WHEELING, WV- Friday night's game at WesBanco Arena was all about the new kids on the block. Rookie defensemen Ayrton Valente and Kevin Spinozzi both netted their first professional goals, with Spinozzi's snapping a 3-3 deadlock at the 29-second mark of the third period, as the Wheeling Nailers lowered their magic number to 12 points with a 4-3 triumph over the Brampton Beast. Adam Morrison preserved the win with 19 saves in the third period alone.
The first period was filled with goals, as the Nailers fell behind early, before rallying back to square the score at the intermission. Brampton struck first on the power play at the 7:12 mark, when Brandon Marino tipped in Reggie Traccitto's slap shot from the middle of the blueline. The second Beast marker also came via a deflection, as Alex Foster got a piece of Willie Corrin's left point wrister. With less than two minutes remaining, Wheeling began its surge. After a couple of stops by Chris Driedger, the home team wasn't about to be denied a third time, as Reid Gardiner set up Cody Wydo on the right side of the crease. 1:38 later, Ayrton Valente scooped up a loose puck, and dangled his way down the left side, before squeezing in his first professional goal.
Wheeling carried its momentum into the middle frame, taking the lead with a power play tally. Kevin Spinozzi's deep drive got turned away, but Troy Josephs battled for the rebound, which he fed to Chris Francis, who roofed a shot from the left side. With 2:17 to go, Brampton drew even, when Jordan Henry drove in a slap shot from the right point.
In the opening minute of the third period, the Nailers went ahead for good. Spinozzi stole the puck in his own zone, then led Reid Gardiner for a rush down the left side of the ice. Gardiner's shot got stopped, but Spinozzi crashed in for the rebound, banging home his first professional goal, which turned out to be the game winner in a 4-3 Wheeling victory.
Adam Morrison made 37 saves to earn the win in goal for the Nailers, including a 19-for-19 effort in the third period. Chris Driedger took the loss for the Beast, stopping 38 of the 42 shots he faced.
The Nailers will be right back on home ice again on Saturday night, when they face the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7:05. Saturday is Charity Night, benefiting WVU Medicine Children's Hospital. The Nailers will wear special warmup jerseys, and there will be a Bobblehead Exchange, with all of the proceeds going to WVU Medicine Children's Hospital. The next big promotional game is Fan Appreciation Night on March 31st at 7:05 against the Manchester Monarchs. Fan Appreciation Night will feature a diamond ring giveaway for one lucky fan, a team trading card set for the first 2,500 fans, a full team post game autograph session, and various prizes throughout the game. There is also a Family Four Pack for Fan Appreciation Night, in which fans can get four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald's Meal Vouchers for $56. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.