Special teams were the name of the game on Saturday
night, as the Wheeling Nailers visited the Cincinnati Cyclones at US
Bank Arena. Unfortunately for the Nailers, despite killing off a
five-minute major, it was the Cyclones who gained the upper hand,
connecting three times on the man advantage. Josh Shalla, Anthony
Luciani, and Pat O'Keefe got credited with the markers, as Cincinnati
picked up a 4-1 win.
Cincinnati's Josh Shalla was the story of the first period, as scored a pair of goals in a span of 1:55, building a 2-0 lead for the home team. On his first tally, Pat O'Keefe took a shot from the left point that was tipped on goal by Adam Brace. Mike Condon made the save, but the rebound was flipped in by Shalla from the left side of the crease. On his second goal, a power play marker, Anthony Luciani blocked a Wheeling clear, before setting up Paul Crowder, whose backhand feed allowed Shalla to power in a one-timer from the right circle.
Midway through the second period, the Nailers got on the scoreboard with a power play goal of their own. Barry Goers stepped up with a shot from the slot that was blocked. However, he followed the rebound, fell forward, and willed the puck in along the ice for his second tally of the campaign. Max MacKay and Sahir Gill assisted on the goal, as Wheeling cut its deficit in half after two.
Unfortunately, the Nailers' momentum from the second period got squashed in the early stages of the third, when the Cyclones extended their lead with a power play goal. Paul Crowder took the puck in the trapezoid, before centering a pass to Anthony Luciani, who buried a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle. Later in the frame, Cincinnati found the twine on the power play one more time, as Pat O'Keefe connected on a one-time rocket from the right side of the blueline for a 4-1 final score.
Rob Madore got the win in goal for the Cyclones, making 25 saves on 26 shots. Mike Condon took the loss for the Nailers, stopping 27 of the 31 shots he faced, including 15 saves during the third period alone.
The Nailers and Cyclones will do battle again on Sunday, with a 3:00 face-off scheduled at WesBanco Arena.