WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers picked up a point in Friday's game against the Indy Fuel, but didn't get the end result they were looking for. Kevin Dufour snapped a 2-2 tie at the 3:57 mark of overtime, lifting the visitors into the win column. Wheeling got its goals in regulation from Alec Butcher and Winston Day Chief, while both netminders made key saves down the stretch.
The two teams exchanged goals in the first period, with the Nailers scoring early, and Indy answering late. Wheeling's tally came off a turnover, as Michael Phillips stole the puck high in the offensive zone, before feeding Alec Butcher, who roofed a wrist shot from the low slot. The Fuel drew even with less than one minute remaining, as Mathew Thompson blazed down the left side, then cut to the middle to deposit the marker.
There was very little separation in the middle frame, as both sides struck in a span of 33 seconds. Indy was first on the board, as Radovan Bondra left the puck off on the right side for Robert Powers, who stepped in and buried a shot from the right circle. The Nailers responded quickly off the rush. Aaron Titcomb slid a pass to the left doorstep, where the puck was poked home by Winston Day Chief.
Both goaltenders put forth strong efforts in the third period, preserving the tie, and earning their respective squads a point. The overtime session saw lots of pressure by the Fuel, and they eventually broke through at the 3:57 mark. Logan Nelson fed the puck ahead to Kevin Dufour, who escaped in alone, and backhanded a shot between John Muse's legs for the 3-2 Indy win.
Matt Tomkins stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced to earn his league-leading 19th victory of the year for the Fuel. John Muse was saddled with the overtime defeat, despite thwarting 29 of 32 attempts.
The Nailers will continue their homestand at 8:05 on Saturday, when they clash with the Kalamazoo Wings. Saturday's game is Pups & Pucks, and fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the game. The next big promotional night is Country Roads, featuring a Mason Jar Giveaway to the first 2,000 fans on February 16th. 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.