WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers opened the 2020-21 season on Saturday night, as they played host to the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Chad Duchesne and Michael Joly both lit the lamp for the Nailers, but the Fuel netted two goals in a span of 27 seconds in the first period and never surrendered the lead, as they skated away with the 3-2 road win.
The highlight of the first period was a fight that everyone was looking forward to, as Brad Drobot and Patrick McGrath dropped the gloves. Unfortunately for Wheeling, there were two red lights that went the other way. Derek Barach opened the scoring for the Fuel, when he drilled in a one-time feed from Derian Plouffe in the left circle. 27 seconds later, David Broll extended the advantage for the visitors, when he redirected in Seamus Malone's wrist shot from long distance.
The Nailers got their first goal of the season at the 6:23 mark of the middle frame. Chad Duchesne stepped up into the high slot and wired a slap shot into the top-left corner of the cage. However, Indy rebuilt its two-goal edge with 6:46 remaining, when Jared Thomas hammered in a one-timer, which was set up by Peter Krieger and former Nailer Alex Rauter.
Wheeling pulled to within a goal with 3:11 remaining, when Michael Joly broke behind the defense, and swept a shot through Dan Bakala's legs. Drydn Dow had the lead pass to send Joly on the break and Shane Starrett also picked up an assist from the crease. The comeback ended up falling short, as the Fuel prevailed, 3-2.
Dan Bakala backstopped the win in goal for Indy, as he made 32 saves on 34 shots. Shane Starrett was saddled with the defeat, despite stopping 23 of the 26 shots he faced.
The Nailers will be home for two more games next weekend, as they will face the Orlando Solar Bears on Friday and Saturday, with both contests starting at 7:10. Season memberships are available for the 2020-21 season. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. 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.