INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Wheeling Nailers had revenge on Saturday night, and they would settle for nothing less at Cable Dahmer Arena in the second half of their weekend with the Kansas City Mavericks.
Wheeling took control early on with a dominant first period, and ended up running the red light twice in each stanza for a 6-2 victory. Six different players were responsible for the goals, including Max Johnson, who scored for the first time in his pro career. Adam Smith contributed three runs from the blue line, while Samuel Tremblay collected a shorthanded scorer.
The Nailers rallied early in the game, flying out of the gates with a 15-6 lead in shooting, which included a pair of goals. The first count came in at 8:15. Louie Roehl got the puck in front of Justin Addamo, who got into the offensive zone, then let go of a shot from the high slot, which fumbled Shane Starrett. Wheeling added to his lead with 1:34 remaining. Tyler Drevitch worked his way to the front of the net, where he was able to squeeze a pass across the box to Cedric Desruisseaux for a tap-in down the left side.
The special teams were middle frame history, as both teams found the net twice. The Nailers briefly extended their lead with a shorthanded hit. Bobby Hampton led the charge in the offensive zone, then handed the puck to Samuel Tremblay, who struck the right side of the cage with his left wrist. Kansas City responded on the power play, as Keegan Howdeshell rebounded off Jordan Sambrook’s opening attempt. Wheeling followed by cashing in a two man lead. The sizzle of a wrist from Desruisseaux crashed into the endboards, but ended up producing a perfect rebound for Carter Johnson, who pounced on the free puck and slammed a shot to the right side of the goal.
The Mavericks got another connection from Sambrook and Howdeshell for their second power play of the night when Howdeshell tipped Sambrook’s right point.
The Nailers were able to maintain their two-goal lead for most of the third period, thanks to some terrific penalties, as the team struck out four straight after allowing two power play scorers in the second. Two more insurance goals followed, as Wheeling silenced the game. Max Johnson’s special moment came with 3:58 left in the game, when he scored the first goal of his pro career from the right circle, as the teams played 4 on 4. Then, Adam Smith provided the final dagger in the 6-2 triumph, exiting the penalty area and launching a shot into the top right corner of the net.
Brad Barone grabbed the victory on target for the Nailers, making 18 saves on 20 shots. Shane Starrett took the loss for the Mavericks, giving up six goals on 35 shooting.
The Nailers will go home next week, where they will play five of their next six games. The first of these contests is against the Iowa Heartlanders at 7:10pm on Friday.