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Walleye Come Back for 3-2 Win

Friday, March 29th
Walleye Come Back for 3-2 Win

TOLEDO, OH- Special teams gave the Wheeling Nailers life, but also took the game away on Friday night, as they battled the Toledo Walleye at Huntington Center. Wheeling scored twice on the power play, but an unsuccessful two-man advantage in the third period led to a tying goal by Toledo in what was ultimately a 3-2 Walleye win on their home ice. Jared Westcott scored his first professional goal for the Nailers, who also got a marker from Jordan Martel.

One goal was scored in the first period, as the Nailers capitalized on their lone power play of the stanza. Wheeling worked the puck around the top of the offensive zone, and David Jankowski ultimately set up Jordan Martel, who wired in a one-timer from the left circle. The Nailers killed off Toledo's lone man advantage, and limited the Walleye to seven shots in order maintain the 1-0 lead.

The two defenses continued to shine in the middle frame, but Toledo broke through for an equalizer while playing shorthanded. Conlan Keenan poked the puck ahead to Dalton Messina, who led his teammate on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush. Messina kept the puck to himself, and zipped a wrist shot through Garret Sparks' legs from the right circle.

Wheeling's power play struck again in the early stages of the third period to regain the lead. Justin Lee let a shot go from the middle of the blueline, and got a deflection from Jared Westcott on the left side of the crease, as he recorded the first goal of his pro career. The Nailers received a huge opportunity moments later, as back-to-back Walleye penalties created over a minute of 5-on-3 action. Unfortunately, Wheeling came up empty, and 13 seconds after the last penalty expired, Toledo pulled even. Brandon Kruse deposited the rebound of his initial shot from the left side of the crease. With 5:13 left to go, the Walleye took their first lead of the tilt. Matt Anderson drove to the goal and put a shot on net, which created a rebound chance that Kruse whipped into the top-right corner. Lee nearly got some puck left with a shot off the glass and the goaltender's back, but the Nailers were unable to force overtime, as Toledo prevailed, 3-2.

Jan Bednar picked up the win for the Walleye, as he made 22 saves on 24 shots. Garret Sparks suffered the loss, as he stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced.

The Nailers will continue their three-game road stretch by heading south to Cincinnati on Saturday to face the Cyclones at 7:35. Wheeling will then play the final four games of the regular season at home, with the next one being a Frosty Friday and a second Wrestling Night against Fort Wayne on April 5th. The final Big Six Promotional Game is Fan Appreciation Night on April 13th against Cincinnati. 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.

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