WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers gave it a run, but unfortunately, their playoff hopes came to an end in the 70th game of the season. The Toledo Walleye got a hat trick from Jordan Topping, with two of the goals coming as part of a four-goal surge, as the road team won seven of eight games in the seaon series. Kevin Spinozzi, Renars Krastenbergs, and Winston Day Chief scored for Wheeling in the 5-3 setback at WesBanco Arena.
Both teams lit the lamp in the first period, doing so 2:17 apart from each other. Toledo was first to strike at the 7:36 mark, as Jordan Topping took a pass from Tyler Spezia, then zipped in a wrist shot from the right circle. The Nailers answered with transition, as Jordan Ruby booted out a save to send Kevin Spinozzi the other way. Spinozzi wound his way deep on the left side, then took a shot from a difficult angle, getting a friendly bounce to find the twine. Ruby's assist was the fourth of the year by a Wheeling netminder.
Goals came in quick succession during the middle frame as well. Wheeling took its first lead of the night at the 11:15 mark, cashing in on an outstanding shift in the offensive zone. Renars Krastenbergs was the scorer, as he threw in a wrist shot from the high slot. The Walleye drew even 1:40 later, as Topping collected his second of the night with a backhander on the power play. 18 seconds after that, Hunter Smith gave the Walleye a 3-2 lead, roofing a centering pass from Michael Moffat.
Toledo added a pair of insurance markers in the early stages of the third period, as David Pope whipped in a right circle shot on the man advantage, then Topping completed his hat trick, lifting a backhander into the top shelf. Winston Day Chief's tip-in of Johnny Austin's point shot brought the Nailers within two, but the comeback fell short in a 5-3 decision.
Trevor Gorsuch was the winning goaltender for the Walleye, as he made 33 saves on 36 shots. Jordan Ruby suffered the defeat for Wheeling, despite turning away 33 of the 38 shots he faced.
The Nailers will play their final home game of the regular season on Saturday night against the Indy Fuel at 7:05. Fan Appreciation Night features $10 tickets, a bobblehead exchange, plus prizes and giveaways all night long. 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.