NORFOLK, VA- Special teams took center stage for the Wheeling Nailers on Friday night, as they pounded the Norfolk Admirals, 6-3 at Norfolk Scope Arena. Wheeling scored three times on the power play and twice shorthanded, while killing off all eight Norfolk power plays. Nick Saracino and Kevin Spinozzi led the way offensively with three-point performances, while Saracino and Cam Brown both extended their point streaks to nine games. The Nailers are 7-0-1 in their last eight contests.
The Nailers sandwiched an early goal and a late goal around one marker for Norfolk to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The early strike was a shorthanded slap shot by Kevin Spinozzi, who stepped into an Admirals turnover, finding the right side of the twine. Norfolk's tying goal was a one-timer, as Ben Duffy fed Chris Crane in the right circle. With under a minute remaining, Wheeling went ahead on the man advantage. Renars Krastenbergs poked a pass down the left wall for Cedric Lacroix, who roofed a wrist shot from in tight.
Scoring increased in the second period, and once again, it was special teams that started the party for the Nailers, following a tying tally by Norfolk. Cam Brown dribbled a pass out to Nick Saracino, who stepped into a one-timer, drilling a shot into the left side of the net. Zac Lynch increased his team's lead, waltzing in on the right side, then flipping in a shot with his backhand. The explosive connection of Saracino and Brown connected again with 2:30 to go, with Saracino feeding Brown for a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle. Brandon Rumble cut the gap to two just 24 seconds later, as Wheeling led 5-3.
The penalty kill continued its dominance in the third, and Saracino tossed one more goal into an empty net, putting the finishing touches on the 6-3 victory.
Matt O'Connor backstopped his sixth win in his last seven decisions for the Nailers, making 32 saves on 35 shots. Ty Reichenbach gave up five goals on 19 shots in the crease for the Admirals.
The Nailers and Admirals will conclude their three-game set in Norfolk on Saturday at 7:00. Wheeling's next home game is New Year's Eve, when the Reading Royals come to town for a 6:05 face-off. That will also be Star Wars Night, featuring special jerseys, a surprise giveaway, and a chance to meet Star Wars characters. Another exciting upcoming promotion is Nickelodeon Night Featuring SpongeBob & Patrick on January 12th. Don't forget to purchase your Nailers Holiday Packages, and check out all of the magnificent merchandise at shop.wheelingnailers.com. 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.