CINCINNATI, OH- The Wheeling Nailers went into hostile territory on Saturday night, and came away with one of their most important victories of the season. Carter Johnson scored on the power play with 8:09 remining in the contest, as Wheeling earned its first win of the season series against the Cincinnati Cyclones in front of 12,187 fans at Heritage Bank Center. Bailey Brkin earned his third win in a row with 32 saves.
Cincinnati had the larger shot quantity in the first period, but the Nailers had better quality, as they took a 2-1 lead into the first break. Wheeling's opening tally came off of a face-off at the four-minute mark, as Samuel Tremblay won a draw in the right circle to Brooklyn Kalmikov, who roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage. The Cyclones tied the contest with their Teddy Bear Toss Goal, as Justin Vaive got a step on the defense, broke away, and shoveled a backhader into the right side of the goal. The Nailers retook the lead 3:03 of game play later. Gianluca Esteves led the charge on an odd-man rush, before he fed a pass to Tyler Drevitch, who drove hard to the net, and squeezed the puck inside of the right post, in the process of crashing into it.
One goal was scored in the middle frame, as Cincinnati knotted the score. Zack Andrusiak dribbled the puck to the top of the crease, where Louie Caporusso quickly shifted to his forehand to open up the left side of the goal for the equalizer.
Wheeling exorcised its third period demons at Heritage Bank Center, thanks to a huge power play goal with 8:09 to go. Sean Allen took a slashing penalty on Jack Van Boekel, and the Nailers made him pay just 12 seconds into the opportunity. Josh Maniscalco let a wrist shot go, which was deflected home by Carter Johnson in his 100th professional game. Wheeling limited the Cyclones to ten shots in the third period and punctuated its 3-2 win.
Bailey Brkin was tremendous again between the pipes for Wheeling, as he denied 32 of the 34 shots he faced. Beck Warm took the loss for Cincinnati, as he gave up three goals on 18 shots.
The Nailers will open up a five-game homestand when they return to WesBanco Arena on Sunday for a 4:10 clash against the Kalamazoo Wings. Following that game, fans will have the opportunity to skate with the odd-numbered players. The highlight game of the homestand is Wizards & Wands Night on Saturday, January 14th at 7:10. 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.