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Wings Defeat Nailers, 5-4

KALAMAZOO — The Wheeling Nailers were attempting to have a game of comebacks on Friday night, as they battled the Kalamazoo Wings at Wings Event Center. Wheeling erased three separate deficits, but were unable to overcome two Kalamazoo goals which were sandwiched around the second intermission, as the Wings prevailed 5-4 on their home ice.

The first period was an explosive one offensively, as both teams lit the lamp twice, while posting double digits in shots. Kalamazoo struck first, when Luke Sandler intercepted a pass in the low slot, before roofing a backhander. The Nailers answered 1:17 later. Blake Siebenaler teed up a slap shot from the right point that was tipped home by Justin Almeida. The Wings briefly regained the lead on Ian Edmondson’s stuff shot in front of the net, but Wheeling responded in a matter of 1:39, as Cam Brown smacked in a centering feed from Alec Butcher on a play that was started at the blueline by Aaron Titcomb.

The offenses were a bit quiet in the early stages of the middle frame, but that changed in the closing minutes. Justin Kovacs slammed in Kyle Blaney’s pass from behind the net to give Kalamazoo its third lead at the 10:31 mark. Wheeling drew even on the man advantage, as Renars Krastenbergs tipped in Brandon Hawkins’ wrist shot from the center point. However, with 6.6 seconds left in the stanza, the Wings got a lucky bounce, as Eric Kattelus had his shot blocked by a Nailers defender, as it rolled into the right side of the cage.

The biggest goal of the night came in the opening minute of the third period. Kalamazoo’s Matheson Iacopelli blazed down the right side, then cut to the net to deposit a breakaway strike. The Nailers closed the gap to one with Nick Minerva’s extra attacker goal in the closing minutes, but were unable to come up with an equalizer, as they fell, 5-4.

The Nailers will wrap up their pre-All-Star Break schedule on tonight, when they visit the Indy Fuel at 6:05.

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