READING, PA- The Wheeling Nailers have had lots of success in third periods during the 2016-17 season, but on Wednesday night, the game turned in the other direction. Cody Wydo's two goals gave Wheeling a 2-1 lead after forty minutes, before a three-goal rally from the Reading Royals gave them a 4-2 victory on home ice at Santander Arena.
Both teams found the back of the net in the first team, with one tally coming early, and the other one late. The early strike went the way of the Royals, who were handed an early power play. Michael Pelech fed Olivier Labelle, who took a wrist shot from the right side of the slot, putting his attempt into the bottom-left part of the net. Wheeling tied the contest with 2:26 left in the stanza. Milos Bubela picked off the puck along the right wing wall, and immediately shoveled a pass to the slot, where it was tipped home by Cody Wydo.
The Nailers scored the lone goal of the second period to take the lead. Wydo tipped the puck away from Mike Pereira in his own slot, and proceeded to race in the opposite direction. As he reached the top of the right circle, Wydo searched for a passing option, but elected to shoot it himself, beating Mark Dekanich for the unassisted marker.
Unfortunately, the third period didn't go how Wheeling had envisioned it. Reading pulled even at the 5:29 mark of the third period. Pereira beat out an icing race, and his teammates worked the puck to Nick Luukko, who labeled a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the cage. Luukko was also involved on what turned out to be the winning goal. His wrist shot from the right point was deflected in by Ian Watters at 9:42. With 7:23 to go, the Royals got a key insurance goal, when Ryan Penny led Matt Wilkins in on a partial break, which he converted, by slipping in a shot on the left side, ultimately putting the wraps on a 4-2 final score.
Mark Dekanich got the win for Reading, making 29 saves on 31 shots. JP Anderson suffered his first regulation loss of the year for Wheeling, as his night featured 27 stops on 31 shots.
The Nailers will return home for games against the Utah Grizzlies on Friday and Saturday, with 7:35 and 7:05 start times respectively. The first game is a Flat Screen Friday, presented by The Highlands, as well as a Frosty Friday. Then, Saturday is the first celebrity appearance of the season, as Clint Hurdle visits WesBanco Arena as part of Pittsburgh Pirates Night, which will also feature the Pirate Parrot and the Bucco Brigade. Fans can purchase Black & Gold Ticket Packages through the Nailers office only, which include tickets to all three Pittsburgh sports promotional nights and VIP line access. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, packages, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.