WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and their fans left Wednesday night's game feeling pretty good, as the home team beat the Allen Americans in their first meeting since the 2016 Kelly Cup Final. Nick Saracino broke a 1-1 tie in the third period and Kevin Spinozzi added insurance, while Jordan Ruby stopped 26 shots in the 3-1 Wheeling triumph.
The Nailers scored the lone goal of the first period, as the reigning ECHL Players of the Week helped setup one of their teammates. Nick Saracino got the puck to Cam Brown behind the net, and Brown proceeded to feed Yushiroh Hirano on the inner edge of the right circle. Hirano stepped into a one-timer, powering his shot through goaltender Kyle Hayton.
One puck found the twine in the middle frame, and it was the visiting Americans who got the tally, tying the score. A mad scramble took place in front of the Wheeling net, and Zach Pochiro got the final whack at the loose puck, pushing it in through the pile.
Wheeling quickly regained control of the game in the third period, scoring twice to pull ahead for good. The go-ahead goal came five seconds into a power play, as Kevin Spinozzi's slap shot was tipped home by Nick Saracino. The assist gave Saracino points on seven straight Nailers goals. 2:14 later, Spinozzi wound up for another big drive, clobbering his slapper off the right post and in to put the finishing touches on the 3-1 win.
Jordan Ruby backstopped his third straight victory for Wheeling, turning aside 26 of the 27 shots he faced. Kyle Hayton took the loss for Allen, despite making 33 saves on 36 shots.
The Nailers will play on the road against the Kalamazoo Wings on Friday at 7:30, before returning home for a big night against the Norfolk Admirals on Saturday at 7:05. WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley will be the star of the night for NailerMania, which will also feature Black Diamond Wrestling. Saturday is also the annual Teddy Bear Toss - bring a new or gently used stuffed animal and throw it on the ice when the Nailers score their first goal. The stuffed animals will be collected by the Salvation Army, who will gift them to children in the Ohio Valley. Finally, Saturday is Ugly Sweater Night. Family Four Packs are available for NailerMania, as well as a special on 300-level tickets. 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.