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 Wheeling Nailers

Shorthanded Nailers Fall in Fort Wayne

March 2, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers' Jarrett Lee on the ice
Wheeling Nailers' Jarrett Lee on the ice
(Wheeling Nailers)

FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers showed plenty of heart on Saturday night, as they skated into Allen County War Memorial Coliseum two players short for a tussle against the Fort Wayne Komets. Wheeling found the back of the net four times. Unfortunately, the Komets got huge offensive performances from two players, as Ethan De Jong netted a hat trick to go along with three assists, while Jack Dugan registered two goals and three assists. Fort Wayne was victorious, 7-4 on home ice, as four teams are now within five points of each other in the Central Division playoff race.

The first period was wide open, as the two teams combined for three goals on 33 total shots. Wheeling was first to get on the board at the 11:34 mark. Matthew Quercia grabbed a loose puck in the right corner of the offensive zone, then cruised all the way back to the blueline, where he slid a wrist shot on goal. Tyler Parks made a right pad save, but the rebound was immediately punched home by David Jankowski on the left side of the crease. Two minutes later, the Komets pulled even on the power play. Jack Dugan tossed a shot on goal from the right circle, which set off a scramble around the crease. Ture Linden took a swat at the loose puck and connected for the equalizer. 51 seconds after that, Fort Wayne took the lead. Xavier Cormier centered a pass to Ethan De Jong, who cruised through the low slot and powered his opportunity through goaltender Christian Propp.

The scoring opened up even more in the middle frame, as both squads turned on the red light twice. The Komets converted on a two-man advantage to push their lead to 3-1 at the 3:24 mark. De Jong and Alexis D'Aoust exchanged passes, with De Jong ultimately getting the final feed beneath the left circle, where he turned and whipped in a wrist shot. The Nailers battled back with consecutive strikes to temporarily pull even. Peter Laviolette stole the puck from Fort Wayne netminder Tyler Parks, then set up Tanner Laderoute, who swept in a shot from the inner edge of the right circle for a 3-2 score. Then, Jarrett Lee tallied for the second straight night, when he deposited the rebound of Justin Lee's shot inside of the right post. Unfortunately, the deadlock only lasted for 13 seconds before the Komets went back on top. Cormier's initial pass bounced its way to De Jong, who stepped up and completed his hat trick by blazing in a shot from the left side of the slot.

Fort Wayne extended its edge in the early stages of the third period. Dugan notched his first of the evening with a wrist shot from the right circle, and Ethan Keppen followed that with a shorthanded breakaway, as he roofed a backhander into the top-right corner. Isaac Belliveau tallied one more for Wheeling with a one-timer from the right point, before Dugan put the finishing touches on the 7-4 score with an empty netter for the Komets.

Tyler Parks started the game for Fort Wayne, and made 21 saves on 24 shots, before leaving the game in favor of Ryan Fanti, who got the win by turning away 11 of 12 shots. Christian Propp turned aside 24 of the 30 attempts he faced in his professional debut.

The Nailers will return home Sunday afternoon for a 4:10 game against the Cincinnati Cyclones. That game will be Faith & Family Day, which will feature a pregame faith presentation with players. One lucky fan will also win a free TV courtesy of Walmart, fans can skate with even-numbered players after the game, and $2 sundaes will be available for kids at Flurry's. The next Big Six Promotional Game is Wizards & Wands on Saturday, March 23rd. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.


Images from this story

Wheeling Nailers' Jarrett Lee on the ice
Wheeling Nailers' Jarrett Lee on the ice


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