WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers have had some strong efforts against the Cincinnati Cyclones this season, but are still in search of a positive result for the standings. Wheeling had a 4-2 lead in the third period on Sunday afternoon, but the Cyclones rallied back with two goals in the final seven minutes of regulation, then Matt McLeod scored at the 2:24 mark of overtime to lift the visitors to a 5-4 win at WesBanco Arena. Bobby Hampton and Cédric Desruisseaux both registered a goal and an assist for the Nailers, while Max Johnson picked up his first professional point with an assist.
Both teams found the back of the net in the first period. Cincinnati was first on the board at the 11:31 mark, when Zack Andrusiak stepped up into the right circle and sent a wrist shot into the left side of the cage for his fourth goal in four games. The Nailers got their response with 3:30 remaining. Samuel Tremblay centered a pass to Bobby Hampton, who fired a shot against the grain and into the right side of the net.
Wheeling was looking for a strong middle stanza, and special teams helped to turn that thought into a reality. A successful penalty kill and a power play gave the Nailers their first lead of the season series. Cédric Desruisseaux had a couple of chances come up empty, but the third time was the charm, as Matt Alfaro slipped in a shot from the bottom of the right circle. Less than four minutes later, Wheeling killed off a penalty, and fed off the momentum, as Tyler Drevitch scooped up the puck in the right circle, and roofed a wrist shot in the top-right corner of the twine. With 2:04 remaining, Matt Berry got a goal back for the Cyclones, as he ramped a shot up and in on a drive to the crease.
The Nailers regained their two-goal advantage at the 12:19 mark of the the third period, and appeared to be in good shape, when Desruisseaux drilled in a one-time feed on the power play from Justin Addamo in the low slot. However, Cincinnati had a quick answer on a man advantage of its own, as Andrusiak sniped his second of the day from the right circle 1:17 later. Exactly two minutes after that, the Cyclones drew even, as Louie Caporusso set up Justin Vaive for a one-timer, which the captain converted from the top of the crease to force overtime.
In the extra session, both teams recorded one shot, and the Cyclones made their attempt count, as they ended the game at the 2:24 mark. Matt McLeod sped down the right side of the ice, and swiped a shot along the surface for the deciding marker in the 5-4 Cincinnati decision.
Beck Warm got the win in goal for the Cyclones, as he made 25 saves on 29 shots. Taylor Gauthier suffered the overtime defeat for Wheeling, despite turning aside 27 of the 32 shots he faced.
The Nailers will have one more game before their quick holiday break, as they will visit the Toledo Walleye on Friday at 7:15. Wheeling will have two home games on New Year's Weekend - both against the Reading Royals. Friday's 7:10 game will be a Frosty Friday with $2 beers, then Saturday's 6:10 tilt on New Year's Eve will feature a team calendar giveaway to the first 1,500 fans. The Nailers team shop will be open Monday through Thursday this week, and fans looking for a great stocking stuffer can purchase a Holiday Hat Pack - four ticket vouchers and for hats, starting at $64. Ticket packages 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.