FORT WAYNE, IN- The story of Sunday afternoon's game between the Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets wasn't about which side had the higher shots total, but the team that scored more. Wheeling poured 20 shots on goal in the first period and 41 in the game, but the Komets capitalized by scoring on seven of their 25 attempts, as they collected a 7-3 triumph at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Kellen Jones led the way for Fort Wayne with a six-point day, while Justin Almeida had a goal and an assist for the Nailers.
The Nailers had about as good of a first period as they could have, except for one area, and that area was the most important one - the score. Wheeling outshot Fort Wayne, 20-7, but trailed 2-0. The Komets netted their first goal at the 11:59 mark, off of a transition rush. Zach Pochiro deked his way to the middle of the ice, then plated a pass to the top of the crease, where Tyler Busch dunked the puck into the open side of the cage. 1:16 later, Fort Wayne extended its advantage. Connor Jones let a shot go from just above the left side of the goal line, which deflected off of Brody Claeys' stick and floated back in over his shoulder.
Wheeling closed to within two on a couple of occasions in the middle frame, but ended the period down by four. Zach Pochiro fired a cannon of a one-timer from the top of the left circle to extend the Komets lead, before Justin Almeida put the Nailers on the board by roofing in a wrist shot from the left circle. Fort Wayne erased Wheeling's momentum by scoring 27 seconds later. Adam Brubacher let a shot go from the left point, which got deflected into the net by Kellen Jones. Sam Houde got another goal back for the Nailers on the power play, as he took a lead pass from Josh Maniscalco and flew in, before chipping a shot into the top-left corner of the net. The Jones twins connected on the man advantage for the Komets, as Kellen delivered a perfect pass to Connor's stick, then Kylor Wall clobbered in a slap shot in the final minute for a 6-2 score after two.
Both teams tacked on a goal in the third period, as Tyler Busch finished off a shorthanded odd-man rush for Fort Wayne, before Bobby Hampton deposited the rebound of Almeida's shot for the Nailers to make the final score 7-3.
Samuel Harvey got the win for the Komets, as he denied 38 of the 41 shots he faced, including all 20 in the first period. Brody Claeys surrendered four goals on ten shots for Wheeling, before giving way to Louis-Philip Guindon, who was 12-of-15 in relief.
The Nailers and Komets will do battle again in Fort Wayne on Wednesday night at 7:30. Wheeling will then play two home games next weekend. Friday, April 1st is a Frosty Friday at 7:10 against the Indy Fuel, then Sunday April 3rd against the Fort Wayne Komets at 4:10 features a post game skate. A couple of notable upcoming promotions include April 9th, when the Kelly Cup comes to WesBanco Arena, and April 15th, which is Fan Appreciation Night. 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.