Nailers Edged On New Year’s Eve
WHEELING — The Wheeling Nailers closed the 2017 calendar year by running into another hot opposing goaltender. The Indy Fuel got 43 saves from Etienne Marcoux, and Anthony Cortese snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal in the final minutes, of what was eventually a 3-2 triumph by the Fuel at WesBanco Arena.
The Nailers played a solid first period, and they were rewarded for their efforts with the game’s opening tally. Reid Gardiner won a battle for the puck behind the net on a Wheeling man advantage, setting up Cody Wydo, who batted at the puck on the right side of the crease. Ultimately, Troy Josephs got the final swat on the loose biscuit, collecting a goal for the second night in a row.
Indy pulled even at the 1:06 mark of the second period. Traffic setup in front of the Wheeling net, and Riley Sweeney took advantage, tossing in a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. The Nailers pounded 20 shots on goal, but the score remained deadlocked going into the intermission.
The game stayed tied until the 16:08 mark of the third period, when the Fuel took their first lead of the night, while playing on the man advantage. Cortese let a shot go from the middle of the blueline, finding the top-right corner of the twine. Sweeney slid a wrist shot from his own end into an empty net for what turned out to be the winning goal, as Wydo brought the Nailers within one, tapping in the rebound of Hunter Fejes’ initial attempt in a 3-2 final score for Indy.
Marcoux turned in a strong performance between the pipes, earning the win for the Fuel with 43 saves on 45 shots. Colin Stevens was saddled with the defeat, despite turning away 27 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Nailers will be home twice this weekend to start 2018. First up is a Frosty Friday against the Manchester Monarchs. Sunday is a Family Funday at 3:05 p.m. against the Fort Wayne Komets, featuring a post game skate with the team (odd-numbered players).
Indy 0 1 2 — 3
Wheeling 1 0 1 — 2
1st Period-1, Wheeling, Josephs 5 (Wydo, Gardiner), 14:23 (PP). Penalties-Dziurzynski Ind (hooking), 9:41; Neal Ind (delay of game), 13:53; Gardiner Whl (interference), 15:41; Milan Whl (hooking), 18:49.
2nd Period-2, Indy, Sweeney 1 (Neal, Collins), 1:06. Penalties-Miskovic Ind (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:45; Miskovic Ind (slashing), 9:54; Wydo Whl (slashing), 9:54.
3rd Period-3, Indy, Cortese 2 (Rupert), 16:08 (PP). 4, Indy, Sweeney 2 19:07 (EN). 5, Wheeling, Wydo 14 (Fejes, Sorkin), 19:32. Penalties-Seckel Ind (high-sticking), 1:44; Beirnes Whl (tripping), 3:54; Josephs Whl (slashing), 14:47.
Shots on Goal-Indy 9-12-9-30. Wheeling 11-20-14-45.
Power Play Opportunities-Indy 1 / 4; Wheeling 1 / 4.
Goalies-Indy, Marcoux 7-5-0-1 (45 shots-43 saves). Wheeling, Stevens 2-1-1-0 (29 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Mike Zalcman (24).; Linesmen-Michael Fusani (41), Zach Roberts (84).