Palazzese Stops All 28, Torquato Scores Lone Goal in 1-0 Victory
It’s very rare that a hockey game at any level sees only one player record a point, but on Wednesday night, that was the case. Zack Torquato scored the only goal of the game at the 2:59 mark of the second period for the Wheeling Nailers, and Franky Palazzese made 28 saves, as Wheeling blanked the Reading Royals, 1-0 at WesBanco Arena.
There were two highlights during the opening stanza. The first came via a fight, as Patrick McGrath and Derek Mathers dropped the gloves 4:49 into the evening. That marked the third time that the two combatants went at it this season, and it lifted McGrath’s career penalty minute total against the Royals over 100. Palazzese also turned in his first significant save, denying a breakaway by Matt Hatch with his left shoulder.
Early in the second period, the Nailers broke the deadlock on a terrific individual effort. Torquato gathered the puck in his own slot, beginning to skate his way through neutral ice. Upon gaining the offensive blueline, Zack slanted to the right, letting a wrist shot go, which flew up and over a surprised Adam Morrison’s right shoulder.
Reading turned on the heat during the third period, equaling its shot total from the first two frames, putting a 14-2 advantage on the board. However, the Nailers did not break, and Palazzese made one more spectacular key save, again robbing Hatch on a breakaway, as the Royals forward tried to sneak a backhander through the legs.
Franky Palazzese stopped all 28 shots he faced in his second shutout of the season and third of his career for Wheeling. Adam Morrison made 24 saves on 25 shots in his Reading debut.
The 1-0 win was the Nailers’ first by that score since April 23, 2014, when they edged South Carolina in game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was also Wheeling’s first shutout win over Reading since January 25, 2012 and first shutout win against the Royals at WesBanco Arena since January 7, 2007.
The Nailers will host Military Appreciation Night on Saturday, in which the first 2,000 fans will receive a camouflage hat, courtesy of Main Street Bank. The puck drops at 7:35 against Brampton. Wheeling will then be home for three games next week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, led by Star Wars Night on December 5th. The Star Wars characters will be on hand for meeting and greeting, the team will be wearing special jerseys, and the first 2,000 fans will receive a t-shirt.