The Wheeling Nailers played their first ever game against the Indy Fuel on Sunday afternoon, and thanks to a few players continuing strong weekends, they came away with the two points. Riley Brace and Zack Torquato both scored twice, while Matia Marcantuoni dished out a pair of helpers, as the Nailers defeated the Fuel, 4-3 at WesBanco Arena.
After a scoreless first period, both teams converted with power play goals in the middle frame. Wheeling got on the board first at the 7:23 mark, with some precision puck movement around the offensive zone. Riley Brace ended up connecting with Zack Torquato, who hammered in a one-timer from the middle of the blueline. Brace’s assist was his team-leading ninth of the year, while Matia Marcantuoni recorded his fifth point in three contests. The Fuel pulled even 5:24 later, as Dean Chelios swatted in a loose puck on the left side of the net. Garrett Klotz created the opportunity, after Patrick Cullen put a shot on goal from the right circle.
Both teams saw their offenses explode in the third period, as a total of five goals were scored. The first tally went Wheeling’s way at the 1:17 mark. Matia Marcantuoni beat out an icing call, before setting up Riley Brace in the bottom of the left circle. Indy came back with an equalizer 5:16 later, when Robert Czarnik redirected in Mathieu Brisebois’ one-timer. As the period went along, the Nailers managed to build a two-goal advantage, thanks to Brace and Torquato denting the twine again. Brace’s second of the day came on the power play, when he tapped in an intial shot from Sahir Gill at the edge of the crease. Torquato then added an insurance goal at the time, finishing off a 2-on-1 rush with Sahir Gill, who had two assists in the contest. Patrick Cullen’s scramble goal with 2:36 to go brought the Fuel to within one, but the game ended with Wheeling on top, 4-3.
Franky Palazzese had his busiest game of the 3-in-3 weekend in goal for Wheeling, blocking away 35 of the 38 shots he faced. Cody Reichard was on the other end of the equation for Indy, making 23 saves on 27 shots.
The Nailers’ next game is Friday night, when they host the Orlando Solar Bears at 7:35. For tickets and more information, call (304) 234-GOAL