WHEELING, WV- New Year's Eve has been a fun tradition at WesBanco Arena, and the Wheeling Nailers added to that on Friday night. Josh Maniscalco scored twice in the third period, as the Nailers earned their 18th all-time win on December 31st by taking down the Norfolk Admirals, 5-2.
The opening stanza saw just one goal, and it came on the first shot of the night, as the Admirals found the back of the net just 31 seconds into the tilt. Mackenzie Dwyer let a one-timer go from the top of the left circle, sending the puck into the top-left corner of the cage. The period had some fire in the closing minutes, as three players received game misconducts for their roles in an altercation in front of the benches.
Wheeling got things rolling in the early stages of the middle frame, as it lit the lamp twice in a span of 68 seconds. The first marker came on an odd-man rush. Jared Cockrell skated the puck down the left side, then fed a pass through a huge gap in the middle of the ice to Brandon Saigeon, who pounded in a one-timer. The Nailers built off that goal, and came away with another quick one. Adam Smith's left side shot produced a rebound for Justin Almeida, who had his attempt whacked in by Patrick Watling.
The home team not only protected its lead in the third period, but built on it. The two sides started by exchanging four-on-four strikes, as Josh Maniscalco crashed the net to tip in a Bobby Hampton try, before Alex Tonge roofed a wrist shot for Norfolk. With 4:42 to go, Wheeling got a key insurance goal, as Maniscalco surfed into the middle of the slot, and swiped a backhand in along the ice. Félix Paré iced the 5-2 victory with an empty netter, which was helped by a 6-for-6 effort on the penalty kill.
Tommy Nappier turned in a solid performance in goal for the Nailers, as he denied 27 of the 29 shots he faced in the win. Dylan Wells took the loss for the Admirals, as he made 25 saves on 29 shots.
The Nailers and Admirals will open the 2022 calendar year against each other on Saturday at 7:10. That will be the second of five home games in a two-week span for Wheeling, who hosts Reading on Wednesday, followed by Indy next Saturday, and Kalamazoo next Sunday. 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.