CINCINNATI, OH- The Wheeling Nailers made history on Wednesday night, as they completed their first perfect six-game road stretch in team history, and they did so in comeback fashion against the Cincinnati Cyclones at Heritage Bank Center. Wheeling fell behind 2-0, but stormed back to score six of the game's final seven goals to grab the 6-3 victory. Isaac Belliveau led the way with two goals, while four other players posted multi-point performances. The Nailers poured in 27 goals in the final four games of the road stretch and 34 during the current six-game winning streak.
The Cyclones scored a pair of transition goals in the first period, before the Nailers got on the board, as the home side took a 2-1 lead into the intermission. The opening marker came 4:58 into the contest, when Cole Fraser sent Sahil Panwar breaking down the left side of the ice. Panwar quickly zipped a shot into the top-left corner of the net. Cincinnati's second goal started when Jalen Smereck gloved down a penalty kill clear at his own blueline. Smereck found Zack Andrusiak at the opposite blueline, and Andrusiak sped in with a left circle shot into the bottom right side of the cage. Wheeling responded 1:10 later. Isaac Belliveau had his original opportunity rejected, but he crashed the net to grab the rebound and stuff it in along the left side of the ice.
Second periods have been the best for the Nailers all season long, and that continued on Wednesday, as the deficit was erased and a lead was gained with three pucks finding the twine. The equalizer came just 93 seconds into the action, when Justin Lee tossed a puck from the goal line that flew over Olof Lindbom's right shoulder. Belliveau's second of the night gave Wheeling its first lead at the 5:08 mark, as he jumped up into the slot and drove in a one-time feed from Matt Koopman. Lukas Svejkovsky was the next player to score, and he extended his point streak to a season-high nine games in the process, as he took a pass from Dillon Hamaliuk, and roofed a backhander from the low slot.
Justin Vaive temporarily brought the Cyclones within one, when he jammed in a loose puck on a power play in the opening minute of the third. Less than five minutes later, the Nailers kept rolling offensively, as Koopman redirected David Drake's left point shot up and into the top-right corner of the twine. Cédric Desruisseaux added one more to the Wheeling side of the scoreboard, when he roofed a wrist shot from the right circle on the man advantage for the 6-3 triumph.
Taylor Gauthier earned his fifth straight win in goal for the Nailers, as he turned away 22 of the 25 shots he faced. Olof Lindbom took the loss for Cincinnati, as he gave up six goals on 30 shots.
The Nailers are set to return home to WesBanco Arena, where they will play five of their next six contests. Wheeling welcomes Orlando to town for three games this weekend, starting on a Frosty Friday with $2 beers at 7:10. Saturday's tilt also begins at 7:10, and fans can bring their dogs to the game as part of Pups & Pucks, plus Clifford the Big Red Dog will be at the game, courtesy of West Virginia Public Broadcasting. The series with the Solar Bears concludes on a Screen Time Sunday at 4:10, when one lucky fan will win a free TV thanks to Walmart, and odd-numbered players will skate with fans following the match. The next Big Six Promotional Game is Pittsburgh Penguins Night on February 10th, starring two-time Stanley Cup Champion Trevor Daley. There will also be specialty jerseys, a commemorative puck giveaway, a full team post game autograph session, and more. 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.