CINCINNATI, OH- The Wheeling Nailers couldn't have scripted a better start to the 2023-24 season than what they got on Saturday night against the Cincinnati Cyclones at Heritage Bank Center. Wheeling's special teams dominated the contest, as the power play scored three times, while the penalty kill was perfect on five chances. The Nailers got two goals and an assist from Cédric Desruisseaux, as well as 30 saves from Taylor Gauthier to take down the Cyclones, 4-1.
The first period featured plenty of action, and the Nailers skated out of it on the right side of the equation, as they sandwiched two of their goals around one by Cincinnati. The opening marker was the second fastest to start a season in team history, as it came 2:47 into the match. Thimo Nickl teed up Jordan Frasca for a one-timer from the right circle, which got stopped. However, the rebound kicked into the slot for David Jankowski, who roofed his wrist shot into the top-left corner. Nickl's assist was his first pro point in North America. The Cyclones responded 3:02 later with a rebound goal of their own to tie it. James Hardie's left side shot off the rush was denied, but Adam Berg followed up to deposit the second chance. Wheeling went back on top with 4:40 remaining. Frasca led the way down the right side on a 2-on-1 break, before dishing a pass over to Cédric Desruisseaux, who squeezed a shot through Olof Lindbom.
The Nailers added to their advantage in the middle frame, as the power play struck again. Dillon Hamaliuk poked the puck ahead to Desruisseaux, who drove into the offensive zone on the left side of the ice. Wheeling's leading scorer from last season picked his spot and rang a shot in off of the right post for his second of the contest.
The visitors finished off their terrific performance with another man advantage marker in the third. Desruisseaux whipped a pass through the crease to Lukas Svejkovsky, who slammed in a one-timer from beneath the right circle to put the finishing touches on the 4-1 triumph.
Taylor Gauthier earned the win for the Nailers with a fantastic evening between the pipes, as he thwarted 30 of the 31 shots he faced. Olof Lindbom took the loss for the Cyclones, as he allowed four goals on 23 shots.
The Nailers wil have two more road games next week, as they will visit Kalamazoo on Friday at 7:00, followed by Fort Wayne on Saturday at 7:30. Wheeling will then play 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