Franky Palazzese has been playing some fabulous hockey in goal for the Wheeling Nailers as of late, and on Tuesday night, his efforts came through in a big way. The rookie goaltender stopped all 26 shots he faced, earning his first professional shutout. Palazzese’s teammates gave him plenty of support, as five different players lit the lamp in a 5-0 stomping of the Elmira Jackals at WesBanco Arena.
For the second straight night, the Nailers had a strong start, pounding their way to a 2-0 lead with offensive talent and physical play. The first goal came at the 11:46 mark, off of a rush by Shawn Skelly. Riley Brace slipped a pass into the left circle for Jarrett Burton, who stepped up and drove a one-timer into the top-right corner of the net. 3:36 later, Wheeling added to its advantage, shortly after killing a penalty. Brace broke in on a 2-on-1 rush with Burton, keeping the puck to himself, before snapping a shot past Travis Fullerton’s blocker.
Unlike Monday, this game script had a happy ending for the home team, who added to its lead with two more goals in the second period. Zack Torquato trickled a shot through Fullerton’s legs at the 4:57 mark, drawing assists from Derek Army and Clark Seymour, as Seymour registered his first multiple point game of the campaign. Just before the midway mark of the frame, Tyler Fernandez upped the advantage to four, when he picked the top-right corner with a perfectly placed shot from the left circle. That tally ended Fullerton’s night, as Sam Marotta played the remaining 30:37.
The Nailers solved Marotta once in the third period, as Chaz Johnson slid in a shot from the middle of the slot. Shane Bakker set up the goal, picking up an assist in his first game back from the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Franky Palazzese backstopped the win with a perfect performance for Wheeling, denying all 26 shots he faced. Travis Fullerton was the losing goaltender for Elmira, allowing four goals on 14 shots, before Sam Marotta stopped 11 of 12 shots in relief.
The Nailers will play their next three games on the road, starting Saturday night in Indy at 7:35. Wheeling’s next home game takes place on March 13th against Kalamazoo at 7:35.