WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers got two huge divisional points on Sunday afternoon, completing a seven-point week, as they edged the Fort Wayne Komets, 3-2 at WesBanco Arena. Trevor Yates scored the game winning goal with 2:49 left in the second period, then went on to become the second Wheeling player this season to notch a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Jordan Ruby made 30 saves between the pipes.
The Nailers got some big saves early from Jordan Ruby, and they rewarded their netminder with a goal in the final minute of the first period. Trevor Yates wound his way deep on the left side of the offensive zone, before sifting a pass to the right side of the slot, where Renars Krastenbergs slammed in a one-timer.
Fort Wayne drew even in the opening minutes of the middle frame. Oskari Halme flew off the left wing wall and into the bottom of the circle, where he lifted a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the cage. The latter part of the period belonged to Wheeling, who scored twice in a span of 1:56 to take a two-goal advantage into the intermission. The go-ahead strike came off a face-off win by Cedric Lacroix, as Dan Fick tossed in a wrist shot from the left point. Fick was also responsible for creating the next tally, as he fed Yates, who swatted the puck in on the right side of the crease.
Yates completed his Gordie Howe Hat Trick by fighting Craig Cescon early in the third period. The Komets then pulled within one, as Brady Shaw scored off a rush with Shawn Szydlowski and Mason Baptista. The Nailers shut the door from there, preserving the 3-2 home win.
Jordan Ruby backstopped his tenth victory of the season for Wheeling, as he denied 30 of the 32 shots he faced. Zachary Fucale took the loss for Fort Wayne, making 15 saves on 18 shots.
The Nailers and Komets will meet again on Wednesday, when Wheeling travels to Fort Wayne for a 7:30 tit. The next home game for the Nailers is Education Day against the Indy Fuel on March 12th at 10:45 a.m. The next big promotional game is Fan Appreciation Night on April 6th. 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.