NORFOLK, VA- The Wheeling Nailers extended their point streak to seven on Wednesday night, as they won a crazy game against the Norfolk Admirals at Norfolk Scope Arena. Nick Saracino scored two goals and one assist, while Cam Brown notched two assists and the shootout winning goal, as Wheeling came away with a 7-6 triumph.
The first period featured an offensive explosion, as the Nailers roared out to a 5-2 lead. Similar to Sunday's four-goal first, it was Nick Saracino starting the offense, as he kicked Craig Skudalski's shot to his backhand, sliding a shot around Ty Reichenbach's glove. Norfolk's Cody Smith tied the game with a left circle shot at 5:35, but Wheeling tallied twice in less than a minute after that. Brien Diffley pounced on a loose puck in the slot after a net drive by Kevin Spinozzi, then Renars Krastenbergs snapped in a shot from the left circle for a 3-1 lead. The two Nailers goals were 28 seconds apart, starting 18 seconds after the Admirals marker. Dan Fick kept things rolling for Wheeling by threading a shot through Reichenbach's legs in front, then Winston Day Chief collected a power play goal off of a perfect slap pass by Yushiroh Hirano. Connor Hurley was the final scorer of the stanza for Norfolk on a one-timer from the inner edge of the right circle.
The scoring slowed down drastically in the middle frame, but both teams still had enough electricity to power on the red light once. The Admirals were up first at the 11:07 mark, when Jake Wood fanned on a one-timer, but connected on his second chance, flicking in a shot from the left side of the slot. The Nailers came up with an answer in a matter of 42 seconds to regain their three-goal lead. Cam Brown delivered an on-point feed to Saracino, who redirected in the marker from the top of the crease. Brown and Saracino both extended their point streaks to eight games during the tilt.
Norfolk battled back with three goals in the first five minutes of the third period, squaring the contest, 6-6. Chris Crane whipped in a shot from the slot at the 17-second mark, Wood roofed his second of the night off a Jalen Smereck pass at 2:10, and Smereck scored a goal of his own from the right circle at 4:38. Wheeling made a goaltending change after that tally, as Matt O'Connor took over for Jordan Ruby. O'Connor helped keep the score deadlocked for the final 15:22 of regulation and the five-minute overtime session, as the teams made their way to a shootout.
For the second time this season, Brown was the shootout hero, as he scored in round two, while O'Connor denied all three Admirals shooters for his fifth win in his last six decisions.
Jordan Ruby made 17 saves on 23 shots in the starting effort for the Nailers, while O'Connor was a perfect 8-for-8 in the relief effort. Ty Reichenbach played the entire game for Norfolk, allowing six goals on 43 shots during regulation and overtime.
The Nailers and Admirals will play twice more this weekend at Norfolk Scope Arena on Friday and 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.