WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers made a statement on Tuesday night, as the division-leading Manchester Monarchs visited WesBanco Arena. The Nailers erased three separate one-goal deficits, before Jordan Kwas snapped a 3-3 tie with 13:48 left in the third period, lifting his team to a 4-3 victory. Sean Maguire earned his first career win between the pipes, turning aside 23 of the 26 shots he faced.
The first period was filled with goals, as both teams connected for two. Manchester was the first squad to break through, doing so at the 9:44 mark. Alexx Privitera led Gasper Kopitar ahead on the left side of the offensive zone, where he skated to the circle, and roofed a shot into the top-left corner of the cage. Wheeling answered 1:10 later to tie the game. Adam Krause floated a pass ahead for Christian Hilbrich, who escaped behind the defense. Hilbrich skated in alone, and pounded a shot through Sam Brittain's legs. The Monarchs went back on top at 15:08, when Rick Pinkston stepped up from the blueline and squeezed in a shot from the outer edge of the left circle. But, with less than a minute to go, the Nailers drew even once again. Garrett Meurs chased down a loose puck in the right corner, before dropping off a pass to Nick Sorkin. Sorkin crossed through the slot, flinging a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the net.
Goals were also exchanged in the second period, as the Nailers fell behind, but came back to tie things up. Manchester's strike came on the power play at the 6:04 mark. Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman had the puck land on his tape at the top of the left circle, where he drove a slap shot into the top-right corner of the goal. Wheeling's response came 3:35 later. Danny Fick gathered in the puck along the wall at the right point, where he tossed a shot, which ultimately found its way into the net.
Prior to the third period, the Nailers didn't have a lead in the game, but as it turned out, all they needed was one. At the 6:12 mark, Kevin Schulze found Jordan Kwas entering in on the left side of the offensive zone. Kwas sped down the left side and took a shot, which he threaded through Brittain's legs. Wheeling's defense shut the door from there, as Kwas' third game winning goal of the season was the difference in the club's 4-3 win.
Sean Maguire took home his first professional win in goal for the Nailers, making 23 saves on 26 shots. Sam Brittain took the loss for Manchester, giving up four goals on 28 shots.
The Nailers will play one more game before the holidays, when they host the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7:05. McDonald's presents $6 kids tickets, fans can wear an ugly Christmas sweater to the game to receive an $11 ticket, and Santa will be at the game. After the short break, Wheeling will return to home ice on New Year's Eve for a 6:05 game against the Elmira Jackals, presented by Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino, Racetrack. $10 tickets will be available on Throwback Night, when the Nailers wear Thunderbirds jerseys. Bam Bam Sticks will be given away, and there will be a Wine Tasting Event as well. Holiday packs are still available, and may be purchased through the Nailers office only. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, packages, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.