November 16, 2009 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers
The Wheeling Nailers split a pair of overtime thrillers with the Johnstown Chiefs in an exciting home-and-home weekend. Friday night the Nailers overcame a 3-1 deficit in the 3rd period on goals by Blair Yaworski and Casey Pierro-Zabotel to force overtime and set the stage for Joey Haddad's game-winner. It was the second straight overtime victory in a row for Wheeling and was especially dramatic due to the late comeback. Wheeling trailed their oldest rivals by two goals with 10 minutes remaining.
Saturday night at WesBanco Arena in the rematch saw a similar situation. Wheeling trailed by a pair heading into the 3rd period. The Nailers would come back to take the lead only to lose in overtime as the Chiefs got the dramatic victory this time. Aaron Clarke's steal and breakaway goal 7 minutes into the 3rd closed the gap to 4-3 and then rookie defenseman Alex Grant blasted home back-to-back goals less than 2 minutes apart to tie the score 4-4 and then give the Nailers the lead 5-4 with a little over 7 minutes remaining.
Johnstown tied the score with 1:20 left on a controversial goal after netminder Jordan Parise thought he had possession of the puck and also as the cage was getting knocked ajar of the pegs. The goal stood and Johnstown's Mike Bartlett jammed in the game-winner in overtime.
Wheeling took 3 out of 4 points on the weekend and improved to 4-7-2 on the season.
Thomas Beauregard fired in 3 goals in the two games including consecutive power play goals in the 1st period of the Saturday night contest. Beauregard's 10 goals puts him 3rd in the ECHL trailing Ryan Kinasewich of Utah (16) and Chance Fitzpatrick of Elmira (11).
Coming Up -
The Wheeling Nailers hit the road this weekend for a pair of games at the high-flying Elmira Jackals. At 8-4-2 the Jackals lead the North Division with 18 points and are 3rd in the American Conference.
The Jackals are second in the league in scoring at 4.36 goals per game. They are coming off an 11-3 rout at Gwinnett last Saturday. They feature the Donati twin brothers who are two of the most dangerous scorers in the league. Justin Donati leads the league with 28 points on 8 goals and 20 assists. Tyler Donati is 3rd in the league with 26 points on 7 goals and 19 assists. Justin Donati is coming off a 4 goal performance in that 11-3 win at Gwinnett. Chance Fitzpatrick has 11 goals to place 2nd in the league.
The Nailers are 0-1 against the Elmira Jackals this year having dropped a 4-3 decision on October 21st after having lead 2-1 in the 3rd period. Tyler Donati scored the go-ahead goal for the Jackals.
The Jackals have been quite streaky this year. They raced out to a 7-0 start to begin the season. Then went on a 5 game winless streak right after that to fall to 7-3-2. Then they got back on track with their 11 goal explosion at the Gladiators.
The Nailers had a season high 44 shots on goal Saturday night and have outshot their opponents in 4 consecutive games going 2-1-1 in that stretch.
Wheeling had 3 power play goals in Saturday night's game which is a season-high. It was their second multi PPG game of the season.
Thomas Beauregard has a 3 game goal scoring streak with 4 goals in the stretch. He leads the Nailers in scoring with 13 points on 10 goals and 3 assists. His 10 goals places him 3rd in the ECHL.
Jordan Fox returned to the lineup a couple weeks ago from an injury he suffered in the season opener October 16th at Cincinnati and he has made quite an impact. Since returning in the November 6th game vs. South Carolina he has a 4 game point streak with 2 goals and 5 assists.
The other Fox (no relation) is doing quite well also. T.J. Fox had 3 assists in the two games last weekend and is second on the Nailers in that department with 8.
Mitch Ganzak leads the Nailers with 9 assists. He is tied for 5th among ECHL defensemen in assists and is tied for 6th among blue-liners in total points with 10. The Miami (Ohio) product had 7 goals and 33 assists last year to earn a spot on the ECHL All-Rookie team.
