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Erik Johnson followed up his first ever two-goal performance with the Nailers on Friday by scoring three times in Saturday's game as the Wheeling Nailers hung on for a 6-4 win at the Reading Royals Saturday night. Johnson has 5 goals on the weekend and sealed this game's win with an empty-net tally with 13 seconds remaining.

Johnson is the 5th Nailer to record a hat-trick this season as he joins Bryan Ewing, Rob Sirianni, Tobias Holm and Tommy Goebel in that elite group. The Nailers have a total of 7 hat tricks this season with Ewing leading the way with three of them.

The Nailers lengthened their lead in the ECHL North with their 2nd road victory in a row. Johnstown lost to fall 6 points behind the division leaders. Cincinnati won their game to leapfrog Johnstown into 2nd place but trail the Nailers by 5 points.

For the 2nd game in a row the Nailers carried a 3-0 lead into the 3rd period but had to hold off an inspired attack by the opposition to get the win. Reading scored 4 goals in the final period to cut the score to 4-3 and 5-4 at different points.

A 20 shot barrage by the Royals helped get them back into the game. Despite allowing the 4 goals Curtis Darling played a fine game in net in getting the victory. Darling denied Reading on 3 breakaway opportunities in the contest and made several other nice stops for his 2nd win in a row.

Elgin Reid, Andrew Lord and Bryan Ewing also registered goals for the Nailers who recorded their highest goal total since a 6-1 win over Cincinnati on New Year's Eve. For Ewing it was his 28th goal of the season which is 3rd in the league. Ewing is first in the league in points with 54. Ewing's goal came one game after his league leading 7 game goal scoring streak was snapped at Johnstown.

The Nailers are 4-1-0 vs. Reading this year and 1-1-0 at the Sovereign Center. Wheeling has won 2 straight since snapping their 6 game winless streak before the All-Star Break.

Wheeling will play Reading again next Friday, January 30th back at the Sovereign Center to end their 4 game road trip.

The Nailers conclude their 3 game in 3 day road trip Sunday at the Elmira Jackals for a 4:05 tilt.

Wheeling has another great promotion lined up for their next home game on Saturday, January 31st in their 8:05 game vs. the Mississippi Seawolves on Coach Reno Bobblehead night. The first 2500 fans get the Coach Reno bobblehead and the Nailers will be honoring the legendary coach of the Steubenville Big Red football program as well as the Steubenville community.

It's also Steelers Super Bowl Pep-Rally Night at WesBanco Arena. Wear your Black and Gold in support of the Pittsburgh Steelers and bring your Terrible Towels! The Craziest Fan receives a prize package from the Wheeling Nailers as we get you ready for the Big Game the following day. So come out to WesBanco Arena to cheer on the Nailers and show your Steelers Pride with our Super Bowl Pep-Rally.

For more information contact the Nailers at 304-234-GOAL (that's 234-4625) or log on at wheelingnailers.com.
 
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