WHEELING, WV- Yushiroh Hirano scored the goal that sent stuffed animals flying onto the ice at WesBanco Arena on Saturday night for the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Unfortunately, that was the only celebration for the home team, as the Kalamazoo Wings picked up a 4-1 road victory over the Wheeling Nailers. Boston Leier tallied two goals and an assist for the Wings, who got a 24-save effort from Jake Kielly.
The first period was a tough one for the Nailers, who fell behind by a pair of goals, while mustering just one shot on net. Kalamazoo's markers came during the early stages, starting on the man advantage, when Boston Leier whipped in a wrist shot from above the right face-off dot. Matt VanVoorhis followed 3:18 later, pounding in a one-time feed from Eric Kattelus.
The Wings added to their lead in the middle frame. Kyle Blaney tossed a shot on goal from the left side, then Ben Wilson crashed the net and was able to push a loose puck into the right side of the cage.
At the 9:55 mark of the third period, Wheeling got on the scoreboard with the Teddy Bear Toss Goal. Aaron Titcomb wound his way to the top of the offensive zone, where he swept a shot toward the net. Yushiroh Hirano tipped the puck in for the tally. The Nailers poured 17 shots on goal in the final stanza, but were unable to close the gap any more, and Leier's second of the night went into an empty net to cap off a 4-1 Kalamazoo win.
Jake Kielly picked up the victory for the Wings, making 24 saves on 25 shots. Jordan Ruby took the loss for Wheeling, stopping 14 of the 17 shots he faced.
The Nailers will close out their homestand on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 against the Toledo Walleye. Following the game, fans can skate with the odd-numbered players. Other exciting upcoming promotions include Office Night on December 21st and the always popular New Year's Eve Game. The next Big Six game is Nickelodeon Night on January 11th, featuring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 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.