WHEELING, WV- A span of just over two minutes made the difference in Thursday night's game, as the Wheeling Nailers played host to the Tulsa Oilers at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling led 2-1 after one on goals by Brady Tomlak and Austin Fyten, but Charlie Sampair's shorthanded marker and Mike McKee's goal right after his penalty turned the game in Tulsa's favor, as the visitors prevailed, 4-2.
Tulsa got the first goal of the evening, but the Nailers surged back to take the lead with two tallies of their own in the opening stanza. Brent Gates broke up a pass in the neutral zone for the Oilers, then led Darby Llewellyn in behind the defense, where he faked to his backhand in order to slide in the goal. Wheeling's equalizer came just after a power play had ended. Matt Foley drove a shot on goal from the right side, which squirted through goaltender Roman Durny and sat in the crease, where Brady Tomlak drove in to poke it home. With less than one minute remaining, the Nailers went ahead with a shorthanded strike. Cody Sylvester fed Austin Fyten on a 2-on-1 break, and Fyten roofed his shot from the left side of the ice.
Things turned the other way in the middle of the second period, as Tulsa got a shorthanded goal of its own, then another tally shortly right after the penalty finished. The shorty was created by Danny Moynihan, who rushed down the left side, before setting up Charlie Sampair, who converted with a shot into the left side of the cage. Mike McKee was the player who took the minor penalty, and he ended up getting rewarded when he departed the box. Garret Cockerill sent him on a breakaway, and McKee swept a shot through Hayden Hawkey's legs.
Wheeling was unable to get a tying goal to materialize, and the Oilers capped off their 4-2 win with Moynihan's empty netter.
Roman Durny earned the victory for Tulsa, as he stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced. Hayden Hawkey played well, as he made 26 saves on 29 shots, but suffered the defeat for the Nailers.
The Nailers and Oilers will do battle again on Friday at WesBanco Arena with opening face-off taking place at 7:10. Wheeling will also be home for three games next weekend, as the Fort Wayne Komets come to town on Friday and Saturday, followed by the Indy Fuel on Sunday. A limited number of tickets are available for those 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.