From a town known as Wheeling, West Virginia… that’s a line you’ve heard a lot of if you’re a Billy Joel fan or watched lots of Nailers hockey. The Iowa Heartlanders took an impressive win and a close shootout loss. Iowa now has 15 points in their last eight games and has climbed all the way to second in the Central Position, the highest spot in the standings Iowa has held since their brief first-place stint following their inaugural win.
On Wednesday in Kalamazoo, Peyton Jones took his 80+ minute goalless streak to the Wings Event Center and extended that streak to 100 minutes before a Robert Calisti Power Play Goal ended that streak. Despite falling behind, Will Calverley took the opportunity to work with reinforcement Casey Dornbach from the Iowa Wild and stuck two past Lemieux and the K-Wings Defense before Dornbach got a goal of his own to seal the victory.
On Thanksgiving night, Iowa and Fort Wayne played the only professional hockey game in the US/Canada for the Komets’ 66th Annual Thanksgiving game. Despite reigning player of the week Davis Koch and veteran winger Jake Durflinger netting early goals, the Komets’ high-powered offense was able to even up the score at two following the first period, a season-high in first-period goals in a Heartlanders Game.
Following a smooth and scoreless second period, Fort Wayne’s Morgan Adams-Moisan briefly got the game-leading goal into Peyton Jones’ net, where Davis Koch put his second of the game past Brett Brochu, who replaced Komets starter Tyler Parks coming onto the ice for the third period. After a scoreless remainder of the game and overtime, Odeen Tufto’s post-shot, Davis Koch’s goal, and Casey Dornbach’s wide shot were simply not enough to match the Komets’ perfect shootout.
The Heartlanders took three of four available points against their first two rivals of the weekend and will look to take more in Wheeling. Luckily, Iowa will be enjoying a reinforcement in Brett Budgell from the Iowa Wild. Budgell will likely replace Michael Knaub on the roster as Knaub moves to Injured Reserve. Nick Campoli, who suffered a knock against Kalamazoo, has been nothing but incredible this season and may join Knaub there as well.
The Heartlanders and Nailers will play seven games this season, and Wheeling currently sits in 5th in the Central Division. Wheeling returns many names that are unpopular to the people of Coralville, such as David Jankowski and Peter Laviolette, son of the New York Rangers’ Head Coach of the same name.
The two games at the WesBanco Arena will take place on Saturday, November 25th at 6:10 pm and Sunday the 26th at 3:10 pm. Landers fans can expect to see Hunter Jones in one of the two games and Peyton Jones in the other, though it is not clear who will lead the team out on each night. Drew DeRidder has been placed on reserve to allow Hunter a spot on the active roster.
Iowa will hope to extend their eight-game point streak against their third major rival with their games against the Nailers.