WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers earned at least one point for the seventh consecutive home game on Friday night, as they clashed with the Reading Royals at WesBanco Arena. Reid Gardiner scored the lone goal of regulation for the Nailers, who ended up falling 2-1 in overtime, as Michael Huntebrinker snapped the deadlock 28 seconds into the extra session. John Muse and Adam Morrison combined to make 63 saves on 66 shots in a tremendous goaltending battle.
The Royals netted the lone goal of the first period, as they found the back of the net just 1:20 into the contest. Nolan Zajac sprayed the puck along the left wall and back to Adam Schmidt, who stretched out to keep the play alive at the blueline. Schmidt proceeded to let a wrist shot go, finding the twine along the ice.
With 6:58 left in the middle frame, the Nailers evened things up. Jeff Taylor sent the puck to the front of the cage, where Cody Wydo crashed in, looking to knock in the loose puck. The play ended up finding its way out to the right circle, where a shot was whipped in by Reid Gardiner for his team-leading 24th goal of the campaign.
Both teams played excellent games defensively, and that was highlighted in the third period, as neither side was able to score on 24 total shots, sending the contest into overtime.
The extra session lasted for only 28 seconds. James de Haas led a rush for Reading along with Matt Willows, who waited for Michael Huntebrinker to join them. Huntebrinker took a drop pass in the slot, and threaded the needle for the winning tally and a 2-1 decision in favor of the Royals.
John Muse earned the victory in goal for Reading, blocking away 36 of the 37 shots he faced. Adam Morrison suffered the overtime defeat for Wheeling, making 27 saves on 29 shots.
The Nailers will continue their longest homestand of the season on Saturday night at 7:05, when they play the first of back-to-back games against the Manchester Monarchs. Saturday is Princesses & Pirates Night, when kids can meet their favorite princesses and pirates, plus, if they dress up, take part in an on-ice parade during intermission. Sunday's contest starts at 3:05, and is Faith & Family Day. The next big promotional game is 90's Night, Starring Alfonso Ribeiro, on February 2nd. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.