WHEELING - In many respects, Reading is a team Wheeling would like to emulate.
Sure, the Royals are the defending Kelly Cup champions, but its the way Coach Larry Courville's club goes about business that the Nailers would like to incorporate into their own game.
Reading (5-3-0 - 10) was in the shooting lanes, active with its sticks and nasty around its net. To put it another way, the full Royals arsenal was on display in a 2-0 victory Saturday night at WesBanco Arena.
Wheeling’s Scott Zurevinski (19) shoots as Reading’s Ryan Kavanagh (7) defends Saturday night.
"They're good defensively and they battle down in the D-zone,'' Wheeling (3-4-1 - 7) coach Clark Donatelli said. ''You don't have many scoring chances against them.
"You've got to grind it out down there. It's not really one (shot) and out ... they end plays.''
That makes it pretty easy for a guy like goaltender Brandon Anderson. He stopped Denver Manderson on a shorthanded breakaway, flashing his glove with 10:49 to go in the second period. Other than that though, Anderson didn't have to work very hard for a 19-save shutout, the third of his career.
''They're getting the puck deep on our 'D' and really working us down there,'' said forward Carter Rowney, who was held without a shot one night after recording his first pro hat trick. ''They're ending plays in our offensive zone.
''That's the key for them. We end up not getting in O-zone time.''
Wheeling rookie Eric Hartzell played well enough to earn a victory, stopping 31 of 33. He would undoubtedly like to have Stanislav Galiev's third goal of the season back, a wrister with 16:42 gone in the first.
''We're in a position (down 1-0) at the end of the day to come out and win that game in the third period,'' Donatelli said. ''He made some great saves going down the stretch and in the second period he was phenomenal.
''Yeah, he let that one in, but we've got to give him some help. We've got to score some goals.''
Hartzell kept it a one-goal game midway through the second period as Reading captain Yannick Tifu bore down on a 2-on-1, only to be denied.
The Nailers finished 0-for-4 on the power play with just three shots, bringing their season total to 1 of 29. Donatelli said during the week that it hadn't quite reached problem status, but changed his tune after another listless effort.
"Oh, it's a problem. Absolutely,'' Donatelli said. ''You look at our PK and it's second or third in the league, and we've got the same players on the ice.
''We've got to simplify it and get more pucks to the net. It doesn't matter how hard it is, it just has to get there.''
The Royals put the capper on a victory at 12:20 of the third when the Nailers failed to clear the puck out of their own zone. The beneficiary was Domenic Monardo, who beat Hartzell for his fourth goal.
Reading has won both meetings between the two clubs, who jumped on their respective buses and headed to Pennsylvania to play again, at 4:05 today.
''We played hard,'' Donatelli said. ''The difference between that team and our team right now is attention to detail.
''It's details and also their habits are better right now.''
Wheeling finished a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, bringing its season total to 30 of 32. ... Galiev's goal came just as a Reading penalty was expiring, so it goes down as the Nailers' second shorthanded goal against. ... Ryley Miller and Christiaan Minella each dropped the gloves for the Nailers. Chaz Johnson also did, dropping Bryant Molle with a right hand along the boards. Someone each was only given a roughing minor. ... Wheeling's Jack MacLellan had two-game goal-scoring and five-game point streaks snapped. ... Manderson was held without an assist for the first time in five games.
Reading1 0 1 - 2
Wheeling0 0 0 - 0
1st Period-1, Reading, Galiev 3 (Caporusso, Wey), 16:42 (SH). Penalties-Molle Rea (fighting - major), 8:04; Minella Whl (fighting - major), 8:04; Gill Whl (hooking), 14:42; Monardo Rea (slashing ), 15:38.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Flemming Rea (delay of game), 2:11; Grassi Whl (tripping), 5:39; Wiles Rea (fighting - major), 7:13; Stevenson Whl (boarding, fighting - major), 7:13; Cox Rea (interference, fighting - major), 12:59; Miller Whl (fighting - major), 12:59.
3rd Period-2, Reading, Monardo 4 (Caporusso, Galiev), 12:20. Penalties-Molle Rea (roughing), 14:56; Johnson Whl (roughing), 14:56; Gazley Rea (high-sticking), 18:04; Rowney Whl (hooking), 19:01.
Shots on Goal-Reading 13-14-6-33. Wheeling 5-8-6-19.
Power-Play Opportunities-Reading 0-4; Wheeling 0-4.
Goalies-Reading, Anderson 2-1-0-0 (19 shots-19 saves). Wheeling, Hartzell 0-2-0-1 (33 shots-31 saves).
Referee-Frederic Leblanc (25); Linesmen-Francois Dussureault (62), Patrick Richardson (82).