WHEELING, WV- Saturday night's game started well for the Wheeling Nailers, as Justin Lee's first professional goal set off the annual Teddy Bear Toss at WesBanco Arena. However, the remainder of the night belonged to the Tulsa Oilers, who rattled off five straight goals to collect a 5-2 road win.
The stuffed animals went flying early, as the Nailers opened the scoring 8:03 into the contest. Bobby Hampton slid a pass back to Justin Lee, who stepped up into the high slot, and drove his first professional goal in off of the left post. Unfortunately, the momentum was squashed by Tulsa's equalizer 38 seconds later. Former Nailer Alec Butcher led the way on an odd-man rush, and kept the puck to himself, as he roofed a wrist shot from the left circle. The Oilers then took the lead with 7:03 remaining. With traffic set up in front of the crease, Dante Sheriff let a wrist shot fly, which clanged in off of the crossbar.
Tulsa continued its success in the second period, as the visitors upped their advantage by two, while outshooting Wheeling, 16-6. Jimmy Lodge capitalized on a Nailers turnover at the 8:23 mark, as he swiped the puck away in the low slot and promptly placed it into the goal. That was followed by Davis Codd, who exchanged passes with Kyle Crnkovic, before shoveling a one-timer into the top-right corner of the net.
Both teams found the twine in the third. A Wheeling turnover bounced in off of Tyler Poulsen for the fifth Oilers marker, then Matthew Quercia drilled a one-timer from Dillon Hamaliuk into the top-right corner of the cage, as the contest finished 5-2 in favor of Tulsa.
Julian Junca recorded the win for the Oilers, as he made 22 saves on 24 shots. Jaxon Castor had a busy debut for the Nailers, as he stopped 33 of the 38 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Oilers will clash again on Sunday at 4:10. Sunday's game is a Screen Time Sunday, in which one lucky fan will win a free TV courtesy of Walmart. Additionally, fans will be able to skate with the odd-numbered players following the contest, and $2 sundaes will be available for kids at Flurry's. Some other fun upcoming promotions include Kids New Year's Eve on December 31st, and the next Big Six Promotional Game - Super Nailers World on January 13th. 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.