KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers and Kalamazoo Wings are quickly reestablishing their rivalry as Central Division opponents, and Tuesday night had plenty of goals, in addition to loads of emotion at Wings Event Center. Renars Krastenbergs and Winston Day Chief both scored twice for the Nailers, but Wheeling was unable to overcome a difficult start, falling 6-4.
The offenses came out on full display in the first period, as the Wings ran out to a 3-0 lead, before the Nailers answered with a pair to trim their deficit to one. Matt Joyaux opened the scoring for Kalamazoo at the 1:39 mark, depositing a centering pass from Colin Jacobs. Chad McDonald's pass banked in off a Wheeling stick for the second Wings goal, before Chris Collins waltzed his way into the slot for the third tally. The Nailers got both of their goals from Renars Krastenbergs, who finished off a three-way passing play with Cam Brown and Zac Lynch for the first one, then slammed in a centering pass from Brown for his second.
The scoring slowed down drastically in the middle frame, with the lone strike going to Kalamazoo. Kyle Thomas sauced in a shot from high in the zone that got tipped into the cage by Justin Taylor.
Wheeling closed the gap to one at the 6:54 mark, when Winston Day Chief redirected Alex Rauter's shot from the inner edge of the right circle. Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to pull any closer, as Taylor stashed in his second of the game from the right circle and Aleksandr Mikulovich tossed in an empty netter, before Day Chief's second of the night punctuated the scoring in a 6-4 Wings win.
Ivan Kulbakov turned in a huge performance in goal for Kalamazoo, stopping 48 of the 52 shots he faced. Matt O'Connor made eight saves on 11 shots in the first period, getting a no-decision for Wheeling. Danny Tirone ended up with the defeat, despite turning away 14 of the 16 shots he faced.
The Nailers will return home for two games this weekend. Friday night at 7:05 is a Frosty Friday with $2 beers, as Wheeling hosts the Indy Fuel. Saturday is Nailers Fight Cancer Night against Kalamazoo at 7:05, with all proceeds going to the Mario Lemieux Foundation. The next big promotional game is NailerMania on December 15th, starring WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley. Teddy Bear Toss and Ugly Sweater Night will also be part of that fun-filled night. Family Four Packs are available for NailerMania, thanks to WTRF - for $60, fans get four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald's Meal Vouchers. 2018 Holiday Packages are now available as well. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley. For information on season tickets, group tickets, flex plans, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.