WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers are the true definition of the early birds that catch the worms. Wheeling earned its third win in a morning game this season, and improved to 8-0-1 in its last nine morning contests, scoring three times in the third period, to knock off the Worcester Railers, 5-2 at WesBanco Arena. Freddie Tiffels lit the lamp twice, and Adam Morrison made 33 saves, as the Nailers increased their lead over Worcester to eight points, while pulling within one point of Reading, who they see over the weekend.
The Nailers took a couple of leads during the first period, as they entered the intermission with a 2-1 advantage. The first tally came just 1:16 in, when Freddie Tiffels drove to the net from the right side, pushing the puck in over the line. Worcester tied the score on the man advantage at the 8:47 mark, when Nick Saracino tipped in Matt Gaudreau's initial attempt. With 3:37 remaining, Wheeling went back on top. Cody Wydo fed Ross McMullan, who drove in a one-timer from the right side of the slot, while the teams were playing 4-on-4.
One goal was scored in the middle frame, and it went to the Railers, who pulled even on the power play. Barry Almeida wound the puck around to the right point, where Ryan MacKinnon fired a slap shot toward the cage. Chris Langkow got a piece of the attempt, getting credit for the equalizer.
The teams put forth an excellent battle, which remained deadlocked until 6:06 remained, when the Nailers went ahead for good. Riley Bourbonnais teed up Garrett Meurs for a one-timer, which he chipped over Mitch Gillam's right shoulder. Cody Wydo was awarded a goal at the 18:41 mark, when he was interfered with by Matthew Gaudreau while Worcester's goaltender was pulled. Ten seconds after that, Tiffels added one more insurance strike, squeezing in a shot from the left side for a 5-2 final score.
Adam Morrison became the first Wheeling netminder to win a game in the ECHL's Golden Goalie jersey, as he stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced. Mitch Gillam took the loss for the Railers, giving up four goals on 24 shots.
The Nailers will continue their homestand with a two-game set against the Reading Royals on Friday and Saturday, with both games starting at 7:05. Friday will be Ladies Night, featuring a pregame wine tasting event. Saturday is Pittsburgh Penguins Night, in which fans can see the Stanley Cup, the first 2,500 fans will receive a Carter Rowney Bobblehead, and the Nailers will wear special jerseys. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.