WHEELING, W.Va. – The Wheeling Nailers began their preseason schedule Friday, blowing up a close game in the final period to beat Fort Wayne 6-3.
After 40 minutes of hockey, the game was close. The Nailers led 2-1 going into the third period. Wheeling native and first-year pro Peter Laviolette III had a goal, a fight, a huge, clean hit in the corner, and a blocked shot. Then to begin the third, Wheeling’s top line seized control of the game and then a returning player put it out of reach in just 3:58 of game time.
First, it was Cedric Desruisseaux, who jammed home a rebound at 0:58, then Justin Addamo would receive the puck down low and flip the puck into the top shelf at 1:12 to give Wheeling a 4-1 lead. Bobby Hampton would take a David Drake cross-ice feed and put it behind Fort Wayne netminder Rylan Toth. At this point, it was 5-1 and the Nailers were firmly in control of the score column.
“…the start of the third there, it’s nice to see that for sure,” Nailers assistant coach Ryan Kuwabara said. “It was kind of bang, bang, bang; so it was nice to put a little cushion there and you know be able to dial in on some of the other details of the game. So that ability to get ahead early and you can kind of make sure that defensively you’re playing the right way”
Fort Wayne would add a Liam Van Loon power play tally at 15:05 and a Louie Rowe marker just 16 seconds later to pull within two. From there, Wheeling goaltender Ryan Bednard would slam the door shut the rest of the way. In all Bednard stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced in 29:46 of ice time and earned the win.
Wheeling got the scoring started in the first when Jason Horvath connected on a perfect stretch pass to Griffin Lunn, to send Lunn on a partial break and he picked the top right corner to give the hosts the lead. In the second, Laviolette chipped a puck ahead to himself and battled the defenseman to the net, and tucked the puck around a sprawled Toth for a short-handed goal at 12:13. Tyler Drevitch of the Nailers was awarded a penalty shot at 13:44 of the second, however, he couldn’t convert as his shot was high and wide to the glove side of Toth.
Aiden Jamieson sniped a shot from the right point that found the top corner to get the guests on the board at 15:04 of the middle frame. The Van Loon goal in the third was on the back end of a double minor against the Nailers that saw the majority of that power play spent in the Nailers defensive zone. Wheeling’s Brooklyn Kalmikov would add an empty net goal to end the scoring at 19:08
Tommy Nappier started for the Nailers and stopped all 18 shots he faced in a no-decision in 30:14 of ice time. Owen Savory got the start for the Komets and stopped 10 of 11 at 30:14 and was not involved in the decision. Toth stopped 7 of 11 in a losing effort playing for 29:33.
The Komets and Nailers will conclude the preseason with a game at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind on Sunday. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
- Rolling Thunder Podcast Episode #4: Weiny’s Way
- PHOTOS: Savannah Ghost Pirates vs. South Carolina Stingrays – 12/3/2022
- Monday Monster Mash: 12/5/2022
- Springfield Thunderbirds Snap Skid, Beat Bridgeport Islanders
- Explosive Second Period Lifts Penguins Past Hershey Bears
- PHOTOS: Orlando Solar Bears vs. Jacksonville Icemen – 12/03/2022
- PHOTOS: Toledo Walleye vs. Cincinnati Cyclones – 12/02/2022
- Hockey’s Future Stars on Display in Cleveland Against Rochester
- PHOTOS: Vermilion County Bobcats vs. Peoria Rivermen – 12/02/2022
- No Miracle for Thunder in Loss to Mariners