CORALVILLE, IA- The Wheeling Nailers played the first of six straight road games on Friday night, and the stretch couldn't have gotten off to a better start at Xtream Arena. Tanner Laderoute snapped a 1-1 tie with less than 13 seconds left in the first period, and three of his teammates joined him in the goal column, as the Wheeling Nailers defeated the Iowa Heartlanders, 4-1. Taylor Gauthier made 28 saves to earn his tenth win of the season, and Justin Lee assisted on three of the four tallies.
The Nailers had a strong start and finish to the first period, as they sandwiched a pair of goals around one by Iowa. Wheeling got onto the scoreboard with a full ice rush, as the play began with Justin Addamo making an outlet pass in his own end. The play ended with Addamo taking a pass from Cédric Desruisseaux, then breaking down the slot and firing a shot into the left side of the cage. The Heartlanders drew even on the power play, when Nick Campoli got a piece of Louka Hanault's wrist shot from the middle of the blueline. The Nailers took the lead back with less than 13 seconds to go. Davis Bunz cruised around the offensive zone, then handed the puck off to Justin Lee for a shot from the left point. Tanner Laderoute crashed to the top of the blue paint, and redirected Lee's attempt into the net.
Wheeling added to its advantage midway through the middle frame. The defensive pairing of Lee and Bunz once again played a major role, as Lee fed Bunz, who let a wrist shot go from the right point, and found the twine through a pile of bodies in the slot.
Jordan Martel tacked on one more in the third period, as he received a stretch pass from Lee, then drove down the right side of the ice, and shoveled a shot into the top-right corner of the goal. The assist was Lee's third primary helper of the contest, and put the finishing touches on the 4-1 Nailers triumph.
Taylor Gauthier earned the victory in goal for Wheeling, as he thwarted 28 of the 29 shots he faced. Drew DeRidder took the loss for Iowa, as he made 21 saves on 25 shots.
The Nailers and Heartlanders will do battle in Iowa again on Saturday at 7:05, as Wheeling plays the second of six straight road contests. Wheeling's next home game is Friday, February 2nd against Orlando at 7:10, which is a Frosty Friday. Saturday, February 3rd is Pups & Pucks Night, when fans can bring their dog to the game and meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, courtesy of WVPB. The next Big Six Promotional Game is Pittsburgh Penguins Night on Saturday, February 10th, starring two-time Stanley Cup Champion Trevor Daley. 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.