CORALVILLE, IA- The Wheeling Nailers put together back-to-back stellar performances, and came away with four points to show for it, as they swept a two-game series from the Iowa Heartlanders at Xtream Arena. Taylor Gauthier made 25 saves on Saturday night, and Tanner Laderoute scored twice, as Derek Army earned his 90th career head coaching win, placing him third on the team's all-time list. The final score of the finale was 3-1.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the first period, but that changed quickly, as both sides lit the lamp within the first 63 seconds of the middle frame. Wheeling got on the board first at the 21-second mark. Davis Bunz lofted a saucer pass through the slot to Justin Addamo, who placed a one-timer into the left side of the cage, before crashing into the left post. The Heartlanders knotted things up 42 seconds later. Will Calverly tossed a feed through the low slot for Pavel Novak, who lifted a one-timer into the top-left corner of the goal. The Nailers regained the lead at the 7:53 mark of the second. Justin Lee launched a pass from his own end to Tanner Laderoute at the offensive blueline. Laderoute left his defender behind on the right side, then wound around the back of the net, before he eventually stuffed a wraparound between Hunter Jones' right pad and the left post.
Taylor Gauthier saved his biggest performance of the night for the third, as Iowa peppered the net with 12 shots, and not one of them broke through. One of those saves led to the final goal of the contest, as Laderoute swept his second of the tilt into an empty net to punctuate the 3-1 Wheeling triumph.
Taylor Gauthier was tremendous in earning his second set of wins on consecutive nights this season, as he denied 25 of the 26 shots he faced. Hunter Jones took the loss for the Heartlanders, as he made 19 saves on 21 shots.
The next stop on the six-game road stretch for the Nailers is Reading, where they will face the Royals on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, all with 7:00 face-offs. 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.