KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers clawed back multiple times in their game on Sunday afternoon against the Kalamazoo Wings, but in the end, they fell one comeback short of earning a point. Scott Henegar broke a 4-4 tie with 4:06 left in regulation, lifting Kalamazoo to the 5-4 victory at Wings Event Center. Gage Quinney was one of four Wheeling players to score, as he led the way with three points.
The Nailers had a tough start to the contest, as they fell behind the Wings by two during the opening stanza. The first goal came as the result of an odd-man rush. Peter Schneider sped ahead on the right side, before slipping a pass through the slot to wide open teammate Lane Scheidl, who dunked a shot into the left side of the net. With under two seconds remaining, Kalamazoo upped its advantage with a shorthanded goal. Justin Taylor cranked a slap shot on goal from the left side, which pounded out to Tyler Biggs, who tapped in the rebound.
The second period was a better one, as Wheeling was able to light the lamp twice, pulling within one. The first strike came at the 1:20 mark. Garrett Meurs gloved down an attempt on the right side of the offensive zone, before slipping a pass into the slot, where it was powered home by Tyler Currier. The Wings temporarily regained their two-goal edge shortly after a power play had expired, with 6:23 remaining. Justin Taylor dished a pass out from behind the net to Blake Kessel, who found just enough daylight to slide in the tally. The Nailers were able to respond relatively quickly, doing so just 1:09 later. Quinney took the puck in the trapezoid, wrapping it around the right post, and jamming it through Nick Riopel's legs.
Scoring increased even more in the third period. Kalamazoo netted a goal in the opening minute, as Lane Scheidl roofed a wrist shot at the 43-second mark to go ahead by two. But the Nailers weren't about to go away easily, as they rallied back to square the score at four. Quinney stole a puck in the left corner, before dishing a pass through the slot to Andrew Ammon for a one-timer from the right side, trimming the margin to one. 1:59 after that, the game was tied. Currier's shot from the blueline was denied, but the rebound was swept in by Garrett Meurs. Unfortunately, Wheeling was unable to take a point out of the contest, and with 4:06 left, the Wings got the winning goal. Biggs won a face-off to Scott Henegar, who rang a shot into the top-right corner of the cage for the 5-4 final score.
Nick Riopel got the win for Kalamazoo, making 32 saves on 36 shots. Doug Carr took the loss for Wheeling, coming up with 23 stops on the 28 shots he faced.
The Nailers will play two more road games on Thursday in Cincinnati and Friday in Kalamazoo, before returning home on Saturday night. That will be Princesses & Pirates Night, as kids are invited to dress up like their favorite princess or pirate, while meeting characters from popular movies and television shows. Wheeling has another fun promotional night in February, as it's a Valley Divided on February 18th - Steelers vs. Browns Night, starring Merril Hoge and Earnest Byner. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.