FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers are ready to get their home season under way. Unfortunately, Friday night's trip to Fort Wayne was a tough one. The Komets dented the twine five times during the first period, then added a couple more for a 7-3 win at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Yushiroh Hirano, Brandon Hawkins, and Jan Drozg were the goal scorers for Wheeling.
The start of the game wasn't fun for the Nailers, who saw Fort Wayne storm out of the gates with four goals in the first 5:06 of play. The first tally came at the 51-second mark, when Brett McKenzie's pass banked off Brady Shaw and into the net. That pair was responsible for setting up the second goal, as Shawn St-Amant converted a breakaway. Alan Lyszarczyk tipped in Max Gottlieb's shot 14 seconds later, then Anthony Petruzzelli's backhand squeezed into the net for number four. The Nailers got on the board, courtesy of Yushiroh Hirano's one-time blast from the center point on a 5-on-3, but A.J. Jenks lit the lamp in the final minute, putting the Komets ahead, 5-1.
In the second period, Brandon Hawkins tapped in a Hirano feed to give Wheeling its second goal of the evening, but Fort Wayne added to its advantage with a spinaround shot by Chase Stewart in the right circle, then a rebound goal from Jenks, off of Jason Binkley's point shot.
Jan Drozg netted the lone marker in the final stanza, tipping in Myles Powell's shot for his first professional goal.
Cole Kehler got the win for the Komets, making 23 saves on 26 shots. Alex D'Orio suffered the loss for the Nailers, coming up with 23 stops, before turning the game over to Jordan Ruby, who was perfect on nine attempts in the third.
The Nailers are ready to return to Wheeling for their home opener on Saturday night, when they face the Indy Fuel at 7:05. The night begins with a red carpet entry by the players at 4:30. There will also be a pregame fanfest with inflatables, plus a magnetic schedule giveaway. Season tickets, partial plans, and group tickets are available now. 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, partial plans, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.