WHEELING, WV- Saturday night's game at WesBanco Arena was a treat for fans of the Wheeling Nailers, as the Kalamazoo Wings left town with a serious beating. Josh Shalla had the most impressive night of all Wheeling players, as he notched a five-point game, including a hat trick, as the Nailers dominated the Wings, 8-1. Derek Army chipped in with two goals, Kevin Schulze netted his first professional goal, and Garrett Meurs and Kenton Miller also lit the lamp in the winning effort, which was backstopped by Doug Carr's 22 saves.
The first period was filled with lots of action, as the two teams combined for three goals, 19 shots, and six minor penalties. Special teams turned out to be the early key, as all three markers occurred that way. The Nailers got on the scoreboard first, thanks to a power play strike. Kevin Schulze and Josh Shalla moved the puck quickly around the zone, with the final pass going to Derek Army, whose shot from the left face-off dot slid through Nick Riopel's legs. Kalamazoo battled back to tie the tilt 3:20 later, also converting on the man advantage. Charlie Vasaturo picked the top-right corner of the cage from the top of the left circle. A shorthanded tally put Wheeling back on top with 6:25 remaining. Michael Webster tipped a puck free on the left side of the ice, springing Kenton Miller through the neutral zone. When Miller reached the left circle, he let a wrister go, beating Riopel through the legs.
The Nailers controlled the play in the second period, outshooting the Wings, 19-5, while putting two more pucks into the back of the net. Both of the goals came on the power play, starting at the 5:57 mark. Josh Shalla got the puck at the top of the right circle, and drove a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Then, with 2:32 left in the stanza, Garrett Meurs joined the parade of goals, taking a Brett Stern pass, and clobbering it home from the top of the left circle.
In the third period, Wheeling continued to keep the gas pedal firmly pushed to the ground, and drove forward with four more goals. The first came from Shalla, who took a pass from Army, waited the goaltender down, then flipped a shot into the upper portion of the net. With 6:53 remaining, Shalla completed his hat trick, taking the rebound of his initial attempt, and slipping it into the right side of the cage. 2:32 after that, Shalla recorded his second assist and fifth point of the contest, helping to set up Army, whose shot from high in the slot squeezed through Riopel's legs. One minute later, Kevin Schulze put the icing on the cake of the 8-1 thumping with his first career goal, a one-time drive into the right corner, which was teed up by Cody Wydo.
Doug Carr picked up his second straight win for Wheeling, making 22 saves on 23 shots. Nick Riopel got slammed in his first loss of the year for Kalamazoo, giving up all eight goals on 34 shots.
The Nailers will play two home games next weekend, starting with Friday night at 7:05 against the Toledo Walleye. That will be a Flat Screen Friday presented by The Highlands, in addition to a Frosty Friday. Sunday, November 6th is a 5:05 game against Kalamazoo, with McDonald's $6 Kids Tickets and a Post Game Skate With the Team. To purchase tickets or get more information on season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and more, call the Nailers at (304) 234-GOAL.