RAPID CITY, SD- The Wheeling Nailers and Rapid City Rush are quickly building a dislike for one another, as emotions boiled over in a big way on Friday night at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The Nailers capitalized twice on the man advantage, and that made the difference in the game, as they picked up a 3-1 victory. Nick Saracino scored the winning goal for the second straight contest, while Jordan Ruby made 23 saves.
The two teams played scoreless hockey for nearly 30 minutes, before the Nailers got on the board. Ryan Scarfo drifted into the offensive zone, then let a shot go, beating goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos through the legs. The contest took an amazing twist with 5:30 left in the second period. Taylor Crunk appeared to tie the game for Rapid City, but the goal got waved off, leading to a bench minor on the Rush. Wheeling cashed in. Yushiroh Hirano's initial shot trickled wide to the right, but the rebound was dunked in by Nick Saracino on the right side. Brennan Saulnier attacked Christopher Brown after the goal, giving the Nailers another power play. Alec Butcher helped his team convert on the opportunity, as he drove to the middle of the ice, then slid a backhander inside the left post.
Rapid City broke Wheeling's shutout bid with a 4-on-4 goal at the 2:37 mark of the third period. Eric Israel let a shot go from the left point, which was stopped by Jordan Ruby, but the rebound was lifted in on the backhand by Tyler Coulter. The Nailers fended off a 16-shot attack by the Rush in the final frame, and proceeded to close the door for a 3-1 road triumph.
Jordan Ruby got the win for Wheeling, as he stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced. Alex Sakellaropoulos made 28 saves on 31 shots in the loss for Rapid City.
The Nailers and Rush will conclude their three-game set on Saturday night at 9:05. Wheeling will then return home on December 20th at 7:05 for a Frosty Friday against the Toledo Walleye, then Office Night on December 21st, starring Leslie David Baker. The Nailers will also play at home on New Year's Eve, while the next Big Six Promotional Night is Nickelodeon Night featuring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on January 11th. Holiday Packages are currently available as well. 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.