WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers got a nice bounceback effort on Sunday afternoon, as they exacted revenge on the Fort Wayne Komets with a 5-3 triumph at WesBanco Arena. Michael Joly and Patrick Watling both had two goals and two assists to lead the offensive attack for the Nailers, who now have points in five straight home games.
The Nailers got a bit of everything in the first period, as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead. The power play struck first at the 8:49 mark. Michael Joly swept a shot in from the bottom of the right circle, which created a scrum, and allowed the puck to pop out to Joshua Winquist, who stepped in and snapped home the goal. Joly scored the next one for Wheeling, as he converted a give-and-go with Jacob Pritchard, by clobbering in a one-timer from the top of the right circle. The Nailers got some dynamic penalty killing in the back half of the stanza, as they thwarted seven minutes of Fort Wayne power play time, including five minutes on a match penalty. After that, the period ended with an exclamation point, as Kyle Marino dropped the gloves with Justin Vaive.
The middle frame filled the scoresheet in all areas, as the teams combined for four goals and nine penalties - all minors. The Komets were the first to get on the board in the period, as Brandon Hawkins set up Anthony Nellis for a power play goal off the rush. A pair of 4-on-3 goals came next and were separated by 1:02. Winquist whisked a pass over to Joly in the right circle to put Wheeling up by a pair, before A.J. Jenks redirected in Olivier Galipeau's point shot on the other side. Jesse Lees gave the Nailers a 4-2 lead heading into the intermission, as he curled, dragged, and sniped in a wrist shot from the right circle, while the teams played 4-on-4.
The third period followed a different script, but the Nailers got the match to the finish line. Stephen Harper capitalized on a turnover to pull Fort Wayne within one, before Winquist put the finishing touches on the 5-3 final with an empty netter.
Taran Kozun backstopped the victory in net for Wheeling, as he denied 21 of the 24 shots he faced. Louis-Phillip Guindon got the loss for the Komets, as he made 26 saves on 30 shots.
The Nailers and Komets will play each other three more times next weekend. The first two games will be in Fort Wayne on Friday at 8:00 and Saturday at 7:30, then the finale will be in Wheeling 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.