INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers got off to a nice start in Friday night's game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, but unfortunately, the remainder of the contest didn't go as planned. Brent Gates and Cliff Watson both lit the lamp twice for the host Indy Fuel, who collected a 5-2 victory in the second of 13 battles between the two division rivals. Matt Alfaro and Chris Ortiz both scored for the Nailers, while Alfaro and Nick Hutchison extended their point streaks to five games.
Both teams found the back of the net in the early stages of the first period. Wheeling was first on the board at the 2:40 mark. Nick Hutchison picked off a pass behind the net, then immediately centered the puck to Matt Alfaro, who buried a wrist shot from the slot and into the bottom-right corner of the cage. The Fuel pulled even 2:40 later, when Keoni Texeira's left point shot slid along the ice, before Brent Gates ramped a redirection up and under the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken very quickly in the middle frame, as Indy needed just 37 seconds to take its first lead of the night, with the two teams playing 4-on-4. Chad Yetman twirled around in the left circle, before teeing up Cliff Watson for a one-timer in the slot, which he slapped into the bottom-right side of the net. With 3:33 remaining in the period, the Fuel upped their advantage. Brent Gates finished off a rush that started from his own blueline by sweeping in a shot from the right circle.
Indy added a key insurance marker less than six minutes into the third period to extend their lead to three, as Jacob LeGuerrier rocketed a one-time feed from Yetman into the top-right corner of the goal. Chris Ortiz brought the Nailers within two with his left point one-timer during a 6-on-4 power play, but Cliff Watson's second of the night into an empty net put the finishing touches on the 5-2 decision for the Fuel.
Cale Morris got the win in goal for Indy, as he turned aside 31 of the 33 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio was saddled with the defeat for Wheeling, as he made 26 saves on 30 shots.
The Nailers will head north in the state of Indiana to finish up their weekend on Saturday night, when they visit the Fort Wayne Komets at 7:30. Wheeling will return home for its traditional Thanksgiving Eve game on Wednesday night at 7:10 against the Indy Fuel, which will feature $2 beers and turkey bowling. The next Big 6 Promotional Night is Elf Night on Saturday, December 11th. Season memberships, mini plans, and single game tickets are available, and fans can get more information by calling (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.