WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers closed the 2017 calendar year by running into another hot opposing goaltender. The Indy Fuel got 43 saves from Etienne Marcoux, and Anthony Cortese snapped a 1-1 tie with a power play goal in the final minutes, of what was eventually a 3-2 triumph by the Fuel at WesBanco Arena.
The Nailers played a solid first period, and they were rewarded for their efforts with the game's opening tally. Reid Gardiner won a battle for the puck behind the net on a Wheeling man advantage, setting up Cody Wydo, who batted at the puck on the right side of the crease. Ultimately, Troy Josephs got the final swat on the loose biscuit, collecting a goal for the second night in a row.
Indy pulled even at the 1:06 mark of the second period. Traffic setup in front of the Wheeling net, and Riley Sweeney took advantage, tossing in a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. The Nailers pounded 20 shots on goal, but the score remained deadlocked going into the intermission.
The game stayed tied until the 16:08 mark of the third period, when the Fuel took their first lead of the night, while playing on the man advantage. Anthony Cortese let a shot go from the middle of the blueline, finding the top-right corner of the twine. Sweeney slid a wrist shot from his own end into an empty net for what turned out to be the winning goal, as Cody Wydo brought the Nailers within one, tapping in the rebound of Hunter Fejes' initial attempt in a 3-2 final score for Indy.
Etienne Marcoux turned in a strong performance between the pipes, earning the win for the Fuel with 43 saves on 45 shots. Colin Stevens was saddled with the defeat, despite turning away 27 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Nailers will be home twice next weekend to start 2018. First up is a Frosty Friday against the Manchester Monarchs on January 5th at 7:05. Then, January 7th is a Family Funday at 3:05 against the Fort Wayne Komets, featuring a post game skate with the team (odd-numbered players). The next big promotional game is Bricks & Kids Night on January 13th, when 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, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.