WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers battled back a couple of times in their game against the Toledo Walleye on Sunday afternoon at WesBanco Arena. However, a third deficit proved to be too much for the home team, as the Walleye clinched the season series with a 6-3 triumph. Kevin Schulze recorded a goal and an assist, becoming the first rookie defenseman in Wheeling history to reach the 50-point mark.
The first goal of the game came extremely quickly, as the Walleye lit the lamp just 28 seconds into the opening stanza. Alden Hirschfeld steered a pass ahead to Zach Nastasiuk on the left side of center ice. Nastasiuk cruised in to the left circle, where he sniped a rocket of a shot into the top-right corner of the cage.
The second period also featured an early goal from the visitors, who extended their lead. Tylor and Tyson Spink exchanged passes, with Tylor feeding Tyson, before getting it back, and shoveling a shot in from the bottom of the right circle. The Nailers battled their way back, and temporarily pulled even. The first strike came on the power play, when Jordan Kwas filtered a pass through the slot for Tyler Currier, who buried a one-timer into the left side of the twine. With 2:24 to go, the tying goal came from Kevin Schulze, who roofed a shot from the left circle, after Gage Quinney whirled around the back of the net. In the final 30 seconds of play, Toledo regained the lead. Alden Hirschfeld flicked a pass ahead for Shane Berschbach, who got behind the defense, then deked to the backhand, enabling him to slip in the breakaway tally.
In the first minute of the third period, Wheeling tied the score again. Christian Hilbrich forced his way down the middle of the offensive zone, before setting up Gage Quinney, who drove a shot off of Jeff Lerg and into the net. Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to get a lead, and the Walleye went back on top less than four minutes later. Beau Schmitz pounded a shot off of the post, but the rebound sat in the crease for Jordan Hill, who crashed in, and managed to record the marker before the net flew off of its pegs. Nastasiuk added his second goal of the contest with 4:16 to go, while Toledo was playing shorthanded, then Alden Hirschfeld put the finishing touches on a 6-3 Walleye win with an empty netter.
Jeff Lerg got the win in his lone start of the season series for Toledo, making 30 saves on 33 shots. Sean Maguire took the loss for Wheeling, giving up five goals on 23 shots.
The Nailers will begin an enormous four-game road trip on Wednesday night, when they visit the Elmira Jackals at 7:05. Wheeling will be home for three games on March 22nd, 24th, and 25th. all against the Idaho Steelheads. The 22nd is a WesBanco Winning Wednesday, the 24th is a Flat Screen Friday and Frosty Friday, and the 25th is Nailers Fight Cancer Night. Special jerseys will be worn, with proceeds going to the Team Ryan Charitable Foundation, there will be a team trading card set giveaway, and a post game autograph session with the entire squad, plus it will be Ladies Night. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.