KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers and Kalamazoo Wings put forth an explosion of shots in their first meeting of the season on Friday night at Wings Event Center. However, goaltenders Doug Carr and Joel Martin were at the tops of their games, limiting the two squads to two goals each. A shootout was needed to decide the contest, and the Nailers got the upper hand for the first time in 2016-17, as Ross McMullan buried the deciding goal in the sixth round for a 3-2 final score.
The first period was filled with opportunities, as the two teams combined for 29 shots on goal, and also managed to ring four pucks off of the posts. However, the score stayed deadlocked at zero until the 13:13 mark of the middle frame, when the Nailers ultimately broke through. Cody Wydo slid the puck around the back of the net to Gage Quinney on the right side. Quinney put the puck into the crease, where it was deflected into the net by Kalamazoo's Guillaume Rioux-Legault. The tally was the first of Quinney's professional career. 4:12 after that, the Wings knotted the score with a power play strike, ending an 0-for-27 slump. Eric Kattelus made his way to the right side of the slot, then used teammate Brian Hart's screen to whip a wrist shot into the bottom-left part of the cage.
Early in the third period, the visitors went ahead again. Josh Shalla jammed a pass in front of the net to Nick Sorkin, whose first shot was stopped, but his second one found its way in for his first tally in a Wheeling uniform. Wydo also assisted on the marker, giving him a pair of helpers in his home state of Michigan. With 7:58 left, the Wings battled back to even the score, netting their second power play goal of the night. Michael Trebish's floater from the right point was denied, but Kattelus scooped the rebound up underneath the crossbar for the equalizer.
Despite a plethora of shots, the remainder of regulation and overtime couldn't decide a winner, sending the tilt to a shootout. The two sides exchanged goals in the second round, with Justin Taylor converting for Kalamazoo and Josh Shalla lighting the lamp for Wheeling. Rounds three, four, and five were scoreless, but in the sixth round, the Nailers had the final say. Kattelus lost the handle on his attempt, but Ross McMullan had no problem with his, drilling a shot into the left side of the net, lifting the team to the 3-2 victory.
Doug Carr was magnificent in goal for Wheeling, blocking 45 of the 47 shots he faced in the game, before a 5-for-6 effort in the shootout. Joel Martin was also good for Kalamazoo, coming up with 43 saves on 45 shots.
The Nailers will return to home ice on Saturday night, where they will face the K-Wings at 8:05. The evening's promotion is Kids Halloween, featuring Trick-or-Treat and a Costume Contest. The next celebrity appearance at WesBanco Arena is Pittsburgh Pirates Night, starring Clint Hurdle on December 3rd. To purchase tickets, or to receive information on season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and more, call the Nailers at (304) 234-GOAL.