Nailers at Cyclones Game Day Snap Shot, February 21
Wheeling Nailers (24-23-5-1, 54 Pts.) at Cincinnati Cyclones (37-9-3-3, 80 Pts.), 7:35 p.m.
(24-23-5-1, 54 PTS, 5th Central, 9th West)
183 GF, 177 GA
PP: 21.7% (49-for-226), 5th
PK: 81.2% (194-for-239), 18th
NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins
AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (14 goals, 29 assists, 43 points in 48 games)
21-F-Cam Brown (9 goals, 28 assists, 37 points in 34 games)
23-F-Michael Phillips (15 goals, 19 assists, 34 points in 53 games)
12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points in 45 games)
22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (12 goals, 19 assists, 31 points in 30 games)
14-F-Cedric Lacroix (16 goals, 13 assists, 29 points in 52 games)
31-G-Jordan Ruby (8-4-2 record, 2.65 GAA, .917 Sv% in 16 games)
(37-9-3-3, 80 PTS, 1st Central, 1st West)
206 GF, 122 GA
PP: 14.5% (33-for-228), 22nd
PK: 85.2% (161-for-189), 5th
NHL Affiliate: Buffalo Sabres
AHL Affiliate: Rochester Americans
19-F-Jesse Schultz (17 goals, 43 assists, 60 points in 52 games)
10-F-Alex Wideman (18 goals, 32 assists, 50 points in 48 games)
27-F-Brady Vail (18 goals, 27 assists, 45 points in 48 games)
24-F-Pascal Aquin (20 goals, 23 assists, 43 points in 50 games)
17-F-Myles Powell (20 goals, 22 assists, 42 points in 38 games)
5-D-Eric Knodel (12 goals, 25 assists, 37 points in 52 games)
29-G-Michael Houser (19-4-3 record, 1.92 GAA, .930 Sv% in 26 games)
Season Series: Cyclones 3, Nailers 1
Season Series at U.S. Bank Arena: Cyclones 2, Nailers 0
All-Time Series: Cyclones 67, Nailers 62
All-Time Series at U.S. Bank Arena: Cyclones 37, Nailers 28
Emptying the Tank for One More Win
The Wheeling Nailers played their fourth game in five days on Sunday afternoon, when they visited the Fort Wayne Komets, who had been off the previous night. Fort Wayne scored the first goal of the day, but the Nailers responded well, tallying four straight times to build a 4-1 lead at the end of two periods. Trevor Yates and Alec Butcher scored 1:09 apart from each other in the opening stanza, before Robbie Hall and Cedric Lacroix upped the advantage in the middle frame. Zac Lynch scored the lone goal in the third period for Wheeling, and that turned out to be a larger marker than expected, as the Komets surged back to force overtime with a 5-5 tie. The contest progressed to a shootout, and that's when the Nailers prevailed, as Cam Brown and Butcher converted on their attempts, while Jordan Ruby followed up a 42-save performance in the game by denying two of three Fort Wayne shooters for the 6-5 Wheeling triumph.
Doing us a Favor
The Cincinnati Cyclones will be playing their second game in as many nights, after helping the Nailers by taking down the third place Kalamazoo Wings at U.S. Bank Arena on Wednesday night. Cincinnati set the tone right off the hop, lighting the lamp three times in the opening 11:30 of play, chasing Kalamazoo starting goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks on ten shots. Seven different players recorded points on the three goals, which were scored by Jesse Schultz, Myles Powell, and Mike Marnell, while the Cyclones outshot the Wings, 15-4. Eric Knodel added a goal in the second period, before Vasili Glotov put the finishing touches on the 5-1 victory in the third. Michael Houser had a smooth night in the crease for Cincinnati, making 19 saves on 20 shots for his 19th win of the season, which ranks second in the ECHL.
Making an Early Mark
Alec Butcher made his professional debut with the Nailers on January 12th, scoring a key goal late in the second period of a 3-2 home win over the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. The Anchorage, Alaska native has gone on to rack up nine goals, four assists, and 13 points in his first 17 games with Wheeling, and last week, he made his presence felt at some enormous times. On Friday, Alec collected his first career game winning goal, scoring at the 1:25 mark of overtime to defeat the Brampton Beast, 5-4. Then, on Sunday, Butcher delivered another clinching goal, connecting on the final shot of the shootout in Fort Wayne. A couple of other mid-season acquisitions have also been excelling as of late, as Trevor Yates scored his first goal as a Nailer on Sunday, giving him five points in seven games, while Jordan Ruby, who was signed in December, made 131 saves in the four games last week, improving to 5-2-1 in his last eight decisions.
They Protect Their House
U.S. Bank Arena has not been a friendly venue for visiting teams during the 2018-19 season, as Cincinnati has been dominant in its home arena. Wednesday's victory was the 21st in 26 home games for the Cyclones this year, as they enter Thursday's tilt with a 21-1-4 record in front of their fans. The lone regulation loss took place on January 4th, when Trey Phillips snapped a 1-1 tie with 13:21 left, lifting the Fort Wayne Komets to a 2-1 victory. With three trips left on the docket, the Nailers can ruin the chances for Cincinnati to enter the record books, as it would need to win nine of ten games in order to set the record for home wins (30 - done by three teams), while only being afforded one regulation loss to match Louisiana's ECHL record of two from the 2001-02 season. Wheeling is looking to become the first team this season to win three regulation games on the road in Ohio. The Nailers are currently tied with the Cyclones, who have won twice in regulation at Toledo.
Raising Our Level
Thursday night marks the fifth of eight head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Cyclones this season, as well as the third of five battles at U.S. Bank Arena. Cincinnati won the first two games of the set, taking identical 4-1 results at home on October 20th and November 7th. Wheeling rallied from a 2-0 deficit to prevail 3-2 at home on November 25th, before the Cyclones picked up the first road win, edging the Nailers 2-1 in overtime on February 5th. Eric Knodel scored the overtime goal in the most recent match, and he has been the most productive player in the season series, leading the way with five points. Cam Brown, Cedric Lacroix, and former Cincinnati forward lead Wheeling with two points each, as previous leaders Nick Saracino and Zac Lynch are both in the AHL. The Cyclones will make their final visit of the season to Nail City for Pittsburgh Penguins Night on March 2nd.
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ECHL Stories from February 21, 2019
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