NORFOLK, VA- The Wheeling Nailers spread lots of holiday cheer at Norfolk Scope Arena on Saturday night, as they turned on the red light nine times. Making the 9-2 victory over the Norfolk Admirals even more impressive was the fact that the nine goals were scored by nine different players. There were also seven players who recorded multiple points in Wheeling's biggest offensive output since 2017, which occurred in the same building.
The Nailers had a crazy good start, as they came out flying with four goals before the game was ten minutes old. Fans were barely in their seats for the first marker, which came at the 38-second mark. Matt Alfaro stole the puck away, and fed Jared Cockrell, who turned around and zipped in a slap shot from the right circle. Alfaro also helped to create the second goal, as he sauced a pass to the front of the net, where Sam Houde connected on his backhand. Next on the board was Brandon Saigeon, who wired in a one-time pass from Cockrell on the left side of the slot. 36 seconds after that, Wheeling chased starting netminder Beck Warm from the Norfolk crease, as Bobby Hampton tucked a Nick Mangone pass into a wide open left side of the twine. The lone blemish of the opening stanza came from Blake Murray's wrister on the right side of the slot.
The second period followed a similar script, as the Nailers continued to turn on the red light. At the 2:44 mark, Adam Smith caught a cross-ice pass from Houde, and proceeded to skate in and bury a shot from the bottom of the left circle. 29 seconds later, Houde set up another strike, as he fed Alfaro, who snapped his stick while depositing a one-timer into the cage. A little more than two minutes after that, Chris Ortiz joined the fun, as he drove in to convert a pass from Saigeon. After Alex Tonge picked up the second goal of the night for the Admirals, Cam Hausinger delivered the second straight four-goal stanza for his club, as he hammered in a wrist shot from the right circle.
Josh Maniscalco clobbered home one more goal in the third period with a one-timer from the center point to put the finishing touches on Wheeling's 9-2 triumph.
Stefanos Lekkas earned the win in goal for the Nailers by stopping 27 of the 29 shots he faced. Beck Warm was the losing goaltender for Norfolk, as he gave up four goals on five shots, before getting yanked. Dylan Wells made 15 saves on 20 shots in relief.
The Nailers now begin their week long holiday break, before returning to action on Sunday, December 26th for a 6:10 game (note the change in start time) against the Cincinnati Cyclones. After that, Wheeling will be home on New Year's Eve against Norfolk at 6:10 for a Frosty Friday, which also features a Gatsby theme and a light stick giveaway, courtesy of Unified Bank. Season memberships, single game tickets, and holiday packages 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.