INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The early stages of Friday night's game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum set the tone, as the Wheeling Nailers battled the Indy Fuel for the final time this season. That portion of the contest went Indy's way, as the host squad built a 2-0 lead, and ended up carrying a two-goal advantage all the way to the finish line, as the Fuel were victorious, 3-1. Sam Tremblay netted the lone marker for Wheeling.
The fresh-legged Fuel got off to a strong start on their home ice, as they put two goals onto the scoreboard before the game was ten minutes old. The first tally came at the 5:19 mark. Kirill Chaika tossed a wrist shot waist-high toward the goal from the left point. Alex Wideman tipped the puck out of the air and directed it down to ice level, where it hopped into the net. Indy followed that up less than three minutes later with a power play strike. Max Golod took a pass from Chad Yetman in the left circle, and immediately moved the puck to Luc Brown, who shoveled in the goal with a redirection from the top-right corner of the crease.
The majority of the middle frame went by without any scoring, but both teams were able to find the twine during the final two minutes. Matus Spodniak temporarily put the Fuel ahead by three, when he turned and sifted his right circle shot through Brad Barone's legs with 1:31 on the clock. Wheeling responded 54 seconds later. Davis Bunz delivered a perfect pass through the low slot to Samuel Tremblay, who put his stick on the ice, and lifted a shot into the right side of the cage.
The Nailers had a great chance to cut into their deficit, as they received a four-minute power play in the early stages of the third period. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful, and the visitors were unable to close the gap, as they fell to Indy, 3-1.
Cameron Gray collected the win for the Fuel, as he made 23 saves on 24 shots. Brad Barone turned in a solid effort in the crease for the Nailers, as he stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced in the defeat.
The Nailers will make a quick 117-mile drive to their final destination of the weekend - Cincinnati, Ohio, where they will face the Cyclones on Saturday at 7:35 and Sunday at 3:00. Wheeling will play its last two home games of the season next weekend. Friday night is a Frosty Friday and a 7:10 face-off against the Iowa Heartlanders. Then, Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night, which includes thousands of dollars worth of prizes, as well as jerseys off the players' backs, following the 7:10 contest against the Fort Wayne Komets. Tickets are available 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.