WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers began their lone homestand of January on Friday night at WesBanco Arena, and the good news is that they will get a re-match in 24 hours. The Indy Fuel scored twice in a span of 17 seconds during the second period, and got a hat trick from Jon Martin for a 5-2 road triumph. Justin Addamo and Evan Vierling were the two Wheeling goal scorers.
Indy controlled the play for the majority of the first period with a 19-5 advantage in shots, and the visitors also collected the lone goal during 4-on-4 action. The Nailers turned the puck over just inside of the offensive blueline, which allowed Darby Llewellyn to go on a breakaway. Llewellyn dragged the puck to the left, before flipping a shot up and into the top-right corner of the net.
Wheeling battled back to even the score in the early stages of period two. Cédric Desruisseaux spun a shot on goal from the high slot, which was denied, but the rebound was immediately slammed in by Justin Addamo. It took the Fuel just under four minutes to retake the lead. Former Nailer Josh Maniscalco took a swat at a loose puck on an odd-man rush, and ended up making a pass to Jon Martin, who spun and placed a backhander in the top-left corner of the cage. 17 seconds later, Indy added insurance. Kyle Maksimovich capitalized on a plethora of traffic in the crease, as he rolled the puck in over the goal line. The tally stood after video review.
The Nailers pulled back to within one at the 2:34 mark of the third, when Evan Vierling zipped a wrist shot through Zach Driscoll's legs from the left circle. Martin regained the two-goal advantage for the Fuel with a power play marker, as he jammed in a centering pass from Bryan Lemos at the top of the crease. The veteran forward then completed his hat trick with an empty netter for a 5-2 final score in Indy's favor.
Zach Driscoll picked up the win for the Fuel, as he made 23 saves on 25 shots. Taylor Gauthier suffered the defeat for Wheeling, as he turned away 26 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Fuel will meet up in Wheeling again on Saturday at 7:10 for Super Nailers World. 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.