WHEELING, WV- Friday night saw an odd game at WesBanco Arena, as the Wheeling Nailers scored three power play goals and recorded 51 shots on goal. However, those numbers weren't enough to overcome a three-goal second period surge by the Indy Fuel. Spencer Watson became Indy's all-time leading scorer with a pair of assists and Alex Wideman posted a three-point night, as the Fuel were victorious, 6-3. Sean Josling scored twice for Wheeling, while Josh Maniscalco notched three assists, and Cam Hausinger had a couple of helpers in his return to the lineup.
The Nailers got things started with the opening goal of the evening, but Indy responded with a pair to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Wheeling's marker came off of a rush into the zone on the power play. Brooklyn Kalmikov dropped a pass to Cam Hausinger, then proceeded to drive to the net. In the mean time, Hausinger delivered a feed over to Josh Maniscalco, who then put his pass right on Kalmikov's tape for a tip-in on the left side of the crease. The Fuel tied things up shortly after the midway mark of the period. Chad Yetman held onto the puck along the left boards, which allowed Alex Wideman to jump into the slot, receive the pass from his teammate, and roof a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the cage. Indy then went ahead with a fortuitous bounce on the man advantage. Shane Kuzmeski's dish popped up in the air, then landed at the top of the crease, where Chase Lang turned to his backhand, and swept a shot in along the ice.
The Fuel carried their momentum into the middle frame, as they added three goals to their lead. Another wild bounce went Indy's way at the 1:30 mark, as Spencer Watson's right circle wrist shot blasted off of Bryan Lemos and into the goal. Indy scored again 1:12 later, when Chad Yetman deposited the rebound of his initial one-timer, which was set up by Wideman. Cameron Hillis potted the final goal of the period off the rush, when he rifled home a one-time pass from Cliff Watson on the left side of the slot.
The third period was all Wheeling, as the home team poured 24 shots on goal in an attempt to erase its sizeable deficit. Sean Josling trimmed the four-goal gap down to two with back-to-back power play goals in a span of 1:27. On his first tally, he stuffed in the rebound of Josh Maniscalco's shot off the back glass. His second goal hit off of an Indy stick to change its direction as it spun into the right side of the net. Unfortunately, the comeback stopped there, and Seamus Malone put the wraps on the 6-3 Fuel win with an empty net power play marker in the final minute.
Zach Driscoll had a ridiculously busy night in goal for Indy, as he thwarted 48 of the 51 shots he faced, including 22 of 24 in the third period alone. Taylor Gauthier took the defeat for the Nailers, as he surrendered five goals on 21 shots.
The Nailers will travel to Fort Wayne on Saturday to face the Komets at 7:30, then turn right back around and return to Wheeling for a 4:10 game on Sunday against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Following the game, fans will have the opportunity to skate with the even-numbered players. Other exciting upcoming promotions include the annual New Year's Eve Game, as well as Wizards & Wands on January 14th. Following that contest, fans will get the chance to skate with the even-numbered players. 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.