INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers had things going their way in the last five games, but on Friday night, a couple of breaks went against them, and the game turned sour against the Indy Fuel. Christian Hilbrich recorded the lone marker of the night for Wheeling, who closed within two in the late stages of the second period. However, the Fuel got the upper hand, following with three tallies in the third period, picking up a 6-1 victory at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
The first period was played evenly, as the Nailers outshot the Fuel, 10-9, while both teams received one power play. The difference on the scoreboard came in the form of an Indy goal off of a face-off at the 7:44 mark. Patrick D'Amico won the left circle draw off the wall to Chris Williams at the left point. Williams stepped in with a low wrist shot, putting it through traffic and into the net.
Indy added to its lead very quickly in the middle frame. Drew Schiestel slid a pass across the offensive blueline, leading Anthony Beauregard in on the right side. Beauregard made his way to the circle, roofing a shot just underneath the crossbar. The Fuel turned on the red light for a third time at the 15:18 mark of the second period. Marek Tvrdon set up Patrick D'Amico, who had his shot stopped, but Evan Mosey followed up the attempt, sweeping the rebound through Doug Carr's legs. Wheeling got on the scoreboard with a power play tally in the closing minutes of the stanza. Michael Webster took a shot from the right wing wall, which was stopped. However, the rebound came out to Christian Hilbrich, who potted his first professional marker.
The Nailers thought they cut their deficit to one with a power play goal in the early stages of the third period, but incidental contact with the goaltender wiped the score off of the board. Indy benefitted from that scenario, and proceeded to turn the game completely in its favor. Marek Tvrdon buried a pass off of a transition rush from Patrick D'Amico at the 11:03 mark, then lit the lamp again 3:11 later, when Alex Wideman hit him with a pass after twirling behind the net. Alex Wideman capped the scoring in the 6-1 final by lifting a shot into the top-right corner from the left circle.
Reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Week Jake Hildebrand got the win for Indy, making 29 saves on 30 shots. Doug Carr took the loss for Wheeling, surrendering six goals on 30 shots.
The Nailers will continue their road trip with a pair of games against the Quad City Mallards on Saturday at 8:00 and Sunday at 5:00. Wheeling's next home game takes place on November 26th at 7:05 against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a Spike Eastern Conference Champions Bobblehead, courtesy of WesBanco. Additionally, 98.7 Country WOVK presents the annual Teddy Bear Toss, there will be Craft Beer Tasting, and XTO Blades for Grades. The first celebrity appearance of the season takes place the following week on December 3rd, when Clint Hurdle comes to town for Pittsburgh Pirates Night. To purchase tickets, or to receive information on season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.