WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers had the lead at the end of two periods against the Reading Royals on Friday night at WesBanco Arena. Unfortunately, Reading staged a comeback in the third period, erasing a 3-2 deficit for a 4-3 win. Michael Huntebrinker snapped the 3-3 tie with 11:49 left in the final frame. Hunter Fejes, Cody Wydo, and Derek Army were the goal scorers for the Nailers.
The Royals took the first lead of the night, but it only lasted for ten seconds, and ultimately, Wheeling was ahead when the opening stanza came to an end. The Reading tally went to Matt Willows, who intercepted a pass, and buried a shot from the left side of the slot. The Nailers bounced right back, as Dylan Zink floated a pass to a rushing Hunter Fejes, who one-handed the puck into the right side of the net. Later in the frame, Wheeling took the lead. Nick Sorkin slid a pass into the left circle for Cody Wydo, who powered a one-timer in along the ice for his 15th goal against the Royals.
The margin remained one after the second period, as the two sides exchanged goals. Reading temporarily tied the contest at the 3:51 mark, when Alex Krushelnyski sped onto a pass, then moved the puck to his backhand, roofing a shot up and under the crossbar. However, the Nailers went back on top with 7:09 to go. Wheeling had a 4-on-3 power play, with a delayed penalty upcoming. Derek Army took the opportunity to smoke a slap shot home from the left face-off dot.
In the third period, the Royals came back with two power play goals to erase their deficit and pull out a win. The tying goal came at 3:51 of the third period. Steven Swavely dragged the puck from the goal line to the left side, and proceeded to squeeze a shot through Adam Morrison's legs. Less than five minutes later, Reading netted the winner. Krushelnyski snapped a pass from the left wing wall to Michael Huntebrinker on the right side of the crease, and Huntebrinker tipped the puck into the right side of the cage. Despite 14 shots on goal in the third period, Wheeling was unable to find an equalizer, falling 4-3.
John Muse got the win for the Royals, stopping 31 of the 34 shots he faced. Adam Morrison suffered the loss for the Nailers, making 24 saves on 28 shots.
The Nailers will continue their three-game home weekend on Saturday night, when they host Reading again at 7:05. The promotion is Star Wars Night, which features special jerseys, a chance to meet characters, and the first 2,500 fans will receive a light saber. Plus, one lucky fan will shoot to win a car, thanks to Thomas Auto. Then, on Sunday, Fort Wayne visits for a 3:05 tilt. There will be a post game skate with the team (even-numbered players), and fans can bring their dogs to the game as part of Pups & Pucks. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.