MANCHESTER, NH- The Wheeling Nailers checked off a couple of historical milestones on Wednesday night, while collecting a clutch divisional victory against the Manchester Monarchs at SNHU Arena. Six different players lit the lamp for Wheeling, including Marcus Basara, whose first with the team was the game winner, as the Nailers were triumphant, 6-3. The win was the team's first in Manchester, and it also lifted the Nailers over 2,000 standings points in team history.
The first period was an electric one, as the two teams combined for five goals, with the Nailers taking a 3-2 lead into the intermission. The first goal came right away, just 56 seconds into the contest. Derek Army won a face-off back to Danny Fick, who stepped into a wrist shot, which he ripped into the top-right corner. Manchester's Kevin Morris tied the score with a deflection of Rob Hamilton's point shot, but 32 seconds after that, Wheeling regained the advantage. Freddie Tiffels stole the puck from goaltender Charles Williams, then tapped it into the open side of the net for his third goal in two games. Keegan Iverson knotted things up for the Monarchs 1:51 later, but the Nailers went back on top with 4:44 remaining. Cody Wydo fed Nick Sorkin for a one-timer, which was tipped home by Troy Josephs.
Manchester briefly drew even at the 15:28 mark of the second period, when Francois Beauchemin fired in a drop pass from Morris in the high slot. Wheeling's fourth tally came 2:06 after that, off of a terrific cycle play by Riley Bourbonnais and Chris Francis. Bourbonnais ultimately took the puck out of the corner, setting up Marcus Basara, who hammered in a one-timer from the right face-off dot.
The Nailers put the finishing touches on their victory with two goals in the third period. Basara created the first insurance strike, as he whipped a pass across the ice to Ross McMullan, who stepped up and sniped in a shot from the top of the right circle. With 7:36 to go, Ayrton Valente faked a slap shot, drawing in the defense, which allowed him to dish a pass over to Cody Wydo, who tapped a shot into the wide open side of the twine. Valente's assist was his first career point in his professional debut, and it put the wraps on a 6-3 final score for Wheeling.
Colin Stevens was the winning goaltender for the Nailers, as he made 24 saves on 27 shots to best his former club. Charles Williams took the loss for Manchester, giving up six goals on 30 shots.
The Nailers will finish off their six-game road trip on Friday and Saturday, when they visit the Worcester Railers for a pair of identical 7:05 starts. Wheeling will then come home to WesBanco Arena for Education Day Game #2 against the Railers on March 7th at 10:45 a.m. That will be followed by Ladies Night on March 9th at 7:05 against the Reading Royals, and another match with Reading on March 10th, which is Pittsburgh Penguins Night. Fans can see the Stanley Cup, the first 2,500 fans will receive a Carter Rowney Bobblehead, and the Nailers will wear special jerseys for Pittsburgh Penguins Night. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.