|Stefanos Lekkas Stops 27 & Assists on Winning Goal|
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers brought their lunch boxes to work on Friday night, and came away with a well-earned 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones at WesBanco Arena. Cam Hausinger netted the game winning goal with 7:22 left in the second period, and Stefanos Lekkas made 11 of his 27 saves during the third period.
The Nailers came out with some great energy, and got rewarded with a couple of goals in the opening nine minutes. First up was defenseman Josh Maniscalco, who returned to the lineup after a five-game absence. Maniscalco dragged the puck out from the right point, before whipping a shot into the top-left corner of the net. 1:45 later, Wheeling struck again. Nick Hutchison and Jared Cockrell exchanged passes, with Hutchison ultimately finishing the play by driving a one-timer into the bottom-right corner of the cage. Lukas Craggs put Cincinnati on the board with a power play tally, as he sped down the right side and swept a shot in along the ice.
The opening minutes of the middle frame took some time to develop, before things ramped up around the midway mark. Nick Hutchison nearly put the Nailers ahead by two with a penalty shot, but a patient right pad save by Mat Robson kept the score 2-1. 1:05 later, the Cyclones drew even. Johnny Coughlin skated across the offensive zone, before taking a shot, which was tipped in by Brett Van Os. Wheeling rebounded quickly, as it retook the lead just 67 seconds after that. Stefanos Lekkas punched out a shot, and ended up springing Cam Hausinger who flew down the right side a rifled a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net.
Defense and goaltending were key in preserving the victory, as Cincinnati outshot the Nailers, 11-4 in the third period. Wheeling got the job done and finished on the right side of a 3-2 final score.
Stefanos Lekkas earned the win in goal for the Nailers, as he thwarted 27 of the 29 shots he faced, and picked up an assist. Mat Robson took the loss for the Cyclones, as he made 22 saves on 25 shots.
The Nailers will take a quick trip out to Toledo on Saturday, before returning home for Princesses & Pirates Day on Sunday against the Indy Fuel.