WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers found themselves in their third straight one-goal game against a divisional rival, as they clashed with the Indy Fuel on Sunday afternoon at WesBanco Arena. Chris Ortiz netted his second goal of the game at the 4:11 mark of overtime to lift the Nailers to the 3-2 triumph, as they extended their point streak to six games, and earned five of six points on the weekend. Nick Hutchison also extended his personal point streak to a league best 12 games.
Both teams lit the lamp in the opening stanza, and the goals came 49 seconds apart from each other. Indy struck first when the sides were playing 4-on-4. Jared Thomas' shot off the rush got blocked, but the rebound went straight to Cédric Lacroix, who tapped in a shot from the right side. The Nailers bounced back well, as they went to the net hard. Tim Doherty tossed the puck in that direction, and Félix Paré crashed in to get the reward with the tying marker.
Neither squad was able to break through during the second period, as Wheeling fended off an 11-5 shots advantage by the visitors.
Early in the third period, the Nailers took the lead. Nick Hutchison found Chris Ortiz, who stepped up into the right circle, and drilled a shot into the left side of the net. With less than two minutes remaining, the Fuel drew even and forced overtime with the netminder pulled. Liam Folkes centered a pass that bounced off of Lacroix and trickled into the goal.
The extra session was all Wheeling, who had multiple chances to end the contest. Finally, on their seventh shot of the period at the 4:11 mark, the Nailers got their victory. Hutchison delivered a perfect pass across the slot to Ortiz, who slammed home his second of the match from the right side for the 3-2 final.
Stefanos Lekkas saved his best for last, as he earned the win by stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced, after starting all three games this weekend. Tom Aubrun took the overtime loss for Indy, as he made 29 saves on 32 shots.
The Nailers will get their fill of the Cincinnati Cyclones in the coming week, as the two division rivals will play three times in a span of five days. The first clash will take place in Cincinnati on Wednesday at 7:35, before a re-match in Wheeling on Saturday at 7:10. Saturday is Elf Night, which also features the annual Teddy Bear Toss. There will be an elf hat giveaway, an elf costume contest, and a candy spaghettti eating contest. 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.