WHEELING, WV- After three straight weeks on the road, the Wheeling Nailers began their home season in front of a terrific crowd of 4,800 fans. Despite a strong first period, the home team came up short in the contest, as a seven-year home-opening point streak came to an end. The Indy Fuel scored five times in the second period, and that was enough to give them a 5-3 victory. Troy Josephs scored twice for the Nailers, who also got a goal from Zac Lynch.
The big crowd had a lot to cheer about in the first period, as the Nailers treated them to a couple of goals and a fight. Troy Josephs netted the first tally of the home year right after a penalty had expired. Josephs used his speed to fly in on the right side of the offensive zone, snapping a shot into the left side of the cage. 2:10 later, Zac Lynch got in on the fun, roofing a wrist shot into the top-right corner from a rush down the ice. The fight took place on the following face-off, as Brad Drobot brought down Anthony Collins.
Indy turned things around in the middle frame, scoring five straight goals in a span of 9:30. Connor Moynihan's shorthanded wrist shot started the attack, and he was followed 40 seconds later by Kevin Dufour, who pounced on a loose puck. Dufour collected his second in a row at the 6:58 mark, before Olivier Labelle drilled in a cross-crease pass on the man advantage from Josh Shalla. The former Nailer, Shalla got a goal of his own at 11:14. Wheeling received a spark later in the stanza, when Josephs deposited the rebound of Johnny Austin's attempt on the power play.
Wheeling recorded 13 shots on goal in the third period, but was unable to break through, and the Fuel closed out their 5-3 win with a scoreless period both ways.
Kevin Lankinen was the winning netminder for Indy, as he made 26 saves on 29 shots. John Muse took the loss for the Nailers, stopping 19 of the 24 shots he faced.
The Nailers will make a quick trip to Cincinnati on Wednesday, before returning home for a two-game series against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Friday and Saturday. Face-off for both games takes place at 7:05. Exciting upcoming promotions include Marvel Superhero Night on November 21st and Nailermania on December 15th. 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.