WHEELING, W.V. -- Gwinnett Gladiators head coach John Wroblewski's return to Wheeling was spoiled in overtime by the Nailers as they topped Gwinnett 3-2 on Friday night at WesBanco Arena.
The Gladiators (3-2-1-0) did pick up a point and the Nailers (4-0-0-0) stayed unbeaten.
The only goal of the first period came off a point-blank redirect at 18:06 by Nailer forward Chris Kusneriuk. He knocked a slapper from Olivier Dame-Malka down and past a screened Gwinnett goaltender Marc Cheverie (36 saves).
Rookie defenseman Corey Fienhage drew Gwinnett even in the second period, tapping home a centering pass from forward Joey Haddad for a short-handed tally 3:39 into the second. Andy Brandt also had an assist on the Sabres prospect's second goal of the season.
Wheeling however took back its lead at 13:57 when defenseman Andrew Hotham snuck a shot from the point by Cheverie.
The Gladiators struck back in the third period. Shane Sims rifled a shot in from the near point that Chris Clackson redirected through the five-hole at 7:43 of the third.
Wheeling capitalized on a Tyler Helfrich hooking penalty late in overtime to win. Zach Torquado spun at the near circle and beat Cheverie with a quick wrister through the wickets to seal a 3-2 win. Wheeling came into the game just 1-for-20 on the man advantage this season, but pulled through in overtime to earn the extra point.
It was homecoming for Wroblewski and Gwinnett forwards Haddad and Tyler Murovich.
Wroblewski was an assistant coach last season with the Nailers while Haddad and Murovich both played prominent roles for Wheeling.
The Gladiators wrap up their three-game northern road swing tonight in Reading at 7:05 p.m.-- From staff reports