Offense was the name of the game on Friday night, as for the second game in a row, the Wheeling Nailers netted four goals in a single period. Unfortunately, the Toledo Walleye had multiple goals in each of the three periods, to go along with a perfect performance by both of their special teams. In the end, it was the Walleye who came away with the win, erasing a 4-2 deficit for an 8-5 victory at WesBanco Arena.
The Nailers wasted little time in starting the scoring. In fact, just 24 seconds had elapsed when Chris Barton banged in the rebound of Zach Hansen’s initial shot from the right point. The goal made Barton the 23rd player in team history to record 100 career points. A few minutes later, the Walleye evened the score, when Kyle Rogers flipped in a shot from the right circle. However, Wheeling came right back, when Peter Lenes took a feed from Keven Veilleux, and found the twine from the left circle. Toledo came back again on Ben Youds’ power play goal, before a two-goal flurry by the home team completed the frame. Barton snapped in his second of the game with 35 seconds left, and Jordy Trottier battled for a loose puck in the crease with three seconds to go, making the score 4-2 after one period of play.
In the second, Toledo began to turn the game around. Joey Martin slammed in a slap shot from the slot at 6:22, cutting the Wheeling lead to one. 3:33 later, Willie Coetzee placed his name on the scoresheet, finishing off a setup by linemate Trevor Parkes. Less than two minutes after that, the Walleye took the lead for the first time in the contest, as Randy Rowe ramped a shot into the net from the right side of the ice. Suddenly, a 4-2 lead became a 5-4 deficit for the Nailers.
A little more than five minutes into the third, Wheeling clawed back for the equalizer. Paul Crowder turned on the red light, when he picked the top-left corner with a shot from the right side of the slot. Unfortunately, Toledo regained the lead 67 seconds later, when Parkes slipped in a shot from the slot. With 2:39 left in the contest, the Walleye added an insurance marker, thanks to a power play goal by Travis Novak, who dribbled in a shot from the left circle. Joey Martin concluded the scoring with an empty net goal, as the visitors won, 8-5.
Kent Simpson played the final two periods for Toledo, earning the win, stopping 17 of 18 shots, after taking over for Jordan Pearce, who allowed four goals on 12 shots in the first. Peter Delmas took the loss for the Nailers, allowing seven goals on 34 shots.
The Nailers conclude the 2012-13 season on Saturday night at 7:00 against the Trenton Titans.