WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers saved the best for last in more ways than one, as they closed out the 2022 calendar year in thrilling fashion on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling trailed the Reading Royals 5-3 at the end of the second period, but rallied back with three goals in the third for the 6-5 triumph - the team's 19th all-time win on New Year's Eve. Peter Laviolette III started the comeback with his first pro goal, Brooklyn Kalmikov tied the score, then Justin Addamo's second of the night won it with 3:23 remaining.
Both teams came out ready to score, as the two sides combined to light the lamp five times on 17 shots in the opening 20 minutes. The Nailers opened the scoring at the 7:01 mark. Carter Johnson delivered a tape-to-tape centering pass, which Justin Addamo slammed into the right side of the cage. Cédric Desruisseaux was the next player to find the twine, as he capitalized on a power play chance by sniping a wrist shot from the left circle. Jordan Timmons put Reading on the scoreboard less than two minutes later, as he deposited the rebound of Garrett McFadden's dipping shot, which rang off the right post. That was followed by two tallies in a span of 11 seconds, as Adam Smith drove home a one-timer from the center point, then Trey Bradley squeezed in a shot from the slot for a 3-2 Wheeling lead through one.
The middle frame was all Royals, as they turned what started as a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead. Charlie Gerard knotted the score at the 3:05 mark, when he broke down the right side, and roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner. That chased Tommy Nappier from the Nailers net, as Bailey Brkin took over. Reading didn't let up, as Dominic Cormier gave the visitors their first lead of the night, when his right point wrister rang in off of the right post. 1:37 later, Max Newton made the score 5-3, when he flipped in the rebound of Evan Barratt's shot from the left circle.
An early goal dictated the third period, as Wheeling flipped the game back in the other direction. That early marker came courtesy of Peter Laviolette III, who grabbed a pass from Tyler Drevitch, and smoked a shot into the right side of the net. Just over the midway mark of the stanza, the Nailers utilized the power play to pull even. Chris Ortiz floated his third assist of the night to Brooklyn Kalmikov, who got the goaltender down, before shoveling a shot into the top portion of the goal. Wheeling wasn't satisfied with just a tie, and with 3:23 to go, Addamo stepped up to put the home side ahead for good. The rookie forward gained the offensive blueline, then whipped the game winning goal in along the ice, as the Nailers were victorious, 6-5.
Bailey Brkin earned the win in his Wheeling debut, as he blocked 17 of the 19 shots he faced, after taking over for Tommy Nappier, who made eight saves on 11 shots. Kaden Fulcher took the loss for the Royals, as he gave up six goals on 34 shots.
The Nailers will open the 2023 calendar year with six home games in the next two weeks. The first of those is a Frosty Friday on January 6th at 7:10, when they battle the Fort Wayne Komets. That will be followed by a Sunday, January 8th 4:10 tilt against the Kalamazoo Wings, which will be followed by a skate with the odd-numbered players. Wizards & Wands is also right around the corner on Saturday, January 14th. That night will feature a wand giveaway, a wizarding school acceptance letter, quidditch during intermission, a sorting hat station, butter beer, specialty jerseys, and more. 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.