FORT WAYNE, IN- The Central Division Semifinal Series between the Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets will need all seven games to determine a winner. Four of the first six games have been decided by one goal, including game six on Monday night at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Cam Hausinger was an absolute star for the Nailers, as he scored his second career hat trick, and Wheeling's first in a playoff game since Zack Torquato in 2015. However, Matthew Boudens' marker at 12:10 of overtime tied the series for Fort Wayne, as the Komets prevailed 4-3 in game six.
The two teams played cautiously in the opening minutes of play, before ramping it up in the back half of the first period. Wheeling was the first team to get on the scoreboard at the 14:22 mark. Chris Ortiz drove a cross-slot pass to Cam Hausinger, who dragged his way to the top of the crease and willed in a backhander. Following the final media timeout, the Komets put a surge together and took the lead with two goals in a span of 20 seconds. Anthony Petruzzelli netted the equalizer, when he whacked in a bouncing puck on the right side of the crease. He was followed by Zach Pochiro, who stole a Nailers pass, walked down the middle, and buried a wrist shot.
Hausinger continued his phenomenal series, as he completed his hat trick by sandwiching two goals around one by Fort Wayne. His first tying tally came on a power play in the first minute of the period, as he ultilized his backhand to jam in the rebound of Chris Ortiz's initial shot from the center point. The Komets briefly retook the lead at the 9:06 mark, when Matt Alvaro made a nifty through-the-legs pass to Lynden McCallum, who chipped a shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Hausinger answered 53 seconds later, when he smacked in a centering pass from Sam Houde at the top of the crease.
After six goals in the first 30 minutes of the game, the latter part of regulation saw the opposite, as neither team was able to settle the score in the second or third periods. The contest progressed to overtime, and in the extra session, Fort Wayne emerged with the win. Matthew Boudens battled his way into the low slot, then flipped a shot into the top-left corner of the goal for the 4-3 final.
Samuel Harvey picked up the victory in goal for the Komets, as he made 30 saves on 33 shots. Louis-Philip Guindon turned in another strong performance in goal for the Nailers, as he turned away 44 of the 48 shots he faced in the defeat.
The Nailers and Komets will play the deciding game seven of the Central Division Semifinal Series on Tuesday night at 7:30 in Fort Wayne. 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.