CINCINNATI, OH- 40 shots on goal is typically a great recipe for success, as the Wheeling Nailers got loads of opportunities, but ran into the strong goaltending of Mark Sinclair. The Cincinnati Cyclones' backstop was only solved once by Cédric Desruisseaux, and got plenty of offensive support, as Zack Andrusiak, Louie Caporusso, and Justin Vaive all had multi-point nights. Cincinnati defeated Wheeling, 5-1, and officially eliminated the Nailers from playoff contention.
Both teams got on the scoreboard within the first five minutes of the clash. The first strike came from Cincinnati. Sean Allen let a wrist shot go from the left point, which was tipped on goal, but knocked aside by Tommy Nappier. However, the rebound landed at the top of the crease, where Justin Vaive deked to his backhand and shoveled in his team-leading 31st of the year. The Nailers looked to their leading scorer for the equalizer, and Cédric Desruisseaux delivered his 28th at the 4:47 mark, when he flew down the right side of the ice, and roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the twine.
The score stayed deadlocked until the final five minutes of period two, when the Cyclones snapped the tie with back-to-back markers. Louie Caporusso gave Cincinnati the lead at the 14:53 mark, when he redirected Vaive's left wall wrist shot up and under the crossbar from its initial location along the ice. 2:04 later, the Cyclones turned on the red light again. Brandon Yeamans sent a pass to his right for Lee Lapid, before getting a return feed, which he one-timed from the slot and into the left side of the cage.
Wheeling looked to turn the momentum in the third stanza, but Cincinnati made the hill that much harder to climb with another insurance marker at the 48-second mark. Caporusso put a pass onto Zack Andrusiak's tape on the left side of the crease, and Andrusiak proceeded to simply direct the puck into the left side of the net. Steven MacLean wrapped up the scoring in the 5-1 result for the Cyclones, when he squeezed in a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.
Mark Sinclair bounced back in a big way in goal for Cincinnati, as he earned the victory by denying 39 of the 40 shots he faced, including a perfect 21-for-21 in the third. Tommy Nappier took the loss for the Nailers, as he made 21 saves on 26 shots.
The Nailers and Cyclones will finish up the weekend in Cincinnati on 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.