WHEELING, WV- Defense, goaltending, and special teams were on display for the Wheeling Nailers on Thursday night, as they played host to the Cincinnati Cyclones at WesBanco Arena. Derek Army broke a 1-1 tie at the 3:56 mark of the second period, and Sean Maguire's 16 saves made the score stand up, as the Nailers earned their third win in their last four games, edging Cincinnati, 2-1. Wheeling posted a perfect 3-for-3 mark on the penalty kill.
Both teams lit the lamp once in the first period. Wheeling was the first team to strike, doing so with a power play marker at the 9:07 mark. Michael Webster steered the puck to Christian Hilbrich in the slot. Hilbrich quickly moved it in toward the goal, where Adam Krause pounded away at the top of the crease, jamming his eighth of the season into the back of the net. With 2:42 remaining in the stanza, a scramble in front of the net led to an equalizer by Cincinnati. Eric Knodel drove in a slap shot from the left point, which was pushed in over the goal line by Nick Huard.
In the early stages of the second period, the Nailers regained their lead. Nick Sorkin carried the puck out of the right corner, before finding Tyler Currier at the right face-off dot. Currier held onto the puck and thought about a shot, drawing the goaltender down, while opening up a passing lane. He ended up putting a feed right onto Derek Army's tape. Army connected on a redirection to put his side ahead.
Wheeling had its best defensive performance of the season, limiting the Cyclones to just 17 shots on goal. That allowed the Nailers to preserve their 2-1 victory.
Sean Maguire backstopped his second straight win for the Nailers, making 16 saves on 17 shots, including a big denial in the final minute on Shane Walsh's left circle attempt. Mark Visentin played well, but suffered the loss for Cincinnati, turning away 31 of the 33 shots.
The Nailers will travel to Toledo after the holiday break to face the Walleye on Tuesday at 7:15. 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.