Nailers at Cyclones Game Day Snap Shot, March 20
Wheeling Nailers (28-27-6-2, 64 Pts.) at Cincinnati Cyclones (45-10-4-3, 97 Pts.), 7:35 p.m.
(28-27-6-2, 64 PTS, T-5th Central, T-9th West)
213 GF, 209 GA
PP: 20.3% (54-for-266), 5th
PK: 80.7% (226-for-280), 22nd
NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins
AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
27-F-Zac Lynch (15 goals, 41 assists, 56 points in 58 games)
9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (16 goals, 33 assists, 49 points in 58 games)
12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (16 goals, 23 assists, 39 points in 54 games)
23-F-Michael Phillips (16 goals, 19 assists, 35 points in 63 games)
14-F-Cedric Lacroix (19 goals, 15 assists, 34 points in 62 games)
5-D-Dan Fick (6 goals, 25 assists, 31 points in 58 games)
30-G-Matt O'Connor (9-5-3 record, 3.03 GAA, .899 Sv% in 19 games)
(45-10-4-3, 97 PTS, 1st Central, 1st West)
248 GF, 146 GA
PP: 17.4% (47-for-270), 13th
PK: 85.6% (184-for-215), 4th
NHL Affiliate: Buffalo Sabres
AHL Affiliate: Rochester Americans
19-F-Jesse Schultz (20 goals, 53 assists, 73 points in 62 games)
10-F-Alex Wideman (22 goals, 37 assists, 59 points in 58 games)
27-F-Brady Vail (25 goals, 33 assists, 58 points in 58 games)
17-F-Myles Powell (24 goals, 30 assists, 54 points in 48 games)
24-F-Pascal Aquin (24 goals, 30 assists, 54 points in 60 games)
5-D-Eric Knodel (16 goals, 31 assists, 47 points in 62 games)
29-G-Michael Houser (26-5-4 record, 2.08 GAA, .923 Sv% in 35 games)
Season Series: Cyclones 6, Nailers 1
Season Series at U.S. Bank Arena: Cyclones 4, Nailers 0
All-Time Series: Cyclones 70, Nailers 62
All-Time Series at U.S. Bank Arena: Cyclones 39, Nailers 28
An Unlucky Break
The Wheeling Nailers nearly accomplished a phenomenal feat on Saturday night, but came up one goal shy of posting a perfect 4-0-0 record at Huntington Center this season. The opening goal was a tough pill to swallow for Wheeling, as Dylan Sadowy rang his shot off both posts, but the puck was ruled to have crossed the goal line. The Nailers were able to respond later in the opening stanza, when Renars Krastenbergs slammed in the rebound of Alec Butcher's initial shot. A.J. Jenks put Toledo back in the lead during the first minute of the middle frame, converting on an odd-man rush with Shane Berschbach. Bryan Moore upped the advantage with what turned out to be a key marker, as Dan Fick threw in a wrist shot from the right point, trimming Wheeling's deficit to one. A tying strike wasn't in the cards during the third perod, as the Walleye prevailed, 3-2. Pat Nagle made 27 saves in the win, while Matt O'Connor turned aside 31 shots in his first start since March 2nd.
Quick and Painless
The Cincinnati Cyclones know exactly what it takes to win, as they earned their 45th victory of the season on Saturday night. It took Cincinnati just 25 seconds to get on the scoreboard, as Brady Vail took a feed from Pascal Aquin, and shoveled in a shot from the slot. The one-goal advantage stayed until the 5:38 mark of the second period, when Eric Knodel stepped into the middle of the offensive zone, and drove his slap shot into the top-left corner of the cage. Mike Marnell tacked on one more tally for good measure, as he took a stretch pass at the offensive blueline, blazed past the defense, and slipped his forehand attempt around the netminder. Michael Houser kept the door shut all night, thwarting all 28 shots he faced for his second shutout of the year. In an odd twist, the teams matched each other in shots on goal during all three periods (12-7-9).
Deny Them the Division
Important points are certainly on the line this week for the Nailers, as they enter the final nine games of the regular season with a four-point deficit for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. However, Wheeling can also help delay a celebration for the Cyclones, who are on the verge of becoming the second team to clinch a division title in 2018-19. Cincinnati enters play on Wednesday with 97 points, which is good for a 19-point lead over Toledo, and the Walleye have ten games remaining (20 possible points). The Florida Everblades were the first squad to lock up a division, thanks to Orlando's 7-2 loss to Idaho on Tuesday. Idaho and Tulsa joined Cincinnati and Florida in the postseason party over the weekend, while Utah sits one win away from punching its ticket to the dance. There is another game of great significance to the Nailers on Wednesday, as Fort Wayne hosts Kalamazoo.
Getting a Taste of the Review Process
At the start of the season, the ECHL made large strides in beginning the process of having video replay to help determine whether or not a goal should be counted. Four different teams got to be part of the initial project - Idaho, Kalamazoo, Toledo, and Worcester. The Nailers have played in three of those buildings, and have had reviews in all three. Each of the three goals reviewed were shots by the opposition. On February 9th in Worcester, a goal was reviewed for a potential kick, but it was determined that there was no kicking motion, and the goal stood. Wheeling went on to win that game, 5-1. On March 10th in Kalamazoo, the Wings had a goal disallowed by review, as it was determined the shot hit the crossbar. The Nailers gained a point that day, but fell in overtime, 4-3. Then, on Saturday, Toledo's Dylan Sadowy was credited with a goal in the 3-2 Walleye win. All three plays were originally called goals on the ice.
Finish the Toughest One First
Wednesday night marks the eighth and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Cyclones this season, as well as the fifth battle at U.S. Bank Arena. This will be the first season set completed within the Central Division for Wheeling, who has gone 12-18-5 in its first year in that grouping. Cincinnati has proved to be an especially difficult place to play, as the Cyclones have won all four of their home games in the series, running their season record in the Queen City to 26-1-4. Eric Knodel and Jesse Schultz have both collected eight points in the set to lead Cincinnati, while Winston Day Chief has four points for the Nailers. Although this match will conclude the regular season games, there is potential for a playoff series between the two rivals, which would be the second all-time. The Cyclones edged Wheeling in an epic seven-game series in 2009, in which the deciding goal was scored in overtime.
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ECHL Stories from March 20, 2019
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- Mariners Sign Goaltender Francois Brassard - Maine Mariners
- Cyclones Game Preview: vs. Wheeling Nailers - Cincinnati Cyclones
- Nailers at Cyclones Game Day Snap Shot, March 20 - Wheeling Nailers
- Americans Weekly - Allen Americans
- Thunder Weekly, March 20th - Wichita Thunder
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