WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers were in control of Wednesday night's game from start to finish, as they earned their sixth straight home win, crushing the Kalamazoo Wings, 6-2 at WesBanco Arena. Reid Gardiner scored a pair of goals, including his team-leading seventh game winner of the year, Nick Sorkin and Jeff Taylor both had three-point games, and Adam Morrison earned his sixth straight win with 21 saves for the victorious Nailers.
The first period featured loads of scoring, as the Nailers took a 3-2 lead before the first buzzer sounded. The first goal of the night came from Cody Wydo, who blasted in a one-timer in the left circle, which was set up by Nick Sorkin. 3:13 later, Wheeling upped its advantage. Sorkin led the way on a 2-on-1 break, before dishing a pass to Reid Gardiner on his right, who buried a shot into the wide open side of the cage. Kalamazoo got on the scoreboard with 5:32 left in the stanza, when Jimmy Mullin lifted in a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle. 1:27 after that, Gardiner collected his second goal of the period, roofing a centering pass from Jeff Taylor. Tyler Biggs poked a loose puck through from the slot in the closing minutes for the Wings, making the margin one.
The offense slowed down a bit in the middle frame, but the Nailers were able to extend their lead with 2.2 seconds remaining. Nick Sorkin leaped in the air to glove down a clearing attempt, immediately turning to an offensive rush. Sorkin attempted to shuffle a pass through the slot, but the puck deflected off of a Wings defender, and proceeded to slide into the net.
Wheeling put the game away with two more goals in the third period. At the 2:59 mark, Jeremy Beirnes sped down the left side, ringing a shot off the iron and into the twine. Then, with 5:36 left, Riley Bourbonnais tipped in Danny Fick's shot on the left side of the crease for the 6-2 final score.
Adam Morrison backstopped his sixth straight win in goal for the Nailers, making 21 saves on 23 shots. Joel Martin was the losing goaltender for Kalamazoo, as he gave up six goals on 41 shots.
The Wheeling Nailers will play the second tilt of their seven-game homestand on Friday night, which is a Frosty Friday, at 7:05 against the Reading Royals. Then, Saturday night is Princesses & Pirates Night, when the Nailers face the Manchester Monarchs at 7:05. Kids can meet their favorite princesses and pirates, and dress up to take part in the on-ice parade during the first intermission. On Sunday at 3:05, Wheeling and Manchester meet again for Faith & Family Day. February 2nd is the next big promotional game, which is 90's Night, Starring Alfonso Ribeiro. The Nailers will also wear special jerseys for their contest against the Indy Fuel. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.