Slavomir Tomko made his Wheeling Nailers debut last weekend appearing in both games against the Chiefs. Tomko had spent the first month of the season on the injured-reserve list. The native of Slovakia played for Elmira last year where he led the team in plus-minus rating.
Player Moves -
Two Nailers were called up to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after last weekend's games. Alex Grant and Joey Haddad are the 2nd and 3rd Nailers to make it up to the Baby Pens this season where they will join Lane Caffaro. Joey Haddad was 2nd on the team in scoring prior to his call-up with 5 goals and 6 assists.
New Nailers who might see their first action this weekend include Chris Davis and Cleve Kinley. Davis is wearing #21 and is a forward who had briefly played with Stockton before being picked up by the Nailers. The Simsbury, Conn. native is a rookie out of UMass-Amherst.
Cleve Kinley will be wearing #3 and is an experienced defenseman in his 3rd full season of professional hockey. The Surrey, BC native came out of UMass-Lowell and most recently was with the Florida Everblades this year before being acquired by the Nailers for future considerations. Last year he played primarily with Stockton in the National Conference of the ECHL while also receiving an AHL call-up to Springfield, Mass. Kinley had 4 goals and 24 assists in 45 games with Stockton last year. In 2007-08 he played mostly with the Texas Wildcatters of the ECHL who were one of the top teams in the league while also earning a 10 game call-up to Grand Rapids of the AHL.
Upcoming Home Games and Promotions:
Wed, November 25 - Wheeling Nailers vs. Florida Everblades
WesBanco Wednesday and WVU Appreciation. $1 Beers through the first intermission. 2-for-1 ticket coupons at WesBanco or by showing your WesBanco card or check-book at the game. Nailers to wear Blue-and-Gold jerseys in tribute to the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Sat, November 28 - Wheeling Nailers vs. Cincinnati Cyclones
George Kellas Bobbleheads and Pink in the Rink and Toys for Tots and Teddy Bear Toss. The great sportscaster George Kellas to be honored at the game and the first 2500 fans to receive Kellas bobbleheads. Nailers to wear pink jerseys in support of breast cancer awareness. Pink jerseys to be auctioned on the ice with the players after the game (note - this is a LIVE auction after the game$B!D(Bnot an online auction). Bring new toys to donate to area needy kids for the holidays. Teddy Bear toss to benefit local charities. Fans get to throw the Teddy Bears after the Nailers score the first goal.
Sun, November 29 - Wheeling Nailers vs. Cincinnati Cyclones
NFL Jersey Sunday and Skate with the Nailers. Wear an NFL jersey to get $2 off any adult ticket. Post-game skate with the Wheeling Nailers players. Bring your own skates and gloves as well as pens and cameras to get autographs and pictures.
Wheeling-Mountaineer College Hockey Club Tournament at WesBanco Arena:
Saturday, November 28 - Noon and 3pm. West Chester vs. Duquesne and Ohio U vs. West Virginia.
Sunday, November 29 - Noon and 3pm. Consolation and Championship games.
All part of a hockey triple-header at WesBanco with the Wheeling Nailers playing at home both nights.
Experience Counts: Greg Puhalski is entering his 16th year at the bench and 3rd for the Nailers. He is second among all ECHL coaches with 601 coming into this season trailing only Steve Martinson of Elmira who had 650 wins entering this year. Puhalski has over 200 ECHL wins dating back to the beginning of his coaching career with the Toledo Storm from 1994-98.
Right-Hand Man: Greg Puhalski has an assistant coach on the staff this year. Doug Doull joins the Nailers and the Penguins organization after doing some coaching in Canadian University hockey for a couple seasons following his 8 year playing career in the AHL and NHL. Doull fought some of the NHL's toughest customers in his time with the Boston Bruins in 2003-04. He played 37 games in the NHL mostly with Boston (and 2 with Washington) and racked up 151 PIM's. His AHL career included stays with Hershey, San Antonio, Utah, Providence, St. John's, Saint John and with other AAA level teams in the old IHL in the late 90's with Michigan (now Kalamazoo), Detroit Vipers and Manitoba.
