WHEELING, WV- Derek Army got to celebrate his first win as the head coach of the Wheeling Nailers in a building that has meant so much to him - WesBanco Arena. With his wife Jenny and son Boone in the arena, the Nailers got him the victory in thrilling fashion. Austin Fyten scored the winning goal with less than a minute to go, as the Nailers defeated the Fort Wayne Komets, 5-3.
Special teams were the story of the first period, as the Komets struck first on the power play, before Wheeling came back with two shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill. The man advantage marker for Fort Wayne came from Marc-Olivier Roy, who powered in a one-time feed from Anthony Nellis in the right circle. Midway through the stanza, the Nailers were faced with a four-minute kill, but came away with the lead. On the tying goal, Matt Foley wrapped the puck around the end boards, sending Nick Rivera and Brady Tomlak on an odd-man rush. Rivera put a tape-to-tape pass on Tomlak's stick in the slot, and Tomlak shoveled a shot along the ice and in. 30 seconds later, Wheeling connected again. Austin Fyten drove the net and the puck spilled out to Jesse Lees, who tucked it into the right side of the cage.
Both clubs turned on the red light once in the middle frame, as the Nailers maintained their one-goal advantage. Wheeling's third tally of the day came on the power play. Patrick Watling's right side shot got blockered away, but the puck popped up in the air, then landed in the crease, where Austin Fyten tapped it home. Morgan Adams-Moisan got a goal back for the Komets at the 11:07 mark, when he snapped in a wrist shot from the right circle off the rush.
The third period featured some dramatic events, starting with a tying goal by Fort Wayne at the 12:41 mark. Nick Boka slipped a pass out of the corner to A.J. Jenks, who rang in a wrist shot from the slot. With just under a minute to go, the Nailers regained the lead. Fyten drove to the net and battled in the go-ahead goal for his second of the night. Nick Rivera added the finishing touches on the 5-3 win with an empty netter from the red line.
The Nailers have three home games coming up in the next week, starting on Wednesday at 7:10, when they do battle with the Indy Fuel. Wheeling hosts Fort Wayne on Saturday at 7:10, before another clash with Indy on Sunday 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.