NORTH CHARLESTON, SC- Saturday night was a long one for the Wheeling Nailers, as they challenged the South Carolina Stingrays at North Charleston Coliseum. The two sides played to a 1-1 tie in the first period, but South Carolina opened things up in the second, en route to a 6-2 triumph on home ice. Austin Fyten had a goal and a fight for the Nailers.
The game started with a bang, as a couple of huge hits led to a fight between Austin Fyten and Zach Malatesta just 33 seconds into the match. The opening ten minutes featured a lot of penalties, but one of those minors led to the Nailers taking the lead. Patrick McNally dished the puck to Austin Fyten, who roofed a wrist shot from the right face-off dot for the power play strike. South Carolina pulled even with 4:55 to go, when Doyle Somerby transitioned ahead, before connecting with Max Novak, who chipped in a shot from the right side.
The middle frame was a tough go for Wheeling, who surrendered three straight goals, before getting one of its own in the closing minutes. Andrew Cherniwchan put the home team in the lead, as he broke through the defense, then faked to his forehand and slid in the goal. Less than a minute after a successful penalty kill by the Nailers, Brett Supinski snagged a loose puck behind the net and jammed in a wraparound, giving his squad some insurance. Tyler Nanne's right point one-timer lit the lamp again for the Stingrays, before Matt Alfaro banged in a Patrick Watling feed from the bottom of the right circle for a 4-2 score after two.
South Carolina punctuated its win with two goals in the third period. Tyler Nanne blasted in a slap shot from the high slot on the man advantage, then Matthew Weis connected on a wrist shot from the left circle for a 6-2 final.
Hunter Shepard got the victory in goal for the Stingrays, as he made 17 saves on 19 shots. Louis-Philip Guindon turned aside 44 of the 50 shots he faced in the Wheeling crease.
The Nailers will make a quick stop in Greenville on Sunday to face the Swamp Rabbits at 3:05, before closing out their series with the Stingrays on Tuesday night. Wheeling will then put the finishing touches on the 2020-21 season with two home games on June 4th and 5th. Both are 7:10 starts against the Indy Fuel, with Superman night on Friday and Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday. A limited number of tickets are available for Wheeling Nailers home games. 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.