WHEELING, WV- The time of day may have been different, but the end result was the same for the Wheeling Nailers, as they earned their tenth consecutive victory with a 3-1 result on Tuesday morning against the Reading Royals at Santander Arena. Jordan Martel broke a 1-1 deadlock with two goals in the third period, which gives him seven tallies in four head-to-head match-ups. Jaxon Castor made 25 saves for his sixth win in a row. Wheeling's ten-game winning streak is one shy of the second longest in team history, and the seven straight road wins are one shy of the team record, which has been achieved twice.
The first period nearly went by without a goal, but that changed with just over five seconds left on the clock, as the Royals capitalized on a neutral zone turnover by Wheeling. Jake Bricknell led the charge on a 2-on-1 break into the offensive zone, then dished a pass over to Tyson Fawcett, who wired in a one-timer from the left circle.
The Nailers battled back to even the score with 3:35 to go in the middle frame. David Drake gathered in a Reading dump-in, then launched a stretch pass to the opposite blueline, where Dillon Hamaliuk picked up the feed in stride. Hamaliuk skated into the left circle, where he drove a shot into the top-left corner of the cage.
Wheeling carried the momentum of the tying marker into the third period, and proceeded to outshoot the Royals, 14-6. With that came two goals. The go-ahead strike came at the 6:13 mark. Drake delivered a perfect pass from the left point to the top-right corner of the crease, where Jordan Martel put his stick down, and tipped the puck into the goal. Martel turned on the red light again with 8:50 remaining, when he outwaited goaltender Nolan Maier and dribbled a shot in over the line with Dillon Hamaliuk crashing the net. The Nailers killed a late penalty to preserve the 3-1 final score.
Jaxon Castor earned his sixth straight win for Wheeling, as he denied 25 of the 26 shots he faced. Nolan Maier took the loss for Reading, as he made 27 saves on 30 shots.
The Nailers and Royals will travel to Wheeling for two games this weekend on Friday and Saturday, with both contests starting at 7:10. Friday's game is a Frosty Friday featuring $2 beers. Saturday is the next Big Six Promotional Game - Pittsburgh Penguins Night. Fans will have the opportunity to meet two-time Stanley Cup Champion Trevor Daley, there will be a full team post game autograph session, mascots Iceburgh and Tux will be on hand, there will be a commemorative puck giveaway, and the team will be wearing specialty jerseys. 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.