FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets finished the first half of their home-and-home series with a bang on Friday night at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. There was a goalie fight and 162 combined penalty minutes dished out. As for the contest itself, the Nailers had some moments where they looked great, as they had 2-0 and 3-2 leads, which included Ross Krieger's first professional goal. However, the Komets netted three goals in less than five minutes during the second period, as they rallied back for a 6-4 victory.Both teams came out ready to score, as the first period resulted in a 2-2 deadlock. The Nailers had some good jump out of the gates, and they responded to an altercation by scoring the opening goal moments later. Cédric Desruisseaux battled his way in on the left side of the offensive zone. As he crashed toward the goal, he was able to put the puck on his backhand, and jam in his league-leading ninth opening marker of the year. Louie Roehl added to the Wheeling advantage, when he whirled around the back of the net, and banked the puck in off of a Fort Wayne defender. The Komets got their first goal off of a deflection as well. Garrett Van Wyhe tossed the puck toward the low slot from the left wall, and got a bounce off of a Nailer to send the puck floating into the net. 2:10 later, Fort Wayne pulled even on a power play. Matt Alvaro slid a pass from circle to circle for Drake Rymsha, who drove a slap shot in along the ice from the left side.Wheeling had all of the energy in the world to start the middle frame, and that led to the visitors' second lead of the night. Ross Krieger flew down the left side of the ice and into the circle, where he proceeded to roof a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Krieger became the second straight Nailer to score a goal in his professional debut. However, Fort Wayne pushed back in a big way with three goals in a span of less than five minutes. Oliver Cooper netted the equalizer, when he lifted a shot into the top-right corner from the inner edge of the left circle. 58 seconds later, Marcus McIvor threw in a right point wrist shot that clanged off the bottom of the left post and dribbled in over the goal line. Rymsha followed that with his second of the contest, as he pounded in a rebound, after mutliple attempts by Shawn Boudrias and Mark Rassell.The Nailers continued to battle hard, and they climbed to within one at the 6:33 mark of the third period. Gianluca Esteves sent Tyler Drevitch in on a partial breakaway, which Drevitch converted by faking to his backhand and reaching his shot around Ryan Fanti. Drevitch followed that up with a fight 22 seconds later, as he challenged Matt Boudens after a hit on Esteves. But that was only a minor incident compared to what was to come. Matt Alvaro put the finishing touches on Fort Wayne's 6-4 win with an empty netter, then proceeded to get up and shove with Roehl. A bunch of scrums took place around the Wheeling net, but the main event took place on the other side of the red line, as Brad Barone and Ryan Fanti gave the 7,619 fans a goalie fight.Ryan Fanti got the win for the Komets, as he stopped 38 of the 42 shots he faced. Corbin Kaczperski didn't face a shot in his 34-second relief outing. Tommy Nappier suffered the loss for the Nailers, as he gave up five goals on 24 shots. Brad Barone was a perfect 15-for-15 in relief for Wheeling.The Nailers and Komets will race down the highways to Wheeling for a re-match on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena, which starts at 7:10. The promotion is Country Night, as the Nailers will be wearing specialty jerseys, and there will be a live post game concert by Jonathan Moody. The St. Baldrick's Foundation will also be celebrating their 20th anniversary, shaving heads and collecting donations to help find conquer childhood cancer. 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.
Nailers Go Down, but Not Without a Fight
Saturday, March 11th
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