The Wheeling Nailers defended their home ice perfectly over the weekend, as they swept a pair of games from the Reading Royals. Stefan Chaput helped the Nailers to their second win, scoring the tying goal in the third period, before netting one in the shootout as well. Patrick Killeen stopped 38 of 40 shots during the game, then another four in the shootout, as Wheeling skated away on top, 3-2.
The first period started off with a bang, as Reading’s Scott Wietecha scored on a wrist shot from the blueline, eleven seconds in. With 2:53 remaining in the frame, Philippe Lefebvre scored an equalizing goal, sliding in a backhander from the bottom of the right circle. Lefebvre’s first tally as a Nailer was assisted by Cody Chupp and Paul Cianfrini.
11:23 into the second period, Wheeling nearly took the lead, but Paul Crowder was robbed by a Nick Niedert glove save. Instead, it was the Royals who went on top, when Alex Berry deflected Brett Flemming’s point shot past Killeen, putting the Royals in the lead again, 2-1.
Stefan Chaput scored a much needed equalizing goal at the 7:01 mark of the third period, with assists from Ian Schultz and Paul Cianfrini, as he potted the rebound of his initial shot.
At the end of the third, the score remained tied 2-2, as well as through five minutes of overtime, so a shootout would be the deciding factor.
After Joel Champagne’s first shot was denied, Cam Fergus put the Nailers ahead, sneaking a shot inside of the right post. Neither side scored in the second round, and Chris Langkow also came up empty in round three for the Royals. Stefan Chaput then extended Wheeling’s lead, lifting a shot underneath the crossbar. Former Nailer David Marshall got rejected by Killeen in the fourth round, as the home team skated away victorious.
Patrick Killeen was brilliant, earning his second win of the season and 40th of his Wheeling career, stopping 38 of the 40 shots he faced during the game, before a perfect effort in the shootout. Nick Niedert played well for the Royals, but fell short, making 20 saves on 22 shots during the game.
The Nailers will conclude their three-game homestand on Thursday at 7:00, when they play host to the Toledo Walleye.