WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers and Orlando Solar Bears hadn't played each other since 2018, but the excitement and intensity made for a thrilling game on Friday night at WesBanco Arena. Cam Brown scored twice in the third period for the Nailers, including the winning goal with 4:09 left, as Wheeling earned its first ever home win over Orlando, 3-2. Alex D'Orio backstopped the triumph with 34 saves, while Myles Powell dished out two assists in his return to the lineup.
The Nailers stormed the Orlando net early, but it was the Solar Bears who tallied the lone goal of the opening stanza. Chris LeBlanc tapped a pass across the blueline, sending Alexey Lipanov in on the left side of the offensive zone. Lipanov made his way to the circle, where he tossed in the power play marker.
The defensive battle continued into the middle frame, but Wheeling was able to even the score. Alec Butcher had his initial shot blocked, but chased down the loose puck along the right wing wall, where he shoveled a shot toward the goal. Ryan Scarfo had his stick in the perfect spot to ramp a deflection into the top of the cage.
At the 3:05 mark of the third period, the Nailers took their first lead of the night. Myles Powell broke down the left side of the slot, where he rang a shot off the post. However, Cam Brown followed up the attempt and potted the rebound for a shorthanded goal. Orlando pulled even with five seconds left on a Wheeling major penalty. Trevor Olsen tipped in Eric Drapluk's wrist shot from the left point. The Nailers got their chance to respond on the man advantage with 4:09 to go, as Powell fed Cam Brown for a one-timer from the right face-off dot, which went whipping through Zachary Fucale's legs. Alex D'Orio and the Wheeling defense shut the door the rest of the way, as the home team skated away victorious, 3-2.
Alex D'Orio earned his third straight win for the Nailers, denying 34 of the 36 shots he faced. Zachary Fucale took the loss for the Solar Bears, making 23 saves on 26 shots.
The Nailers and Solar Bears will meet again on Saturday at 7:35 for Country Roads Night. All tickets are just $10, the first 2,000 fans will receive a cowbell, there will be a Mechanical Bull Riding Contest, and fans are encouraged to dress like a Mountaineer. Proceeds from the game will benefit WVU Children's Hospital. 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.