KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers came extremely close to taking points out of Wings Event Center on Saturday night, but fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Kalamazoo Wings. Kyle Blaney lit the lamp with ten seconds left in the third period, as the Wings picked up a 3-2 victory on their home ice. Blake Siebenaler and Brandon Hawkins were Wheeling's goal scorers.
The Nailers needed just 39 seconds to get on the scoreboard. Yushiroh Hirano swept the puck off the right wall to Blake Siebenaler, who stepped in and wired a slap shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Kalamazoo drew even less than six minutes before the intermission, as Kyle Blaney fed Austin Farley off the rush, allowing Farley to connect from the left side of the slot.
The lone goal of the middle frame went to Wheeling, who took its second lead of the contest. Matt Abt snagged a loose puck along the left wall, and proceeded to lead his team on the attack with a center ice feed to Nick Saracino. After gaining the blueline, Saracino dished a pass to Brandon Hawkins, who slammed in a shot from the right side.
The Wings drew even at the 10:45 mark of the third period, when Ben Wilson stormed down the right side and sent a wobbling puck into the short side of the net. Then, with ten seconds remaining, Kyle Blaney found the twine, lifting Kalamazoo to a 3-2 home win.
Jake Hildebrand stood on his head to earn the win for Kalamazoo, as he stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio made 26 saves on 29 shots in the defeat for the Nailers.
The Nailers will have one more stop on their three-game road trip, and that is a 4:00 tilt on Sunday against the Brampton Beast. Wheeling will return home for two games next weekend. First up is Frosty Friday against the Maine Mariners on February 28th at 7:05. Then, fans will have the chance to meet 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Max Talbot as part of Pittsburgh Penguins Night on February 29th against the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7:05. Friends & Family Ticket Packages are available for all Saturday home games, which include four tickets, four Tito's Sloppy Doggs and a $10 voucher to the team shop for $52. 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.