FORT WAYNE, IN- Sunday afternoon’s contest between the Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets went right down to the wire. Unfortunately for the Nailers, they ran out of time as Matt Carter’s two goals ended up being too much, as the Komets came away with a 4-3 win in front of 7,526 fans at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Zack Torquato and Denver Manderson both had multiple point games for Wheeling.
The Nailers opened the scoring at the 6:46 mark of the first period, capitalizing on a Fort Wayne turnover. Denver Manderson stole the puck on the right side of center ice, racing in for an opportunity. Although the initial chance didn’t convert, Zack Torquato swung a pass out of the left corner for Max MacKay, who slammed in a shot from the low slot. With 5:33 remaining in the frame, the Komets pulled even. Brandon Marino led Matt Carter in on the right side of the offensive zone. Carter drew the puck to his backhand, flipping it into the net.
After a scoreless second period, the goals ramped up in the third. Fort Wayne took its first lead at the 4:17 mark, when Marino set up Chris Auger on the left side of the offensive zone. Auger worked his way to the bottom of the circle, before lifting a shot into the top of the cage, putting his team ahead. 1:16 later, Shawn Szydlowski extended the lead, when he stole a puck in neutral ice, skating in on the right side, and roofing a shot from the circle. The Nailers bounced back less than four minutes later, cutting their deficit to one. Sahir Gill dished the puck to Mike Ratchuk, who hammered home a one-timer from high in the zone for his 11th tally of the season. However, Fort Wayne regained its two-goal edge, when Carter connected for his second of the day, drilling in a one-time feed from Marino. Wheeling battled back once more, when Zack Torquato ripped in a wrist shot from low in the left circle, with 58.8 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to find the equalizer, as the Komets held on for the 4-3 win.
Andrey Makarov got the win for Fort Wayne, making 20 saves on 23 shots. Peter Mannino took the loss for Wheeling, despite stopping 32 of the 36 shots sent his way.