WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers came less than one minute away from taking a point out of Friday's game against the Fort Wayne Komets at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling battled back from a 3-1 deficit with two goals, including the first ECHL tally by Bryan Arneson. However, with 32.6 seconds left in regulation, Marc-Olivier Roy snapped a 3-3 tie, lifting Fort Wayne into the win column with a 4-3 decision.
Both teams got on the scoreboard in the first period, starting with a strike by the Nailers. Ross McMullan grabbed the puck out of the right corner, centering a feed into the low slot, where Jaynen Rissling poked a shot through Michael Houser's legs. Fort Wayne's equalizer came in the final minute. Zac Larraza dribbled a backhand pass to the left side of the crease, where the puck was rolled into the cage by Trevor Cheek.
The Komets took their first lead of the night at the 3:16 mark of the middle frame. Gabriel Desjardins tapped a pass down to Justin MacDonald, who took the puck to his backhand, and proceeded to shovel it into the top corner of the cage. Later in the period, Cheek connected for his second marker of the contest, finishing off a 2-on-1 rush with Larraza, zipping home a wrist shot from the right circle. Wheeling trimmed its deficit to one with 4:35 left, when Ross McMullan redirected Danny Fick's shot from the right side.
The Nailers pulled even in the opening minute of the third period. Dan Milan sent a pass across the ice and off of the right wing boards. Fort Wayne defender Ryan Culkin fanned on the puck, allowing Bryan Arneson to step up and score in the right circle. The score stayed tied until the final minute of regulation, when the Komets escaped with the win. Bobby Shea's right circle shot was denied, but the rebound was scooped in by Marc-Olivier Roy for the 4-3 score.
Michael Houser picked up the win in goal for Fort Wayne, making 28 saves on 31 shots. Adam Morrison suffered the defeat for Wheeling, despite turning aside 34 of the 38 shots he faced.
The Nailers will have Saturday off, before starting a six-game road trip on Sunday afternoon in Reading at 4:00. Wheeling's next home game will be Education Day #2 on March 7th against the Worcester Railers at 10:45 a.m. That will be the first of three straight home tilts, followed by Ladies Night on March 9th and Pittsburgh Penguins Night on March 10th. The game originally scheduled for Saturday, February 17th has been postponed to Tuesday, March 27th. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.