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Fuel Steal One in Overtime, 6-5

Wednesday, April 3rd
Fuel Steal One in Overtime, 6-5

INDIANAPOLIS, IN- Wednesday night's game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum is one that slipped away from the Wheeling Nailers, as they earned one point, but missed out on a second one against the Indy Fuel. The Nailers got the first two goals of Dustin Manz' pro career, including a go-ahead strike at the 10:57 mark of the third period. However, Indy battled back with a power play goal during the final minute of regulation, then won the game 6-5 in overtime on Andrew Bellant's second marker of the night. Dillon Hamaliuk also had a big performance for Wheeling, as he returned to the lineup with four points.

Both offenses came ready to roll, as each team put a pair of tallies onto the scoreboard for a 2-2 draw in the first period. Indy struck first at the 6:57 with a bit of puck luck. Victor Hadfield let a wrist shot go from the left point, which got tipped by both Ryan Gagnier and Kyle Maksimovich, with Maksimovich being the last to touch the puck from the left side of the crease. Davis Bunz netted the first equalizer for the Nailers, as he wound his way around the back of the net and into the left circle, where he thrust a wrist shot through Mitchell Weeks. The Fuel temporarily regained the lead with 2:33 remaining, when Andrew Bellant went end-to-end and lifted a backhander into the top-left corner of the twine. Wheeling answered just 46 seconds later, when Dillon Hamaliuk accepted a pass into the trapezoid, then turned with a wraparound, which he placed between Weeks' legs.

The two sides continued to mirror each other in the middle frame, as a couple of power play strikes were exchanged. The Nailers took their first lead of the night at the 1:49 mark. Dustin Manz found some open space to skate across the ice and into the right circle, where he swept a wrist shot across his body and into the left side of the net for his first professional goal. Indy's man advantage marker came with 9:57 left, when Ross MacDougall flew a center point wrist shot into the top-left corner of the cage.

The back-and-forth battle kept on going in the third period, and more offense came with it. Tanner Laderoute cut in behind the defense and lifted a backhander into the top-left corner to put Wheeling ahead at the 2:26 mark. 1:50 later, Maksimovich answered with a tying goal for the Fuel, as he found an opening on the left side for his second of the evening. The Nailers regained the lead with 9:03 remaining, shortly after a power play had expired. Hamaliuk collected his fourth point of the match by delivering a backhand pass through the slot to Manz, who slammed in his second career marker with a one-timer from the left circle. Wheeling nearly got the game to the finish line, but a last-minute penalty led to extra hockey, as Andrew Bellant got the puck to bounce in off of a Nailers player with 21 seconds on the clock for a 5-5 tie.

The contest got decided at the 3:58 mark of overtime, when Bellant took a pass from Brett Bulmer and picked the top-left corner for the 6-5 Indy win.

Mitchell Weeks picked up the victory in goal for the Fuel, as he made 19 saves on 24 shots. Garret Sparks received the overtime loss for Wheeling, as he allowed six goals on 32 shots.

The Nailers will play their final four regular season games on home ice, starting on Friday night at 7:10 against Fort Wayne. That is a Frosty Friday with $2 beers, plus IWC returns for a second Wrestling Night. Also coming up this week is a Screen Time Sunday at 4:10 against Indy, in which one lucky fan will win a free TV courtesy of Walmart. That day will also feature a post game skate with the entire team. Fan Appreciation Night on April 13th is the final Big Six Promotional Game of the season, which will feature all sorts of prizes, including one grand prize winner, who will receive a trip to Put-In-Bay. 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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