READING, PA- Saturday night was a rare blip on the radar for the Wheeling Nailers, who have been lights out when taking a lead into the third period this season. However, the North Division leading Reading Royals were able to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 win at Santander Arena, as Kenny Hausinger netted a game winning tally for the second week in a row. The Nailers got both of their goals on the power play, courtesy of Tim Doherty and Josh Maniscalco.
The first period didn't see a ton of glorious chances, with the exception of the lone goal, which came 21 seconds into the match from the Royals. Kenny Hausinger grabbed the puck out of the right corner and delivered a centering pass to Jackson Cressey, who drove a one-timer in off the left post.
Wheeling turned things around in the middle frame with a pair of power play markers. The equalizer came off of the rush, which was started by Jesse Lees in the defensive zone. Brandon Saigeon ultimately led Tim Doherty in on the left side, where he flew into the circle, and roofed a shot in off the crossbar. With lots of family and friends in attendance, Josh Maniscalco gave the Nailers their first lead of the night with 5:31 remaining in the period. Wheeling was already on a man advantage and in the process of drawing another penalty, when Maniscalco stepped into the right circle and squeezed a shot into the right side of the cage.
Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to extend their lead, and Reading roared back with three unanswered markers. Brayden Low tied the score at the 6:36 mark, when he slid a backhander along the ice and into the right side of the net. Kenny Hausinger followed 2:35 later with the go-ahead strike, when he finished off an odd-man rush with Trevor Gooch. Finally, Ryan MacKinnon iced the 4-2 Royals win by slamming in a one-timer from high in the zone.
Kirill Ustimenko got the win for Reading, as he returned from the AHL to make 20 saves on 22 shots. Brody Claeys saw his seven-game winning streak in a Wheeling uniform come to a conclusion, despite stopping 23 of the 27 shots he faced.
The Nailers will play three home games in the upcoming week, which starts with a 7:10 tilt on Wednesday night against the Toledo Walleye. Wheeling and Reading will then do battle at WesBanco Arena on Saturday at 7:10 and Sunday at 4:10. Sunday's game is Pups & Pucks, in which fans get to bring their dogs to the game, there will be a dog treat giveaway and a puppy parade. 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.