WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers had an excellent start to Friday night's game against the Brampton Beast, scoring twice in the first seven minutes. However, the remaining 53 minutes didn't go their way. Brampton scored six of the final goals, taking a 6-3 win out of WesBanco Arena. Wheeling got two goals from Jordan Kwas, and a three-point night and Gordie Howe Hat Trick from Garrett Meurs.
The first period featured plenty of scoring, as the Nailers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, before Brampton battled back to even things up. Wheeling's first marker came on the power play. Kevin Schulze dished a pass to Garrett Meurs along the left wing wall. Meurs then directed a pass into the slot, where Jordan Kwas put his stick on the ice, and flicked a shot into the right side of the net. 2:34 later, Kwas potted his second of the contest, tipping in Meurs' wrist shot from just inside of the blueline. The Beast began to come back with a 4-on-4 goal at the 12:13 mark of the stanza. David Vallorani blazed into the zone, then cut to his right. An opening was presented for a pass to Tim Billingsley, who hammered in a slap shot. With 5.1 seconds to go in the period, Brampton pulled even. Brandon MacLean fed David Pacan for a one-timer, which he banged in from the right side of the slot
The Beast continued their offensive run in the second period, lighting the lamp three times. First up was Vallorani, who took a cross-slot pass from Brandon MacLean, and proceeded to roof a shot from the left circle into the top-right corner of the cage. At the 9:52 mark, Brampton scored off of the ensuing face-off of an icing call. Willie Corrin's wrist shot was stopped, but the rebound was trickled in by Pacan. With 2:35 remaining, Vallorani won a race for a loose puck on the left side, before dropping a pass to Mike Folkes, who blasted a shot into the right side of the net.
The margin briefly got trimmed down to two at the 6:01 mark of the third period. Schulze breezed his way around the offensive zone, then slipped the puck to the top of the crease, where it was punched into the net by Meurs. The goal for Meurs completed a Gordie Howe Hat Trick - the first by a Nailer in 2016-17. Brandon Marino put the finishing touches on the 6-3 Beast win with an empty netter.
Andrew D'Agostini got the victory in goal for Brampton, making 22 saves on 25 shots. Sean Maguire had a personal nine-game home point streak come to an end, as he suffered the loss, surrendering five goals on 33 shots.
The Nailers will conclude their homestand on Saturday, when they take on the Kalamazoo Wings at 7:05. It's A Valley Divided - Steelers vs. Browns Night, and fans are encouraged to wear their favorite football team's colors to the game. Additionally, Merril Hoge and Earnest Byner will be a part of the fun. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, mini plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.