INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Wheeling Nailers and Indy Fuel are going to see a lot of each other in the next few weeks, and Friday night's 112 penalty minute tussle at Indiana Farmers Coliseum definitely set the tone. Unfortunately, the Nailers ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. Spencer Watson and Chad Yetman snapped a third period deficit with goals 1:27 apart from each other, as the Fuel collected the 6-4 win on home ice. Cam Hausinger had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick for Wheeling, and was one of five Nailers with multiple points.
Coming off of a coaching change earlier in the week, the Fuel started the game with some energy, and found themselves ahead 3-1 after the first period. Indy opened the scoring at the 8:05 mark. Jordan Schneider had his point shot stopped, but the rebound was scooped in by Riley McKay on the right side of the crease. The Nailers answered just 55 seconds later during 4-on-4 play. Sean Josling cut his way across the offensive zone, and rocketed a shot in off the left post from the right hashmark. The Fuel regained the lead 3:48 after that, when Spencer Watson tipped in a long distance shot by Jan Mandat. Indy struck again with 1:17 to go. Karl El-Mir had the puck poked off his tape, but Scnneider stepped up into the left circle and roofed a shot into the top-right corner of the cage.
The middle frame was much better for Wheeling, as the visitors rebounded to tie the tilt. Cam Hausinger trimmed the deficit down to one at the 6:57 mark, when he faked a shot from the left circle, then drove to the net, where he punched a shot through Cale Morris' legs. Then, the Nailers cashed in on the power play, as Josling fed Sam Houde, who smoked in a wrist shot from the right circle. The minor was nine seconds old when the red light got turned on.
Unfortunately, the momentum didn't carry into the third, and the Fuel went back on top with two quick strikes. Spencer Watson dragged the puck off of the wall and danced his way into the slot to convert at the 1:04 mark, then Chad Yetman buried a feed from Chase Lang to finish off a 2-on-1 just 1:27 later. Josh Maniscalco brought Wheeling within one, when his right circle attempt bounced off of Morris and trickled in over the line. The Nailers came a Josling post away from an equalizer, and Karl El-Mir's shorthanded empty netter put the finishing touches on Indy's 6-4 win.
Cale Morris got the victory in goal for the Fuel, as he made 24 saves on 28 shots. Brody Claeys got saddled with the defeat, as he turned away 25 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Fuel will clash again in Indianapolis on Saturday at 7:00, before Wheeling continues on to Kalamazoo on Sunday at 3:00. The next home game for the Nailers is Throwback Night on Friday, March 25th at 7:10, which will feature special guests Louis Dumont and Paul Bissonnette. The Nailers will also be wearing specialty jerseys, and it's a Frosty Friday with $2 beer specials. The opponent that evening is Kalamazoo. 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.