INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers put a strong run together, collecting points in nine consecutive games. Unfortunately, that streak fell just short of double digits. The Indy Fuel spoiled that effort by scoring three times in the first period and twice in the third for a 5-2 victory at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Josh Couturier and Yushiroh Hirano were the goal scorers for Wheeling, who saw Cam Brown extend his point streak to 11 games.
The Nailers experienced some difficulties in the first period, including a goal by the Fuel during the opening minute of play. Josh Shalla's rocket from the left circle was stopped, but Olivier Labelle chipped home a bouncing puck in the slot. Wheeling pulled even with a 4-on-4 goal, activating its defense. Forward Zac Lynch led the rush up the right side of the ice, before setting up Josh Couturier for his first professional goal at the left side of the crease. Indy took the lead back 2:12 later, when one of its defensemen stepped up. Alex Brooks made his way to the right circle, where he swatted in a cross-ice feed from Radovan Bondra. Kevin Dufour added to his team's advantage with 3:51 to go, intercepting a Nailers breakout, then scoring on his second attempt.
After a scoreless middle stanza, Dufour netted his second of the night, racing down the left side, before cutting to the middle with a backhander. Wheeling trimmed its deficit to two on a power play with 6:27 left, as Yushiroh Hirano stepped into a slap shot from the left side of the high slot. Cam Brown picked up an assist, giving him points in 11 straight games. However, the Nailers were unable to claw any closer, as Ryan Rupert put the finishing touches on the 5-2 Fuel win with an empty netter in the last minute.
Matt Tomkins turned aside 33 of the 35 shots he faced to earn the win for Indy. Matt O'Connor suffered his first loss in his last seven decisions, making 22 saves on 26 shots for Wheeling.
The Nailers will conclude their five-game road stretch on Friday night against the Kalamazoo Wings at 7:30. Wheeling's next home game is New Year's Eve, which is also Star Wars Night at 6:05 against the Reading Royals. Fans can meet Star Wars characters, the Nailers will wear special jerseys, and there will be a surprise giveaway for the first 2,000 fans. Additionally, all tickets for the New Year's Eve game are just $8. Another exciting upcoming promotion is Nickelodeon Night Featuring SpongeBob & Patrick on January 12th. 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.