MANCHESTER, NH- The Wheeling Nailers had the Manchester Monarchs on their heels during Friday night's game at SNHU Arena, but came up just short on the scoreboard. Wheeling got goals from Cam Brown and Reid Gardiner as part of a 40-shot performance. However, Michael Doherty snapped a 2-2 tie with 6:20 left, giving the Monarchs a 3-2 victory.
The lone goal of the first period went to the Monarchs, who broke the scoreless deadlock with 2:07 remaining in the stanza. Matt Schmalz bumped the puck off of the right wing wall, leading Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman ahead on a 2-on-1 break. LaVallee-Smotherman kept the puck to himself in the right circle, whipping in a wrist shot along the ice.
Manchester added to its lead in the middle frame, before the Nailers rallied back to tie things up before the intermission. Zac Lynch scored on the power play for the Monarchs at the 8:51 mark, roofing a wrist shot from the right circle. Less than four minutes later, Wheeling got on the scoreboard. Freddie Tiffels centered a pass to Troy Josephs, who had his shot stopped, but Cam Brown pounced on the rebound, punching in a goal for the sixth straight game. With under one minute to go, the Nailers got the equalizer, thanks to more hard work around the cage. Nick Sorkin had his one-timer denied, but Reid Gardiner was there to put back his 17th goal of the campaign on his 22nd birthday.
The game came down to the third period, and with 6:20 left on the clock, the Monarchs netted the winning strike. Justin Agosta floated the puck in over the offensive blueline, sending Michael Doherty in behind the defense. Doherty faked from forehand to backhand, shoveling a shot up and under the crossbar for the 3-2 final score.
Branden Komm earned the win in goal for Manchester, denying 38 of the 40 shots he faced. Will King made 22 saves on 25 shots in the defeat for the Nailers.
The Nailers will continue their road swing through New England with road games against the Worcester Railers on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 7:05 and 3:05 respectively. Wheeling will then return to WesBanco Arena for a seven-game homestand, starting on January 24th with a WesBanco Winning Wednesday against the Kalamazoo Wings. Highlight games during the homestand include Princesses & Pirates Night on January 27th, Faith & Family Night on January 28th, and 90's Night on February 2nd, starring Alfonso Ribeiro. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.