WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers earned back-to-back wins over their division rivals, the Indy Fuel, this weekend at WesBanco Arena. On Sunday afternoon, Wheeling took the lead three separate times in regulation, before Zac Lynch's goal at 1:02 of overtime gave the Nailers the 4-3 triumph. The Nailers and Fuel are now tied for fourth place in the Central Division, as both squads have 40 points.
Both teams lit the lamp in the first period, but it was the Nailers who took a lead into the intermission. First on the board was Wheeling's Troy Josephs at the 6:29 mark, as he crashed in from the right side, and had just enough force behind him to propel the puck in over the goal line. Indy briefly pulled even with a power play goal, as Mathew Thompson banked the puck in off goaltender John Muse. The Nailers responded 1:19 later, doing so shorthanded. Zac Lynch laid a hit along the right wall, freeing up the puck for Cedric Lacroix, who drilled in his fourth shorthanded tally of the year.
The Fuel recorded the lone marker in the middle frame, tying the score. The Rupert twins led the rush up the ice, with Ryan feeding Matt, who ultimately connected with Logan Nelson, who snapped in a wrist shot from the right circle.
The clubs exchanged goals in the third period, which ultimately led to extra hockey. Renars Krastenbergs put Wheeling ahead on the power play, snatching the rebound of Lynch's shot off the wall, before deflecting it in off netminder Matt Tomkins. Indy knotted things up with 4:43 left off a face-off, as Kevin Dufour had his attempt thwarted, but the rebound was cashed in by Alex Brooks on the right side.
Only one shot was needed to decided a winner in overtime, and it went to the Nailers at 1:02. Lynch took a handoff from Dan Fick, and drove all the way down the left side of the ice, before shelving a shot into the top-left corner of the twine, giving Wheeling the 4-3 win.
John Muse earned the victory between the pipes, kicking out 36 of the 39 shots he faced. Matt Tomkins took the overtime loss for the Fuel, making 27 saves on 31 shots.
The Nailers will be on the road for their next three games, as they visit the Adirondack Thunder on Wednesday and Friday, followed by the Reading Royals on Saturday. Wheeling's next home game is a Frosty Friday on January 25th against the Brampton Beast. The next big promotional game is Country Roads on February 16th, also against Brampton, featuring a Mason Jar Giveaway to the first 2,000 fans. 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.