WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers brought a mixture of hard work and excitement to WesBanco Arena on Friday night, as they won a dramatic 3-2 overtime game against the Atlanta Gladiators. Josh Maniscalco was the hero in the extra session for the third time this season and second straight contest on home ice.
Although the teams were unfamiliar with each other, the first period saw a ton of action, as the sides combined for two goals, 27 shots, and a fight. Atlanta struck first on the man advantage at the 10:17 mark. Derek Nesbitt's one-timer from the right circle got denied, but the rebound kicked out to Sanghoon Shin, who drilled a shot back in from the left circle. The Nailers got their answer a little less than five minutes later, when Sean Josling feathered a pass to the right side of the slot, and Justin Almeida proceeded to lift a shot into the top-left corner of the cage.
The middle frame was much more defensive, and only one puck found the back of the net. That went to the Gladiators at the 9:15 mark - 14 seconds after one of their power plays had expired. Tim Davison let a shot go from the left point and got a redirection from Kameron Kielly to send the puck trickling in over the goal line.
Wheeling battled back to draw even in the early stages of the third period. Tim Doherty gathered in the puck at the top of the right circle, and sent a perfectly placed wrist shot into the left side of the goal. The Nailers outshot Atlanta 11-3 in the third, but the two teams were cautious in the non-conference clash, and both clubs were able to earn a point, as regulation ended deadlocked at two.
In the overtime, Wheeling turned to one of its most clutch players to send the fans home happy. Almeida and Sean Josling possessed the puck just inside the offensive blueline, as they waited for Josh Maniscalco to join the play. Maniscalco waltzed into the left circle and wired the winner into the left side of the net for the 3-2 victory.
Brody Claeys earned his fourth consecutive win for the Nailers, as he turned away 22 of the 24 shots he faced. Kevin Mandolese suffered the overtime loss, as he made 31 saves on 34 shots.
The Nailers will be right back at WesBanco Arena on Saturday night at 7:10 for Pittsburgh Penguins Night against the Fort Wayne Komets. Fans will have the opportunity to get their picture taken with the Stanley Cup, the Nailers will be wearing special jerseys, and mascots Iceburgh and Tux will be there for the celebration. 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.