FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets opened up a three-game head-to-head series on Saturday night at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, and as has been the case the last two seasons with these clubs, offense was the story of the tilt. Both teams scored three times in the second period, but it was the Komets who prevailed in overtime, as Alan Lyszczarczyk tallied his second goal of the night to lift his team to the 5-4 triumph.
The two sides exchanged goals in the opening stanza, with the Komets getting on the board early, and Wheeling answering in the latter stages. Fort Wayne's tally came on a breakaway, as A.J. Jenks sent Brad Ross in alone, and Ross proceeded to keep the puck on his forehand, lifting a shot into the top-left corner of the goal. Brandon Hawkins knotted things up for the Nailers with 1:30 remaining, as he took a Nick Minerva drop pass and buried a wrist shot from the left face-off dot.
The middle frame was a wild one, as the Nailers rattled off three goals in 2:15, but Fort Wayne battled back with three goals in 3:53 to create a 4-4 tie. Alec Butcher blazed in a shot from high in the slot to give Wheeling its first lead of the contest, and that was followed 50 seconds later, as Cam Brown drove to the net, slipping a backhander inside the right post. Ryan Scarfo continued the attack by picking the top-left corner of the cage from the left circle. The Komets comeback featured a pair of goals on delayed penalties, then one on a power play. Alan Lyszczarczyk and Brycen Martin both converted on wrist shots from the right circle, then Shawn St-Amant pounded in a centering pass from Brady Shaw.
After all of that scoring, neither team was able to light the lamp in the third period, leading to overtime. In the extra session, the Nailers came extremely close, as a shot trickled just wide of the right point. Fort Wayne raced back the other way, and Lyszczarczyk ended the match on a breakaway for a 5-4 Komets win.
Cole Kehler got the victory in goal for Fort Wayne, making 20 saves on 24 shots. Jordan Ruby played strong for Wheeling, turning aside 40 of 45 shots in the overtime defeat.
The Nailers and Komets will meet again on Wednesday night, when the teams travel to WesBanco Arena for a 7:05 face-off. Wheeling is also home next Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is Nailercon, featuring an appearance by the Pittsburgh Knights and a Super Mario Kart Tournament. On Sunday, fans can skate with the even-numbered players after the game. The next Big-6 Promotional Night is Be Our Neighbor Night on Saturday, December 7th. New for all Saturday home games, fans can purchase a Friends & Family 4-Pack, which includes four tickets, four Tito's Sloppy Doggs, and a $10 voucher to the Nailers Team Store. 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.