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Nailers Drop New Year's Eve Matchup Against Reading

Updated: Tuesday, December 31 2013, 11:02 PM EST

WHEELING, WV- On Tuesday night, the Wheeling Nailers brought the curtain down on the 2013 calendar year, as they played host to the Reading Royals at WesBanco Arena. Despite a strong start, scoring the game's first goal, the Nailers were unable to finish the year with a bang, as the Royals scored four unanswered goals, picking up a 4-1 win.

For the first time in four games, Wheeling opened the scoring, needing just 2:42 to get on the board. Scott Zurevinski and Chaz Johnson worked the puck through neutral ice for Jack MacLellan, who broke in on the right side of the offensive zone. MacLellan then cut toward the slot, before wristing a shot into the left side of the net for a 1-0 lead. Midway through the period, the Royals tied the score. Yannick Tifu fed Michal Cajkovsky in the slot, who spun around, connecting on a backhander along the ice.

The game picked up physically in the second period, but the score remained deadlocked until the 1:02 mark of the third. At that point, Reading set up a three-way passing play, with Sean Wiles leading Yannick Tifu, who spotted Ryan Cruthers open on the right side of the crease. Cruthers tapped the puck over the line for a 2-1 lead. Later in the frame, the Royals dented the twine with a pair of power play goals, as Michal Cajkovsky blasted in a slap shot from the left point, before Cruthers lifted in his second of the game from the bottom of the left circle. Those goals clinched the 4-1 win for the visitors.

Josh Watson made his professional debut for Reading, and earned the win, making 23 saves on 24 shots. Brooks Ostergard played in his first game with the Nailers, but suffered the loss, turning away 24 of the 28 shots he faced.

The Nailers are back on home ice on Friday at 7:00, when they take on the Elmira Jackals.

Nailers Drop New Year's Eve Matchup Against Reading

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