KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers and Kalamazoo Wings clearly have plenty of dislike for each other, as the two teams had a spirited battle on Friday night at Wings Event Center. Sean Josling opened the scoring with a power play goal for the Nailers, but Kalamazoo rallied back with three straight strikes in the second period, en route to a 4-1 home ice win.
The first period had a little bit of everything, as there was plenty of animosity, but also a goal for the Nailers. Jack Van Boekel got the fire started with a punishing check in center ice, and he came ready to answer the bell, as he threw down the gloves with Kalamazoo heavyweight Anthony Collins. A few more penalties followed, including one which helped to produce the opening strike. Cédric Paré and Carter Johnson had their shots stopped in the opening seconds of Wheeling's power play, but the third chance went in, as Sean Josling buried his shot from the left side.
Things turned the other way in the middle frame, as the Wings got an early marker on the man advantage to tie the score. Collin Saccoman dragged the puck wide of the goal, but was able to leave a pass behind him on the right side, which was flipped in by Coale Norris. Midway through the period, Kalamazoo went ahead. Anthony Collins centered the puck to Raymond Brice, who faked to the backhand, and stuffed in a shot as he crashed the crease. Darby Llewellyn added another one for the host side, as he jammed away at a loose puck and was able to squeeze a shot inside the right post.
Brice tacked on one final goal when he picked off a pass and fired in a shot at the 5:31 mark of the third, as the Wings prevailed, 4-1.
Evan Cormier raised his performance as the game went along, as he finished by stopping 39 of the 40 shots he faced in the win for Kalamazoo. Taylor Gauthier made 23 saves on 27 shots in the Wheeling crease.
The Nailers will return home on Sunday at 4:10 to face the Toledo Walleye. Following the game, fans will get the chance to skate with the even-numbered players. Then, on Saturday, December 3rd, Wheeling will celebrate Holiday Palooza with a small business holiday village, specialty jerseys, the annual Teddy Bear Toss, and more. Season memberships, Big 6 ticket plans, and single game tickets are available for the 2022-23 season by visiting wheelingnailers.com or 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.