WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers have shown their resiliency during the past few weeks, and on Saturday night, they were down, but not out against the Orlando Solar Bears. Wheeling trailed 3-1 in the second period, before Justin Addamo and Matt Koopman scored to force overtime. Addamo was the hero in the extra session, as he slipped in a power play goal to deliver the 4-3 triumph for the Nailers. The win was Wheeling's eighth in a row, which is good for the third longest winning streak in team history.
Both teams got on the scoreboard in the first period, while the Nailers held an 11-7 advantage in shots. Orlando picked up the opening tally at the 8:20 mark. Avery Winslow took a hit to move the puck ahead to Tanner Schachle for a rush into the offensive zone. Schachle slipped a pass through to Brayden Low, who faked to his backhand to shovel in the goal. Wheeling answered 3:24 later. Matthew Quercia hustled in off of the rush, then dropped a pass off to Jordan Martel in the left circle. Martel stepped in and wired a bullet of a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage.
The early part of the second period was controlled by the Solar Bears, who potted a pair of markers to go ahead by two. At the 5:47 mark, Zachary Massicotte tossed a shot into the pile, which bounced off of Darik Angeli and to over to Aaron Luchuk, who deposited the puck into the open right side of the twine. Two seconds after a power play had expired, Low collected his second of the night from just outside of the crease, as he redirected an initial attempt by Ryan Cox. The Nailers got some good energy to end the frame, as they pulled within one. Justin Addamo forced a turnover in the center circle, then finished the play with a wrist shot in the slot, following passes by Tanner Laderoute and Cédric Desruisseaux.
The energy carried into the third period, and with 8:56 to go, Wheeling tied the game. Laderoute swept the puck around to Matt Koopman, who curled into the left circle, then banged a wrist shot off of the right post and in. The Nailers had to do some extra work to ensure themselves of at least one point, but they succeeded in killing a penalty with 5:57 left on the clock, and ultimately forced overtime.
The extra session got decided in Wheeling's favor, starting with Lukas Svejkovsky drawing a penalty with a dazzling move to the goal. The Nailers called a timeout, and needed just ten seconds of power play time to end the match. Svejkovsky laid a pass to Justin Addamo, who dragged the puck to his forehand and stuffed home the winner, as Wheeling was victorious, 4-3.
Jaxon Castor earned his fifth straight win for the Nailers, as he thwarted 22 of the 25 shots he faced. Evan Fitzpatrick took the overtime loss for Orlando, as he made 29 saves on 33 shots.
The Nailers and Solar Bears will wrap up their weekend series in Wheeling on Sunday at 4:10. That game will be a Screen Time Sunday, in which one lucky fan will win a free TV courtesy of Walmart. Additionally, odd-numbered players will be skating with fans after the game, and $2 ice cream sundaes will be available at Flurry's. 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.