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Hilbrich's Hat Trick Heaves Wheeling to Victory

Wednesday, January 18th
Hilbrich's Hat Trick Heaves Wheeling to Victory

KALAMAZOO, MI- Road games have been a bit of a challenge for the 2016-17 Wheeling Nailers, but on Sunday afternoon, Wheeling took care of business at Wings Event Center. Christian Hilbrich had the biggest game of all, as he picked up three points in the first period alone, en route to his first career hat trick, as the Nailers exacted revenge on the Kalamazoo Wings, 5-2.

The first period was a tremendous one for the Nailers, who dominated all areas of the play, flying out to a 3-0 lead. The first goal came off of an offensive zone face-off win, as Gage Quinney spun the puck back to Christian Hilbrich, who found the target at the 3:11 mark. Hilbrich had himself a period to remember, as he proceeded to set up goal number two, rushing and protecting the puck on the right side. That opened space for Michael Webster, who grabbed a pass, marched into the right circle, and buried a wrist shot into the far side. Less than two minutes later, number nine was at it again. Quinney's right circle shot banged off of the back glass, but the rebound bounced out to Hilbrich, who potted his second strike of the stanza.

Wheeling kept driving forward in the second period, adding to its advantage. At the 8:17 mark, Nick Sorkin fired in a wrist shot from the outer edge of the right circle, which was deflected home by Jordan Kwas on the power play. Kalamazoo netted its first marker of the night with 6:48 remaining, when Lane Scheidl flicked a power play shot in from the bottom of the right circle. With three minutes to go in the frame, the Nailers went back on top by four. Tyler Currier snapped the puck toward the cage from the right side, where it was redirected in by Hilbrich for his third tally of the afternoon.

One goal was scored in the third period, as Kyle Bushee faked to his forehand, then lifted in a shorthanded backhander at the 53-second mark. The final score went the way of the Nailers, 5-2.

Sean Maguire was the victorious goaltender for Wheeling, as he denied 28 of the 30 shots he faced. Joel Martin was the losing netminder for Kalamazoo, as he gave up five goals on 37 shots.

The Nailers will play two more road games after the All-Star Break, as they will travel to Norfolk on Friday at 7:30, followed by Reading on Saturday at 7:00. Wheeling will then return home for three straight contests. First, January 25th is a WesBanco Winning Wednesday at 7:05 against Toledo. Then, it's a Flat Screen Friday and a Frosty Friday on January 27th at 7:35 against Quad City. Finally, the highlight promotion of the week is Pittsburgh Penguins Night Starring Pascal Dupuis on January 28th at 7:05 against Brampton. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.

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