After a high scoring affair on Friday night, the Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets took more of a defensive approach on Saturday. That style proved to be especially successful for the visiting Komets, who skated away with the 4-1 victory in front of the third largest crowd of the season at WesBanco Arena, at 3,974.
The Komets came out hungry in the first period, grabbing the first two goals of the contest. The first tally came at the 3:35 mark, when Reid Petryk sent a lead pass ahead to CJ Severyn, springing him alone in the offensive zone. Severyn kept the puck on his forehand, burying a shot into the left side of the net. The second goal came with 5:31 remaining, when Christian Ouellet tapped in a loose puck on the right side of the crease.
Defense was a strong priority for Fort Wayne on Saturday, and that was very evident in the middle period, as the Nailers were held to just three shots on goal. One of the Komets’ 13 attempts found the back of the cage, as Severyn won a shorthanded face-off back to Brett Perlini, who roofed a shot from the top of the right circle.
Shawn Szydlowski added a shorthanded empty net goal for the Komets in the third period, before the Nailers recorded their lone marker of the evening. Derek Army banged in a sharp angle shot on a power play, bringing his team leading total to 17. Riley Brace and Zack Torquato assisted on the tally, as Army and Brace each extended their point streaks to five games.
Garrett Bartus got the win for Fort Wayne, making 18 saves on 19 shots. Franky Palazzese suffered the loss for Wheeling, turning away 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Nailers will finish the weekend in Toledo on Sunday with a 5:15 face-off against the Walleye. Wheeling’s next home game takes place on February 6th, beginning a three-game homestand against Toledo, Cincinnati, and Elmira.
The Nailers will play a three-game homestand on February 6th, 7th, and 8th.
Friday the 6th is a 7:35 game against Toledo, featuring Flat Screen Friday, Frosty Friday, and a player poster giveaway.
Saturday the 7th is Duck Dynasty Night at 8:05 against Cincinnati, with an appearance by Jep Robertson from A&E’s highest rated television show.
Sunday the 8th is a 4:05 face-off against Elmira, and after the game, fans can join the Nailers for a post game skate. Kids tickets for that contest will be $5, and the Oglebay Good Zoo will have an exhibit in the concourse.