WHEELING, WV- A sellout crowd of 5,182 had lots to cheer about on Tuesday morning, as the Wheeling Nailers played host to the Brampton Beast on Education Day at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling stormed out to a 4-0 lead, then proceeded to hold on for a 6-5 victory, in a game which saw 11 different players turn on the red light. Kevin Schulze dished out four assists, giving him seven points in the last two games, as the Nailers earned their fifth consecutive win and seventh in the last eight tilts.
The Nailers came out of the gates flying, as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening period. The first goal came on one of seven combined power plays in the first stanza. With loads of traffic in front of the net, Garrett Meurs picked up a loose puck, and shoveled a backhand shot up and over goaltender Bryan Pitton. Wheeling's second strike came at the 11:23 mark. Kevin Schulze sent Cody Wydo and Nick Sorkin into the zone on a 2-on-1 break. Wydo slid a pass over to Sorkin, who drilled in a one-timer from the right side of the slot. With 1:20 left, the third puck found the back of the net. Christian Hilbrich dropped a pass off to Wydo in the right circle, where he squeezed a shot through Pitton. Schulze also picked up an assist for his second straight multi-point game.
The second period was incredibly wild, as the two North Division clubs combined to score six times. The Nailers got the job done first, upping their lead to four. Ryan Segalla let a shot fly from the blueline, connecting for his first professional goal. The next two tallies went to Brampton. David Pacan buried a shot on a breakaway, and 15 seconds after that, Tim Billingsley pounded in the rebound of his initial shot on the left side. Wheeling bounced back in a matter of less than three minutes to temporarily rebuild its four-goal cushion. Sorkin sent Josh Shalla on a breakaway, which he slipped under Pitton at 9:16. 40 seconds after that, Jordan Kwas joined the scoring party, dragging a backhander around the goaltender's right leg pad. That marker ended the night for Pitton, who gave way to Zachary Fucale. The Beast cut the deficit to 6-3 with 2:22 left in the stanza, when Luc-Olivier Blain tipped in Brandon Marino's slapper from the right point.
Anxious moments made their way onto the scene in the third period, as Brampton continued to draw closer. At the 4:50 mark, Blain set up Mathieu Gagnon, who carved in a backhand shot from the right side of the crease. With 11:07 remaining, Brandon MacLean made it a one-goal margin, when he fired in a centering pass from Billingsley. One is as close as the Nailers let their visitors come to the equalizer, as they held on for the 6-5 victory. Wheeling is 6-0 in its last six Education Day games on home ice.
Doug Carr was the winning goaltender for Wheeling, as he made 30 saves on 35 shots. Bryan Pitton got lit up in the loss for Brampton, giving up six goals on 12 shots. Zachary Fucale calmed things down in relief for the Beast, stopping all 11 shots he faced.
The Nailers will embark on a three-game road trip, starting in Indy on Friday night at 8:05. Wheeling's next home game takes place on November 26th at 7:05 against Greenville. The first 2,500 fans will receive a Spike Eastern Conference Champions Bobblehead, courtesy of WesBanco Arena. Additionally, 98.7 Country WOVK presents the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Craft Beer Tasting and XTO Blades for Grades are also part of the promotions. The first celebrity appearance will be one week later, when Clint Hurdle joins the Nailers for Pittsburgh Pirates Night on December 3rd. To purchase tickets, or for information about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.