WHEELING, WV- The 2016 calendar year finished exactly how it started in Wheeling, West Virginia. The Nailers took the ice wearing Thunderbirds jerseys, and their offense exploded in throwback fashion, as they lit the lamp five times in a 5-2 victory over the Elmira Jackals in front of 3,511 fans at WesBanco Arena. Andrew Miller started the scoring with his first pro goal for Wheeling, Kevin Schulze dented the twine twice from the blueline, and Gage Quinney dished out three assists. All of that scoring came in support of Sean Maguire, who turned in a 34-save performance for his third straight win at home, as the Nailers closed out the month with a 6-1-0 record in front of their home fans.
One goal was scored in the first period, and it went the way of the Jackals, who converted on the power play. Ian Young banked a pass to Sebastien Sylvestre, who collected the puck off of the right wing wall. Sylvestre made his way to the right face-off dot, then proceeded to lift a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net. Greg Amlong picked up the other helper on the game's opening tally.
In the middle frame, the Thunderbirds turned to goaltender Sean Maguire, who was busy making 21 saves, including a robbery of Sylvestre. To show their appreciation, the home team gave their netminder support with four goals. The first strike came at the 2:50 mark. Michael Webster sifted a shot through from the line, which was tipped to the right by Gage Quinney. Andrew Miller had the redirection land on his tape, as he slammed in his first professional goal. Goal number two occurred at 8:41. Ryan Segalla came out from behind the goal, teeing up Jordan Kwas for a one-timer, which was clobbered through Jason Kasdorf. Maguire's save on Sylvestre followed, which led to the next two markers. With 8:47 to go, Brett Stern drove a shot on net, which was stopped by Kasdorf, but an enormous rebound went to Kevin Schulze, who capitalized. Schulze scored again 24 seconds later, leaving an Elmira player in the dust with an oustanding spin move, before flicking a shot into the top-left corner. Sylvestre's second of the night closed the gap to two with 3:40 remaining in the period, but Wheeling maintained its 4-2 advantage into the break.
The Thunderbirds tacked on one more goal in the third period to salt away the 5-2 victory with 6:03 remaining. Brett Stern fired a shot wide of the net, but the rebound came tumbling back into the slot, where it was deposited into the cage by Derek Army. Quinney had the secondary assist, giving him three points in the game.
Sean Maguire earned a big win in goal for Wheeling, blocking away 34 of the 36 shots he faced. Jason Kasdorf took the loss, giving up four goals on 16 shots, before being replaced by Andy Iles, who made 11 saves on 12 shots in relief.
The Nailers will continue their homestand on Friday night, when they play host to the Toledo Walleye at 7:35. That will be a Flat Screen Friday presented by The Highlands, as well as a Frosty Friday. The next big promotional night takes place on January 14th, when Wheeling will take the ice in Jedi uniforms on Star Wars Night. Then, on January 28th, Pascal Dupuis will be at WesBanco Arena as part of Pittsburgh Penguins Night. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.