FORT WAYNE, IN- It was a difficult weekend for the Wheeling Nailers, as the Fort Wayne Komets held serve on their home ice at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The story of Sunday's clash was special teams, as the Komets converted four times on the power play and added a shorthanded marker for the 6-2 triumph. Kyle Marino's first pro goal and Patrick McNally's third tally in two weeks accounted for Wheeling's offense.
The first period was about as wild as it gets, as the teams combined for four goals, 11 shots, and eight penalties. Fort Wayne got on the board first with a power play goal. Shawn Szydlowski's shot from the left circle got blocked to Anthony Petruzzelli, who snapped in the loose puck from the right side of the slot. The Nailers answered with the lone even strength tally of the stanza. Matt Alfaro swept the puck to the front of the net, where it was tipped home by Kyle Marino for his first professional goal in his second career game. The Komets retook the lead at the 9:04 mark, when Zach Pochiro deflected Szydlowski's long wrist shot down and in, while the teams were playing 4-on-3. Wheeling also got a 4-on-3 goal, as it drew even 1:03 later. Patrick McNally twirled around in the right circle, then swished a shot into the right side of the cage for his third goal since joining the squad.
Fort Wayne's special teams were the difference in the middle frame, as the home team scored on both man advantages, while killing a pair of Wheeling's. At the 5:06 mark, Pochiro netted his second of the day, as he picked up his own rebound and threw a shot in through a maze of bodies in front of the net. In the latter part of the period, Brandon Hawkins set up the next marker, as his low shot from the left circle created a rebound, which was potted by Spencer Smallman.
Pochiro completed his hat trick by tapping in a rebound at the 6:11 mark of the third, before a last minute shorthanded breakaway by Smallman put the finishing touches on the 6-2 Komets win.
Louis-Phillip Guindon got the victory in net for Fort Wayne, as he made 18 saves on 20 shots. Hayden Hawkey suffered the loss for the Nailers, as he came up with 21 saves on 27 shots.
The Nailers will get ready to play their next four games on home ice, beginning on Wednesday night, when they face the Indy Fuel at 7:10. Then, the Utah Grizzlies will come to town for the weekend, with 7:10 tilts on Friday and Saturday, before a 4:10 contest on Sunday. A limited number of tickets are available for Wheeling Nailers home games, and season memberships and flex packs are also available. 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.