CINCINNATI, OH- The Wheeling Nailers and Cincinnati Cyclones closed out their preseason schedules on Friday night at US Bank Arena, and while the final score read better than it did on Thursday, the Nailers were unable to get the result they desired. Johan Sorkin put the visitors on the scoreboard with 8:29 left in the third period, but that was the only celebration of the evening, as Wheeling dropped a 3-1 decision to the Cyclones.
The first period was evenly played between the two teams, as both sides fired seven shots on net. One of them found the back of the twine, and for the second night in a row, the opening goal went the way of the Cyclones. Brett Mackie handed the puck to Taylor Fielding, who made his way into the left side of the slot. There, he took a wrist shot, roofing it into the top-right corner of the cage. The tally came at the five-minute mark of the frame.
Cincinnati added to its lead in the middle stanza, lighting the lamp once while playing shorthanded, then again on the power play. The shorthanded tally came at the 10:02 mark, when Joe Manno picked up a loose puck in center ice and rushed into the zone with teammate Rob De Fulviis. Manno kept the puck to himself, sniping a shot into the left side of the goal. With under two minutes remaining, Manno helped to set up the power play marker, as he whipped a shot on goal from the left circle. His attempt was stopped, but the rebound was batted in by Greg Betzold with his backhand.
At the 11:31 mark of the third period, the Nailers closed to within two. MJ Graham hustled down the right side of the ice, grabbing the puck, which he centered to Johan Sorkin in the slot. Sorkin separated himself from the defense, and buried a shot past Steve Racine for a shorthanded tally. Unfortunately, Wheeling was unable to get any closer, as the Cyclones held on for the 3-1 win.
Steve Racine got the win in goal for Cincinnati, making 16 saves on 17 shots. Spencer Bacon started for Wheeling, and turned away 12 of the 13 shots he faced, before giving way to Michael Doan, who was saddled with the loss, despite denying 11 of 13 opportunities.
The Nailers will open the 25th season of professional hockey in Wheeling on October 15th, when they play host to the Brampton Beast at 7:05. The Eastern Conference Championship Banner will get raised to the rafters, and alumni such as Doug Sauter will be on hand for the celebration. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, group tickets, and mini plans, call (304) 234-GOAL.