WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers put on one final show for their fans in 2023, as Downtown Wheeling celebrated Kids New Year's Eve with a terrific night of hockey at WesBanco Arena. A crowd of 3,130 saw Tanner Laderoute post three points, Matthew Quercia score a go-ahead shorthanded goal, and Jaxon Castor make 33 saves, as the Nailers swept their two-game weekend set against the Norfolk Admirals with a 4-1 triumph. The win was Derek Army's 87th as head coach of the Nailers, moving him into sole possession of fourth place in team history.
Both teams found the twine in the first period. The Nailers got off to a fast start, as they turned on the red light just 1:17 into the match. Cédric Desruisseaux carried the puck into the left side of the offensive zone, then dropped a pass back to Justin Addamo, who stepped up and zipped a wrist shot into the left side of the cage. Norfolk tied the score with 3:04 remaining. Danny Katic picked off the puck, then centered a feed to Brandon Osmundson, who placed his first ECHL goal into the left side of the net.
Two more goals went into the cage during the middle frame, but this time, both belonged to Wheeling. The go-ahead strike came on the penalty kill, as Tanner Laderoute slipped the puck into the slot, where Matthew Quercia stepped up and fired a cannon of a one-timer into the right side of the goal. With 1:32 remaining, Jordan Martel added to the lead, when he sifted a wrist shot along the ice and in from between the circles. Laderoute collected the primary helper on that tally as well.
Laderoute applied the finishes touches on 2023 with 5:41 left, when he stole the puck along the left wall, then wired a shot into the left side of the net for the 4-1 final score, as Wheeling improved to 20-7-4 all-time on New Year's Eve.
Jaxon Castor was magnificent for the Nailers for the second straight night, as he earned the victory by denying 33 of the 34 shots he faced. Yaniv Perets took the loss for the Admirals, as he allowed four goals on 38 shots.
The Nailers will begin the 2024 calendar year with a three-game road trip to Orlando, where they will face the Solar Bears on Friday, Saturday, and Monday, all at 7:00. Wheeling will then play three straight home games the following weekend on January 12th, 13th, and 14th. The highlight game of that stretch is the next Big Six Promotional Night, which is Super Nailers World on the 13th. That game will feature a video game arcade in the main lobby, a hat giveaway, question mark boxes with various prizes, Nailers Kart during intermission, and specialty jerseys. 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.