It's a Girl!!
Wheeling head coach Greg Puhalski is the Ohio Valley's newest Dad! His wife Ally is doing well after giving birth to that couple's first child, a healthy baby girl. Zara Katherine Puhalski was born at 7:05 p.m. on October 29th.
Nailers broadcaster Bob Rotruck and Nailers Accountant Linda Timberlake also share that birthday and both say they heartily approve of the date chosen by the newest member of Nailers Nation!
Congratulations Greg and Ally. And welcome to Nailers Nation Zara!!
Divisional Foes: The Wheeling Nailers are competing in the North Division again but there has been some realignment in the American Conference. In the four team North the Nailers' divisional rivals will be the Cincinnati Cyclones, Toledo Walleye and Kalamazoo Wings. Toledo returns to the league after a two year hiatus to build their new arena. Kalamazoo (Mich.) enters the ECHL for the first time after 34 years of professional hockey tradition in other leagues.
Wheeling will maintain their rivalries with teams like Johnstown and Elmira and will play them just as many times as typical but those teams will be part of the new four team East Division along with Trenton and Reading. The South Division will comprise Florida, South Carolina, Charlotte and Gwinnett. Wheeling will face all 11 American Conference opponents this year both at home and on the road so there will be a wide variety of foes hitting the ice at WesBanco in the coming months. The top 8 teams out of 12 in the American Conference qualify for the playoffs with the division winners securing the top 3 seeds.
Nailers on the Radio: All Wheeling Nailers games are broadcast on the Nailers Hockey Network presented by Amica Insurance led by flagship station The Mix 97.3 and on wheelingnailers.com and the B2 network. Bob Rotruck is in his second season with the play-by-play action while former Wheeling Thunderbirds defenseman Brock Woods enters his 10th season of providing color commentary on the home games. Catch the preview of the night's action beginning with the Subway Countdown to Faceoff beginning 20 minutes before the drop of the puck. The Riesbeck's Food Markets Post-game report features a detailed recap of the night's action, audio-replay highlights, and also interviews with coaches and players on home games.
The Nailers Power Hour Presented by Pepsi airs on Thursdays at 6pm from Generation's Pub and Restaurant featuring the Voice of the Nailers, Bob Rotruck, head coach Greg Puhalski, and a player guest each week. Come join us for the fun. The show also features audio-replay highlights of the previous week's action and a recap of the games and preview of what's coming up for the Nailers. Season tickets are on sale now for all 36 exciting Nailers home games at WesBanco Arena. Great season ticket plans are available for every budget. Also take advantage of the Nailers new $87 package for 7 Nailers home games. Call the Wheeling Nailers at (304) 234-GOAL, that's 234-4625. Or log on to wheelingnailers.com for more information.
Make it a Hockey Night in Wheeling with one of our popular Nailers overnight packages starting at just $99. Come cheer for the proud AA affiliate of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins$B!D(Bthe Wheeling Nailers$B!D(Bless than an hour from downtown Pittsburgh!
Two tickets, hotel room, dinner in town$B!D(Byou'll have a great time. Other packages available too including a $159 package at Wheeling Island Hotel and Casino.
To reserve your overnight package with the Nailers call 304-234-GOAL
Birthday Parties with the Nailers:
Have a Birthday Blast with the Nailers! The Birthday Boy or Girl gets all sorts of great stuff including a Team Autographed Birthday Card, Photo with the mascot, Spike, a Nailers Hockey Puck, a free kids meal at Perkins and a special announcement in the arena! Everyone in the group gets tickets to the game, Ice Cream from United Dairy, a free soda, and a special visit from Spike! You can make it a premium birthday package for pizza, hot dogs, cupcakes and more. It's Birthday Party Fun with the Nailers! Call 304-234-GOAL to book your special night!