WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers are playing their final home weekend of the season, and on Friday night, they gave their fans a lot to cheer about. Wheeling had a great start to the contest with two goals in the first period, then poured in four during the third period to break a 2-2 tie and take down the Iowa Heartlanders, 6-2 at WesBanco Arena. Brooklyn Kalmikov and Keltie Jeri-Leon both registered two-goal games, as Jeri-Leon netted his first two in a Wheeling uniform. David Drake started the third period explosion with his fourth marker of the campaign.
The Nailers came out with an exceptional first period, as they outshot Iowa, 17-7, and that translated to a 2-0 lead. Chris Ortiz picked up a secondary assist on the opening marker, but his net drive created a great distraction, as Brooklyn Kalmikov let a shot go from the left wing wall, which found its way into the net. Wheeling followed that up by converting on a power play. With lots of bodies setting up in the low slot, Keltie Jeri-Leon sifted a shot through the traffic and in from the top of the right circle.
Brad Barone played a key role in maintaining the 2-0 lead through the middle frame, as he denied all 14 attempts sent his way during the 20-minute stretch.
The Heartlanders battled back with a pair of goals in the first 7:13 of third to even the score. Jake Durflinger put Iowa on the board, when his pass banked off of a Nailer and went straight back to him in the left circle, where he sent his next opportunity into the net. Yuki Miura potted the equalizer from beneath the left circle, when he touched in a pass from Chris Lipe. Wheeling rebounded quickly and retook the lead just 1:33 later. David Drake led the charge on a 2-on-1 rush, and kept the puck to himself, as he fired a missile of a wrist shot into the left side of the cage. 2:13 after that, Brooklyn Kalmikov put the home side ahead by two, when his right circle wrist shot sailed into the left side of the twine. Next up was Tyler Drevitch, who cruised down the slot, faked to his forehand, and shoveled a shot into the right side. Jeri-Leon put the exclamation point on the 6-2 triumph, when he picked off a pass and drove a shot into the right side of the net.
Brad Barone backstopped the victory for the Nailers, as he stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced. Hunter Jones took the loss for the Heartlanders, as he surrendered six goals on 41 shots.
The Nailers will close out the home portion of their 2022-23 season against the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday night at 7:10. Saturday's promotion 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.