WHEELING, WV- Friday night's game between the Wheeling Nailers and Kalamazoo Wings at WesBanco Arena came down to a few inches. The Nailers rang a goal in off of the post during the second period, then watched as two posts kept a Kalamazoo tying marker off of the board in the closing seconds, as they earned the 4-3 home ice triumph. Chris Ortiz scored twice for Wheeling, including the eventual game winner at the 7:37 mark of the third.
The Nailers got a goal in the first period, but it was sandwiched in between two for the visitors. Kalamazoo's first marker came at the 2:04 mark, when Justin Taylor came off of the right wall, and whipped a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net. Wheeling got its response courtesy of Chris Ortiz. Tim Doherty grabbed the puck off of a rush by Justin Almeida, and banked a shot off of Ortiz, which dribbled in over the goal line. The Wings regained the lead on the man advantage. Justin Murray powered a shot wide of the cage, but got a big bounce off the wall to set up Logan Lambdin, who roofed a shot from the bottom of the left circle.
The middle frame was a different story, as Wheeling controlled the play to a 16-5 shots advantage, and lit the lamp a couple of times. The tying tally came at the 8:35 mark. Sam Houde wound his way around the offensive zone, before delivering a pass to Patrick Watling, who clobbered in a one-timer from the top of the right circle. 6:36 later, the Nailers took the lead off the rush. Doherty touched a pass into the slot for Sean Josling, who skated onto the feed, hesitated, then zipped a wrist shot in along the ice.
At the 7:37 mark of the third period, Wheeling got what it thought would be an insurance goal, but it turned out to be much larger, as Ortiz buried a wrist shot from the right circle. That's because Kalamazoo closed the margin to one with under a minute to go on the power play. Tanner Sorenson squibbed a backhander toward the net, which was guided in by Erik Bradford. The Nailers hung onto their 4-3 win by inches, as Bradford and Taylor rang the posts on consecutive shots in the final five seconds.
Brody Claeys collected his seventh consecutive victory for Wheeling, as he thwarted 21 of the 24 shots he faced. Trevor Gorsuch suffered the loss for the Wings, as he made 36 saves on 40 shots.
The Nailers and Wings will meet up in Wheeling again on Saturday at 7:10 for Mardi Gras Night, featuring a bead giveaway. There will also be a full team post game autograph session. The next big promotional night is Throwback Night on March 25th, starring Paul Bissonnette and Louis Dumont. 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.