WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers won their home opener in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, as a last-minute goal was the difference in a 4-3 victory over the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Blake Siebenaler fished out a loose puck in front of the net, snapping the deadlock for the first win of the year. Alec Butcher also had a strong night for the Nailers, collecting a pair of goals.
Wheeling's first home stanza was a solid one, as it lit the lamp twice to take the lead. The first goal came at the 5:59 mark. Macoy Erkamps backhanded the puck to Alec Butcher, who drove the net from the left side, and had enough force to push the puck through Charles Williams. Derian Plouffe briefly tied the score for the Fuel on wrist shot from the left side of the slot, but with under a minute to go, Cam Brown regained the lead for the Nailers, backhanding in a loose puck on the right side of the crease. The goal gave Brown 100 points in his ECHL career.
The teams exchanged goals in the middle frame, resulting in a 3-3 deadlock. Butcher notched his second of the evening, when he poked home the rebound of Lucas Kohls' initial shot, which rang off the right post. However, that marker was surrounded by Graham Knotts and Spencer Watson, who tallied for Indy. Watson's was the second strike on the man advantage for the visitors.
The tilt stayed tied until the final minute of play, when Blake Siebenaler's first goal in a Wheeling uniform lifted his club to an enormous home triumph. Yushiroh Hirano crashed the net with the initial attempt, which got stopped, but Siebenaler was there to deposit the rebound. The Nailers didn't allow any chances in the closing seconds, preserving the 4-3 final.
Jordan Ruby earned the win in his first start of the season for Wheeling, denying 26 of the 29 shots he faced. Charles Williams took the loss for the Fuel, making 23 saves on 27 shots.
The Nailers and Fuel will meet again on Sunday at 4:05 for Spike's Birthday. Pittsburgh Penguins mascot Iceburgh will be there for the celebration. Another exciting upcoming promotion is Nailers Fight Cancer on Saturday, October 26th. Fans can purchase a Love Your Melon Ticket Package, which includes a limited edition beanie. Season tickets, partial plans, and group tickets are also available. 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.