WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers are ready for their 32nd season to begin, and with the show they gave their home fans on Sunday, there will be loads of excitement in the Ohio Valley. Wheeling had everything clicking in its lone preseason match. The offense scored five goals, the defense and goaltending turned in a shutout, and a fight put a cherry on top of a 5-0 triumph over the Cincinnati Cyclones at WesBanco Arena. Davis Bunz turned on the red light twice and Peter Laviolette had a goal and two assists to lead the offense, while David Tendeck earned the shutout with 24 saves.
The Nailers were more than ready to get their preseason slate started, and they came out flying with a 2-0 lead in goals and a 17-5 advantage in shots. Both Wheeling markers were created with shots that came from the left point. David Drake sent the puck deep and connected with Cédric Desruisseaux on the right side of the slot. Desruisseaux slid a pass through to Jarrett Lee, who turned to his backhand and flipped the puck into the left side of the cage at the 10:30 mark. Less than seven minutes later, Desruisseaux threw a shot on goal from deep, which produced a rebound for Davis Bunz, who deposited the puck along the ice and in on the right side of the net.
The home team put two more goals on the board in the middle session. At the 7:48 mark, Bunz struck for the second time in the contest, and this time, he did so on the team's first power play. Bunz glided into the middle of the offensive zone, and launched a wrist shot into the top-left corner. The Nailers' fourth tally of the afternoon came with 7:13 left, when Jeff Solow teed up Matt Koopman for a one-timer from the slot, which Koopman drilled along the ice and in. The first fight of the exhibition slate took place in the latter stages of the period. Matthew Quercia laid a punishing clean hit on Colton Kalezic, then got challenged to a fight by Malcolm Hayes, who received an instigator penalty.
Wheeling iced its victory with one more marker in the third. Avery Winslow let a wrister go from the right point, which was tipped in by Peter Laviolette III, who punctuated his three-point night with the goal.
David Tendeck saw his workload increase each period, and he was perfect in all three, as he denied all 24 shots he faced to earn the shutout. Stephen Mundinger allowed three goals on 23 shots in the first half of the clash for Cincinnati, before Julian Sime made ten saves on 12 shots in relief.
The Nailers are less than one week away from the beginning of their 32nd season, as they will drop the puck in Cincinnati on Saturday at 7:35. That will be followed by two additional road matches, before Wheeling plays its home opener against Reading on November 4th at 7:10. Opening Night will feature Mad Chad Taylor - the chainsaw juggler, as well as a magnetic schedule giveaway, and the debut of Nail Ale by Big Timber Brewing. Season memberships and other terrific ticket plans for the 2023-24 season are available now by 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.