WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers got a phenomenal team effort on Saturday night, as they silenced the Wichita Thunder, 7-1 at WesBanco Arena. Michael Joly led the offensive attack with three points and a +5 rating, as 15 different players recorded at least one point. Alex D'Orio got the job done between the pipes with 29 saves.
The Nailers had a great start to the contest, as they outshot Wichita, 15-9, while banging in a pair of goals in a span of 16 seconds. The first tally was created from a forecheck by Garet Hunt, which allowed Jacob Hayhurst to swing the puck out to Matt Foley at the right point. Foley let a wrist shot go, which was tipped into the cage by Vladislav Mikhalchuk. On the very next shift, Michael Joly crashed the net, and forced a rebound to hop out to Shane Kuzmeski, who pounded a slap shot into the right side of the goal.
Wheeling continued its tremendous play in the middle frame, as it set a season high with 19 shots and three of them tickling the twine. The first strike needed just 51 seconds to materialize. Matt Miller crashed the net and had his shot stopped, but Joly was there to pot the rebound. Next up was a transition goal. Lawton Courtnall and Brady Tomlak exchanged passes, before Courtnall ultimately ripped in a wrist shot from the left side. With 2:12 to go in the stanza, the Nailers collected their fifth goal of the night, as Patrick McNally smacked home his own rebound, while drawing an assist from Joly, who posted his third point of the tilt.
A couple of more goals went to the home team in the third period. Joly registered his second of the night, as he popped in the rebound of Patrick Watling's initial shot. Then, with 5:02 to go, Tomlak capitalized off of a turnover by goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos, as he was set up by Garet Hunt. Austin McIlmurray sandwiched a goal in the middle for the Thunder, as Wheeling stormed away with the 7-1 triumph.
Alex D'Orio turned in a wonderful performance for the Nailers, as he denied 29 of the 30 shots he faced for the victory. Alex Sakellaropoulos had a busy night for Wichita, as he allowed seven goals on 51 shots in the loss.
The Nailers and Thunder will conclude their three-game series on Sunday afternoon at 4:10. 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.