Nailers’ Offense Cooking
CORALVILLE, IA — The Wheeling Nailers had their offense rolling on Friday night, as they set a season high with seven goals in a 7-4 victory over the Iowa Heartlanders at Xtream Arena. Will Reilly and Justin Almeida both contributed in a big way with two goals and an assist, as Reilly has six points in two games as a Nailer. Nick Hutchison extended his point streak to eight with a goal and an assist, Patrick Watling extended his point streak to six with a helper, and rookie Cam Hausinger had his best game with three assists.
The Nailers got things going quickly, as they pounced on a pair of power play opportunities to take a 2-0 lead. The first marker came at the 9:48 mark. Justin Almeida and Dylan MacPherson exchanged passes on the left side, before Almeida stepped up and roofed a wrist shot from the left circle. Later in the stanza, Wheeling struck again. Cam Hausinger drove down the left side of the ice, then dropped a pass off in the left circle, which was thrusted home by Will Reilly into the bottom-right corner of the cage.
The second period got off to a scary start for the Nailers, as Iowa scored twice in a span of 12 seconds to draw even. Both goals were scored by Alex Khovanov, who whipped in a pair of wrist shots from the right side of the slot. Wheeling recovered well, and retook control of the contest. At the 2:55 mark, the visitors connected on a beautiful three-way passing play, as Patrick Watling slid the puck to Almeida, who led Nick Hutchison with a perfect feed on the right side. Hutchison walked in and slammed a one-timer into the back of the net. Less than three minutes later, the Nailers got their two-goal lead back, as Tim Doherty whipped in a shot from the right circle.
Wheeling kept the pedal to the metal in the third period to put the game away. Reilly potted his second of the night at the 3:30 mark, when he cruised down the right side and lifted a shot just under the crossbar, which was called a goal, thanks to video review. Almeida followed with his second of the contest with another gorgeous wrist shot to the top shelf, as he and Reilly both posted three-point performances. Bryce Misley and Yuki Miura tallied in the final seven minutes for the Heartlanders, before Jared Cockrell put the final nail in the coffin for the 7-4 Nailers triumph.
Alex D’Orio picked up the win for Wheeling, as he made 13 saves on 17 shots. Trevin Kozlowski took the loss for Iowa, as he gave up six goals on 38 shots.
The Nailers and Heartlanders will meet again in Iowa on Saturday at 8:00. Wheeling will then play a pair of home games next weekend. First up is a Frosty Friday against the Cincinnati Cyclones on December 3rd at 7:10. Then, on Sunday, December 5th, there will be a post game skate with even-numbered players following the 4:10 tilt against the Indy Fuel. The next Big 6 Promotional Night is Elf Night on Saturday, December 11th. Season memberships, mini plans, and single game tickets are available, and fans can get more information by calling (304) 234-GOAL.