Nailers Fall In Series Opener
WORCESTER, Mass. — The Wheeling Nailers will look ahead to tonight, when they will attempt to post a .500 record on their six-game road trip, facing the Worcester Railers for the second game in a row. Friday night’s game went Worcester’s way, as the home squad started with three goals in the first period, then tacked on two more along the way, while Mitch Gillam turned in a 30-save shutout in a 5-0 final score at DCU Center.
The first period was a difficult one for the Nailers, as Worcester stormed out to a 3-0 advantage. The first goal came at the 1:24 mark, when Nick Saracino floated a pass low on the left side to Chris Langkow, who set up Barry Almeida for the tally on his way down the right side of the slot. Less than five minutes later, Langkow potted a shorthanded marker, fighting off a Wheeling defender, then stretching a forehand shot around Matt O’Connor’s left leg pad. With 8:35 to go, Langkow stole the puck out of the right corner, before feeding Almeida, who was denied. However, Saracino swatted the rebound out of the air and into the net.
One goal was scored in the middle period, as the Railers extended their lead. A shot from the blueline was tipped, but O’Connor stopped that, in addition to a rebound chance. However, the third attempt turned on the red light, as TJ Syner stepped in and converted from the right side. Ryan MacKinnon’s shot from the left wall was the final tally of the night, giving Worcester the 5-0 win.
Gillam was perfect on 30 shots, earning the shutout victory for the Railers. O’Connor made 30 saves on 35 shots in his debut for Wheeling.
Wheeling and Worcester will meet again Wednesday, this time at WesBanco Arena for Education Day Game #2 at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday. The Nailers will also host the Reading Royals for two games next Friday and Saturday.