deflected off of teammate Domenic Monardo and into the back of the net. The goal was Monardo’s third in as many games against Wheeling this season. Four minutes later, the Royals extended the lead with another power-play goal, as Sean Wiles tipped in Ryan Kavanagh’s try from the blueline.
Momentum began to change directions after the goal, as Patrick McGrath took on Bryant Molle for the fourth fight in two days between the two teams. Five minutes after the scrap, the Nailers got their first goal of the game, as Colin Mulvey stole the puck in the offensive zone before snapping a shot glove side on Gill for his first goal in the ECHL.
Wheeling nearly tied it in the third period, after receiving three power plays in the final 10 minutes, but none of its 11 shots could find the twine.
Gill made 20 saves on 21 shots in the victory for the Royals, edging out Condon, who stopped 27 of 29 shots for Wheeling. The Nailers goaltending combination of Condon and Eric Hartzell ended up allowing just two goals during regulation and overtime in all four of their games this week.
Wheeling will play three straight games against the Elmira Jackals, beginning at 7 on Thursday night at home.