INDEPENDENCE, MO- The Wheeling Nailers were less than one minute away from earning a point in Friday's game at Cable Dahmer Arena, but instead, were left with a heartbreaking defeat. Pascal Laberge scored a 4-on-4 goal with 40 seconds left in the third period to lift the Kansas City Mavericks to the 3-2 home ice victory. Defenseman Louie Roehl led Wheeling's offensive attack with a goal and an assist.
The first period was a feeling out process for two teams who were playing for just the third time ever. However, one puck did find the back of the net for Kansas City with two minutes remaining. Joshua Lammon stole the puck at the top of his defensive zone, then flew in the other direction on a breakaway. Lammon kept the puck on his forehand, and zipped a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the net.
The Nailers bounced back with a strong middle frame, as they held an 11-6 advantage in shots, and that was complemented by a tying tally. Adam Smith set up the play in his return from the AHL, as he directed a shot in from the left point. The puck rebounded to Samuel Tremblay who took a step to his right and wired his wrist shot into the open side of the twine.
The final stanza started on a positive note for Wheeling, as the visitors took the lead at the 10:53 mark. Cédric Desruisseaux delivered a perfect pass through the slot to Louie Roehl, who jumped up from the blueline, and drove a one-timer into the right side of the cage. Unfortunately, that advantage lasted for just 42 seconds, as Keegan Howdeshell's wraparound stuff inside the right post brought the Mavericks even at two. Then, with just 40 seconds left in the game, Kansas City netted a 4-on-4 goal to come out on top. Pascal Laberge cruised across the offensive zone from left to right, then fired a shot against the grain, which flew into the left side of the goal. The Nailers were unable to pick themselves back up from that, as they fell, 3-2.
Shane Starrett picked up the win against his former team for the Mavericks, as he made 27 saves on 29 shots. Bailey Brkin suffered the defeat for Wheeling, despite turning away 25 of the 28 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Mavericks will meet up in Independence again on Saturday at 8:05. Wheeling's next home game is a Frosty Friday on February 3rd, when the team welcomes the Iowa Heartlanders to town for a 7:10 face-off. Saturday, February 4th is also a 7:10 game against Iowa, and that will be the annual Pups & Pucks Game, when fans are invited to bring their dogs to the game. The next Big 6 Promotional Game is Pittsburgh Penguins Night on Saturday, February 11th at 7:10 against the Norfolk Admirals. The special guests for Pittsburgh Penguins Night are Tyler Kennedy, Jean-Sébastien Aubin, and François Leroux. 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.