WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers continued their strong play on home ice in the month of January, earning a big divisional win on Wednesday night. The Nailers scored twice during the opening five minutes of play, and maintained a lead for the remainder of the night, taking down the Adirondack Thunder, 6-3 at WesBanco Arena. Reid Gardiner returned from the AHL with a two-goal game, and was joined in the goal column by Riley Bourbonnais, Garrett Meurs, Ross McMullan, and Cam Brown.
The Nailers came flying out of the gates, scoring twice during the first five minutes of action. The first goal came at the 1:09 mark, when Wheeling capitalized on a turnover. Riley Bourbonnais rushed the puck down the left side of the ice, and into the circle, where he roofed a shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Less than three minutes later, the home team upped its advantage. Zach Tolkinen snapped a pass ahead to Garrett Meurs, who wound his way through the slot, sailing a shot into the left side of the net. Adirondack got on the scoreboard with 1:55 to go, utilizing a power play. Andrew Radjenovic found Tim Harrison, who walked into the right circle and deposited the marker.
The lead was extended by one during the middle frame. Michael Turner spun the puck up the boards to Dan Milan, who tossed a wrist shot in from the left point. Ross McMullan got a piece of Milan's attempt, collecting his second goal in as many games.
The Nailers put the game away in the third period, scoring three times to Adirondack's two. The eventual game winner came from Reid Gardiner, who tried to make a pass, but ended up getting the puck back, and stashing it home. Brian Ward banked a feed in off of a Wheeling defender 42 seconds later, but at the 11:32 mark, Cam Brown's shorthanded goal reestablished a three-goal difference. Brown took a pass from Troy Josephs, sped behind the defense, and deked to the backhand in order to slid in the tally. Ty Loney whacked in a rebound for the third Thunder goal of the evening, before Gardiner applied one final dagger with a one-time rocket from the right circle, set up by Nick Sorkin, as Wheeling was victorious, 6-3.
Adam Morrison earned his third straight win in goal for the Nailers, turning aside 37 of the 40 shots he faced. Drew Fielding saw his six-game winning streak end for Adirondack, as he gave up six goals on 28 shots.
The Nailers have two more home games coming up this weekend, as they host the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and Saturday, with both contests starting at 7:05. Friday night is a Frosty Friday, while Saturday is Bricks & Kids Night. The first 2,500 fans at Saturday's game will receive an OYO Sports Figurine. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.