WHEELING, WV- A sellout crowd of 5,067 fans packed their way into WesBanco Arena on Saturday night for a wild hockey game between the Wheeling Nailers and the Cincinnati Cyclones. The match needed extra time to be decided, and despite an incredible effort by Wheeling, especially on the penalty kill, it was the Cyclones who came away with the bonus point. Josh Passolt scored the deciding goal at the 3:54 mark of overtime for the 4-3 result in favor of the visitors. Cédric Desruisseaux had a goal and an assist, while Davis Bunz dished out two primary assists and played loads of huge minutes on the blueline.
Both teams were successful on one of three power plays in the first period, as the squads skated to the dressing rooms with a 1-1 deadlock. The Nailers got their power play goal first at the 12:26 mark with some smooth puck movement around the top of the offensive zone. Brooklyn Kalmikov touched the puck to the middle of the blueline for Davis Bunz, who dished a feed over to Cédric Desruisseaux, who stepped up into the left circle, and blazed a wrist shot in along the ice. Cincinnati's equalizer came off of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which was assessed to the Wheeling bench. Patrick Polino was the goal scorer, as he roofed a wrist shot from the left circle.
The Nailers played the middle frame with a ridiculous amount of heart. The home side was forced to kill nine minutes in penalties, including a five-minute major with only three defensemen available at the time. After the expired, Wheeling grabbed the momentum and took the lead. Bunz delivered a perfect pass to the top-left corner of the crease, where Gianluca Esteves crashed in and redirected the puck into the left side of the twine.
After ten combined power plays in the first two periods, hockey made its way onto the agenda in the third, which started with three goals in the first five minutes. The Cyclones got their first tying marker 36 seconds into the stanza, when Justin Vaive potted the rebound of Matt Berry's initial shot from the left circle. 40 seconds later, Wheeling went back on top, as Bobby Hampton's right side shot banked in off of a Cincinnati player. Berry knotted things up 3:16 after that, when he stole the puck at his own blueline, broke away, and shoveled a shot into the top-left corner of the goal.
Both clubs had great chances to end the contest, as there were seven total shots in overtime. However, the game got decided off of a face-off at the 3:54 mark of the extra session. Berry won the draw to Josh Passolt, who rang a shot in off of the crossbar to give Cincinnati the 4-3 win.
Beck Warm got the victory in goal for the Cyclones, as he made 28 saves on 31 shots. Brad Barone helped the Nailers earn a point, as he stopped 32 of the 36 shots he faced.
The Nailers will close out their homestand on Sunday afternoon at 4:10, when they collide with the Kalamazoo Wings. Following the game, fans will have the opportunity to skate with the even-numbered players. The next Big 6 Promotional Night is Pittsburgh Penguins Night on Saturday, February 11th. 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.