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Nailers Take Down Cyclones

CINCINNATI — The Wheeling Nailers got a big jolt on Friday night, as Nick Saracino and Yushiroh Hirano returned to the lineup. Both players had an impact at Heritage Bank Center, as they joined Cam Brown by scoring second period goals, leading the Nailers to a 5-3 triumph over the Cincinnati Cyclones.

The first period was an open one, as both teams found the back of the net twice. Wheeling struck in the first minute for the second straight contest. Graham Knott dribbled a pass through the slot to Renars Krastenbergs, who slid in a shot from the bottom of the left circle. The Cyclones drew even at the 12:16 mark, when Ben Johnson broke in on the left side, burying a shot against the grain on the right side of the cage. Special teams created the final two tallies in the stanza, as Alec Butcher pounded in a one-time feed from Brown for the Nailers goal, before Brady Vail’s wrist shot from the left circle made for a 2-2 deadlock.

Wheeling dominated the middle frame, as they scored three times. At the 2:04 mark, Blake Siebenaler steered a shot on goal that was stopped, but the rebound hopped out to Hirano, who smacked in a backhander. Saracino added to the lead in his return to the lineup, as he converted on a breakaway, finding the twine on the left side.

Then, with 2:31 to go, Spencer Trapp kept the puck in the zone and set up Brown, who ramped a redirection into the right side of the net.

Jesse Schultz scored the lone goal of the third period for the Cyclones, who were stymied on 16 other shots, as the Nailers preserved their 5-3 win.

Alex D’Orio backstopped the victory for Wheeling, blocking away 28 of the 31 shots he faced. Jamie Phillips allowed five goals on 29 shots in the loss for Cincinnati.

The Nailers will return home on Saturday for Protect & Serve Night, honoring First Responders, while they face the Fort Wayne Komets at 7:05.

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