INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers had an opportunity to close the gap behind the fourth place Indy Fuel on Thursday night, but Fuel protected their home ice, and were victorious, 6-2 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Nick Saracino netted both goals for Wheeling, while the Fuel got three points each from Craig Wyszomirski and Tim Soderlund.
The Nailers got on the scoreboard first, but found themselves trailing by one at the intermission. Wheeling's goal came off the rush, as Justin Almeida fed the puck to Nick Saracino, who crashed the net and slipped a backhander under netminder Dan Bakala. The Fuel pulled even at the 14:40 mark. Tim Soderlund slid a pass across the blueline to Craig Wyszomirski, who buried a one-timer from the right point. With 1:01 left in the stanza, Indy took the lead. Liam Coughlin set up Michael Doherty on a 2-on-1 break, and Doherty converted with a wrist shot from the right side of the slot.
The lone goal of the middle frame went to the Fuel, who extended their lead. Bobby MacIntyre willed a puck into the slot to Spencer Watson, who settled down the pass, then roofed his team-leading 29th tally of the season into the top-right corner.
Indy put the game away with three goals in the third period. Tim Soderlund lifted in a face-off win by Ryan Van Stralen, Joe Sullivan deposited his own rebound, and Soderlund tipped in Wyszomirski. Saracino redirected in a Cam Brown shot to give the Nailers a third period marker, but they fell, 6-2.
Dan Bakala got the win in goal for the Fuel, making 14 saves on 16 shots. Emil Larmi took the loss for Wheeling, stopping 30 of the 36 shots he faced.
The Nailers will conclude their four-game road trip on Friday night, when they visit the Kalamazoo Wings at 7:00. Wheeling's next home game is Education Day on March 10th at 10:45 a.m. That week will feature a total of four home contests, highlighted by St. Hat Tricks Day on Saturday, March 14th at 7:05. St. Hat Tricks Day will feature specialty jerseys, as well as a hat giveaway to the first 2,000 fans, and Irish Drink Specials. 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.