CINCINNATI, OH- The Wheeling Nailers and Cincinnati Cyclones have developed plenty of hatred for each other this season, and that was the case on Friday night at Heritage Bank Center. One other thing the Nailers disliked was the final score, as Cincinnati scored three goals in the second and three in the third, en route to a 7-2 win on home ice. Tim Doherty and Shaw Boomhower were Wheeling's goal scorers.
Both teams lit the lamp in the first period, but fans had to wait a bit, as the two tallies came during the final five minutes. Cincinnati was first to strike, moments after a successful penalty kill. Jesse Schultz led a 3-on-1 rush up the ice, which mostly featured passing between he and Lincoln Griffin. Griffin had the best angle at the net, and he ended up driving in his shot from the middle of the slot. With 1:51 left on the clock, the Nailers drew even. Josh Maniscalco had a couple of attempts blocked, before the puck eventually found Tim Doherty, who spun and launched a wrist shot up and under the crossbar.
A couple of miscues cost Wheeling in the middle frame, as the Cyclones netted three of the four goals to go ahead by two. At the 4:13 mark, a turnover at the offensive blueline led Cincinnati in the other direction with numbers. Wyatt Ege ended up sifting the puck into the crease, where it was touched into the goal by Jesse Schultz. The Cyclones utilized strong puck movement during 4-on-4 play to extend their lead. Louie Caporusso skated the puck from left to right across the slot, before leaving a pass at the top of the crease for a tap-in by Griffin. The Nailers got a goal back when the penalties expired, as Shaw Boomhower broke out of the box, and dodged Sean Bonar's lunge, before tapping the puck into a wide open cage. Cincinnati regained its two-goal lead with 2:09 to go, as Griffin completed his hat trick by crushing in a one-time feed from Bair Gendunov.
The Cyclones tacked on three more in the third period, as Wyatt Ege blasted in a left circle one-timer on the power play, Louie Caporusso swept in a shot from the slot, and Gianluca Esteves roofed a wrist shot on the left side for a 7-2 final.
Sean Bonar collected the win for Cincinnati, as he made 31 saves on 33 shots. Stefanos Lekkas suffered the defeat for the Nailers, as he stopped 23 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Nailers will wrap up their road trip on Saturday at 7:15, when they visit the Toledo Walleye. Wheeling's next homestand is February 4th, 5th, and 6th, starting with a Frosty Friday against the Indy Fuel at 7:10. The next big promotional night is Pittsburgh Penguins Night on Saturday, February 12th, which features the Stanley Cup. Season memberships, single game tickets, and partial 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.