WHEELING, WV- Tommy Nappier and Tomas Vomacka put on a show between the pipes on Friday night, as both had excellent performances, while looking to outdo the other. In the end, it was Nappier who got to celebrate the victory, as he stopped 30 shots in the game and another three in the shootout. Brooklyn Kalmikov netted the lone shootout goal, as the Wheeling Nailers earned a key 2-1 triumph over the Norfolk Admirals to begin the three-game weekend set at WesBanco Arena.
The Nailers and Admirals played a chess match for the majority of the first period, but with 22 seconds left until intermission, the home side got a timely opening marker. David Drake banked a pass from the defensive zone, off the bench wall, and ahead to a streaking Cédric Desruisseaux on the right side of the offensive zone. Desruisseaux flew past his defender, then roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage.
Norfolk battled back to tie the match with a 4-on-4 goal at the 4:55 mark of the middle stanza. Eric Williams floated a pass to the low slot for Stepan Timofeyev, who snuck in alone, made a bunch of stickhandles, and ultimately slid a forehand shot into the right side of the net.
The two sides played cautiously in the third period, as only ten shots made their way onto the goals. That changed in overtime, as the seven-minute frame saw six attempts find their way on target, as each club had multiple chances to end the contest.
Brooklyn Kalmikov started the shootout with a bang for Wheeling, as he drove a shot into the left side of the net. Tommy Nappier took over from there to shut the door. He forced Danny Katic wide in the first round, denied Ryan Foss with the blocker on the second try, and dove to deny Todd Burgess for the finisher in the 2-1 Nailers win.
Tommy Nappier was tremendous in goal for Wheeling, as he thwarted 30 of the 31 shots he faced during the game, then went a perfect 3-for-3 in the shootout. Tomas Vomacka also had a strong showing for the Admirals, as he made 28 saves on 29 shots in the game, then went 2-of-3 in the shootout.
The Nailers and Admirals have two more games at WesBanco Arena this weekend. Saturday night at 7:10 is First Responders Night, as the team honors its local heroes. Then, following Sunday's 4:10 tilt, fans will have the opportunity to skate with the odd-numbered players. The next Big 6 Promotional Night is Country Night on Saturday, March 11th, featuring a live post game concert by Jonathan Moody. 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.