WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers got one of their best goaltending efforts of the season on Saturday night, as Shane Starrett made 45 saves, giving his team a chance to earn some points. However, a last minute goal in the second period by Stephen Harper was the difference, as the Fort Wayne Komets came away with a 3-2 win at WesBanco Arena. Jacob Pritchard had a goal and an assist for Wheeling.
The Nailers got on the scoreboard first, but Fort Wayne rebounded to take a 2-1 lead into the dressing rooms. The Wheeling goal came at the 4:49 mark, when Jacob Pritchard stole the puck and fed Sean Josling, who whizzed in a one-timer from the right face-off dot. The Komets tied things up less than two minutes later on the power play. Brandon Hawkins fired a wrister toward the front of the net, where it was tipped in by Justin Vaive at the top of the crease. With 6:07 to go in the stanza, Jason Cotton put the visitors ahead by capitalizing on a turnover and cranking in a slap shot from below the left hash mark.
Both teams lit the lamp once in the middle frame. The Nailers started by tying things up at the 3:28 mark. Adam Smith delivered a beautiful slap pass to Pritchard, who twisted in a shot from the low slot. Pritchard nearly set up Matt Alfaro for his third point of the night, but Alfaro's redirection rang the left post. With less than a minute remaining, Fort Wayne took its lead back. Zach Pochiro fed Stephen Harper on an odd man rush, and Harper wound in a shot from the left side of the ice.
Unfortunately for Wheeling, that last minute goal ended up being the difference in the battle, as both teams came up empty in the third period, giving the Komets the 3-2 win.
Louis-Phillip Guindon picked up the victory for Fort Wayne, as he made 19 saves on 21 shots. Shane Starrett turned in a tremendous performance for the Nailers, as he turned away 45 of the 48 shots he faced. However, he was saddled with the defeat.
The Nailers will finish up the weekend by visiting the Indy Fuel on Sunday at 3:05. Wheeling will play three home games next weekend, all against the Wichita Thunder, who travel to Nail City for the first time ever. Friday and Saturday both get under way at 7:10, then Sunday will begin 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.