FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers put forth a strong effort to erase a two-goal deficit in the third period of Friday night's game against the Fort Wayne Komets. However, former Nailer Bobby Shea snapped a 2-2 deadlock with 4:37 remaining, as the Komets went on to the 5-2 victory at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Cam Brown and Reid Gardiner were the goal scorers for Wheeling.
Despite a 14-9 shots on goal advantage for the Nailers, it was Fort Wayne who scored both goals in the opening stanza. The first marker came at the 5:12 mark, when Dennis Kravchenko busted down the left side of the ice, before slowing down in the circle. Kravchenko looked to pass, but instead was able to thread a shot through Will King's legs. A little more than five minutes later, the Komets struck again. Gabriel Desjardins cycled a pass back to Ryan Culkin, who stepped up into the high slot, and wired a wrist shot into the left side of the cage.
After a scoreless second period, Wheeling battled back to square the contest with two tallies in a span of 2:18 during the third. The first goal was created by a wraparound from Hunter Fejes, in which the rebound was lifted over the fallen netminder by Cam Brown. The second strike came off of the rush, as Cody Wydo carried the puck into the right circle, then dished a pass over to Reid Gardiner, who buried a shot from the left circle. Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to come away with a point, as Fort Wayne regained the lead 1:52 later. Desjardins led his squad down the left side of the ice, then proceeded to drop a pass to the trailing Bobby Shea, who picked his spot, ripping in the game winning goal. Shawn Szydlowski added an insurance goal on a 2-on-1 break with a wrister from the left circle, and Mason Baptista tacked on an empty netter for the 5-2 final score.
Michael Houser backstopped the win for the Komets, making 28 saves on 30 shots. Will King suffered the defeat for Wheeling, turning away 25 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Nailers will close out the calendar year with two games at home. First is Youth Hockey Night on Saturday at 7:05, when Wheeling hosts the Toledo Walleye. Then, on Sunday, all tickets are $10 for New Year's Eve, as the Nailers pack the house for their 6:05 game against the Indy Fuel. The next big promotional game is Bricks and Kids Night on January 13th, in which the first 2,500 fans receive an OYO Sports Figurine. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, holiday packs, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.