KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers nearly battled back from an early three-goal deficit at Wings Event Center on Saturday night, but in the end, the Kalamazoo Wings got a big offensive attack and a stellar performance from their goaltender. Renars Krastenbergs and Marc-Olivier Duquette lit the lamp for Wheeling, who poured 46 shots on goal in a 7-2 setback.
Kalamazoo got off to a fast start, scoring three times in the opening 10:06 of play. All three tallies featured sharp passing plays with three different players. On the first goal, Zach Diamantoni backhanded the puck through the slot to Luke Sandler, who connected with a backhander from the right side. 2:21 later, Yannick Veilleux drilled in a shot from high in the slot, which was set up by Justin Taylor. Finally, Boston Leier drifted in on the right side to pot a cross-ice pass by Matt Van Voorhis.
The Nailers attempted to battle back in the early stages of the second period, as they briefly trimmed the deficit to one. Renars Krastenbergs slammed in a one-timer from Yushiroh Hirano at the 15-second mark, then Marc-Olivier Duquette floated in his first professional goal from the left point. However, the Wings answered back with two goals of their own, making the score 5-2. Kyle Blaney tapped in the rebound of Dylan Sadowy's shot off the post, and Zach Diamantoni redirected in Zach Frye's feed on the right side of the crease.
Aaron Thow and Sadowy tacked on power play goals in the third period, putting the finishing touches on Kalamazoo's 7-2 win.
Jake Kielly earned the victory in goal for the Wings, turning away 44 of the 46 shots he faced. Jordan Ruby suffered the defeat, making 22 saves on 29 shots.
The Nailers are in action next on Wednesday morning, when they visit the Toledo Walleye for a 10:35 a.m. face-off. Wheeling then returns home for Military Appreciation Night on Friday, when Joe Everson sings and paints the Star Spangled Banner in a one-of-a-kind performance. That night is also a Frosty Friday, as the Nailers host the Reading Royals at 7:05. The next Big-6 promotional game is Be Our Neighbor Night on December 7th. 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.