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Nailers at Cyclones Game Day Snap Shot, October 6

October 6, 2018 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Preseason Game #2 (Cincinnati Won Opener, 2-1)

WHEELING NAILERS

2017-18:

(35-28-8-1, 79 PTS, 5th North, 8th East)

248 GF, 245 GA

PP: 19.2% (56-for-291), 3rd

PK: 80.7% (230-for-285), 21st

16-F-Eliot Grauer (21 goals, 21 assists, 42 points in 42 games - Knoxville [SPHL])

18-F-Mark Petaccio (18 goals, 19 assists, 37 points in 52 games - Evansville [SPHL])

8-F-Ray Boudiette (13 goals, 18 assists, 31 points in 45 games - Fayetteville [SPHL] & Carolina [FHL])

21-F-Tommy Mahoney (13 goals, 14 assists, 27 points in 36 games - Assumption [NE-10] & Fayetteville [SPHL])

11-F-Christian Isackson (10 goals, 16 assists, 26 points in 42 games - Milton Keynes [EIHL])

24-D-Josh Couturier (2 goals, 13 assists, 15 points in 39 games - UMass-Amherst [H-East])

30-G-Evan Cowley (14-14-1 record, 3.14 GAA, .902 Sv% in 33 games - Manchester & Springfield [AHL])

CINCINNATI CYCLONES

2017-18:

(39-30-3-0, 81 PTS, 3rd Central, 5th West)

226 GF, 220 GA

PP: 20.1% (56-for-279), 2nd

PK: 76.7% (181-for-236), 26th

19-F-Jesse Schultz (18 goals, 57 assists, 75 points in 72 games - Cincinnati)

5-D-Eric Knodel (13 goals, 39 assists, 52 points in 63 games - Cincinnati & Rochester [AHL])

46-F-Justin Vaive (32 goals, 13 assists, 45 points in 54 games - Cincinnati & Belleville [AHL])

10-F-Alex Wideman (16 goals, 32 assists, 48 points in 66 games - Indy & Rockford [AHL])

24-F-Pascal Aquin (24 goals, 19 assists, 43 points in 59 games - Charlottetown [QMJHL])

41-F-Dominic Zombo (3 goals, 18 assists, 21 points in 71 games - Cincinnati)

31-G-Jonas Johansson (18-14-0 record, 3.27 GAA, .902 Sv% in 34 games - Cincinnati & Rochester [AHL])

Head-to-Head

2017-18 Season Series: Cyclones 5, Nailers 1

2017-18 Season Series at U.S. Bank Arena: Cyclones 2, Nailers 0

All-Time Series: Cyclones 64, Nailers 61

All-Time Series at U.S. Bank Arena: Cyclones 35, Nailers 28

Defense Took the Stage First

The 2018 preseason schedule got under way on Friday night, when the Wheeling Nailers and Cincinnati Cyclones played the first half of their home-and-home series at WesBanco Arena. Defense was the theme of Friday's tilt, as the two clubs were limited to just three total goals - two of which were scored by blueliners. Cincinnati got on the board at the 12:39 mark of the first period, when Mitch Jones banked a puck off of a Wheeling defender and into the net. Anthony Florentino upped the lead for the Cyclones in the middle frame, drilling in a slap shot from the point. The Nailers got their lone marker of the evening at the 7:03 mark of the third period, when Christian Isackson set up Nick Saracino, who stuffed in a shot from the right side of the crease. All four goaltenders that suited up saw action, with Hayden Stewart and Michael Houser (W) playing for Cincinnati and Danny Tirone and Matt O'Connor (L) in the crease for Wheeling.

Searching for a Split

The scene shifts to U.S. Bank Arena for Saturday's re-match, as the Nailers look to exact revenge against the Cyclones and end their exhibition slate with a .500 record. The last time Wheeling and Cincinnati split preseason results was 2014, when each squad came away with a victory on home ice. The Cyclones swept the Nailers in 2015 and 2016, before Wheeling busted out the brooms last October. Cincinnati has had the upper hand historically in exhibition play, winning nine of the 15 head-to-head matches, including all six in the Buckeye State. This will be the first preseason trip to the Queen City for the Nailers since 2016, as they hosted both contests last year for the second time in the eight-year exhibition set. Since 2010, Wheeling and Cincinnati have played in the preseason each year except for 2013, when the Cyclones traveled to Alaska, and the Nailers hit the ice against Elmira, Fort Wayne, and Reading.

A New Game with New Faces

Both teams will be looking to see as many players in game action as they can during the 2018 preseason, meaning lineup changes are in store for Saturday night's weekend finale. For the Nailers, ten of the 20 players will be making their preseason debuts, led by goaltender Evan Cowley, who gets the starting nod. 2017-18 Wheeling forward Andrew Schmit will also get his first look from Head Coach Mike Bavis, along with five other forwards and two defensemen. The Cyclones are expected to dress some of their more experienced players, such as Jesse Schultz, who finished second in the ECHL with 75 points last season. Similar to the Nailers, Cincinnati gets a helping hand from its affiliates, the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans. Rochester inked Alex Wideman, Eric Knodel, Anthony Florentino, and Michael Houser to AHL deals. The latter two were in the lineup on Friday, while Wideman and Knodel could take the ice on Saturday. Buffalo prospect Jonas Johansson was the only goaltender that didn't travel to Wheeling, which will likely line him up to be Saturday's starter.

On the Road for a While

It was a long wait for the fans in Nail City leading up to Friday's match, as Wheeling's last home game prior to that was played on March 31st. While it won't be as long of a wait, the team's next skate in front of its loyal 27-year fanbase will be the home opener, which is four weeks away on Saturday, November 3rd, when the Indy Fuel make the first of nine visits to WesBanco Arena. While three-plus weeks of regular season play seems like an eternity, the schedule actually starts out relatively light for the Nailers, who will play just four games on the road during October. Wheeling will see teams from three of the league's four divisions during that stretch, as it will go to Norfolk on October 13th, Cincinnati on October 20th, and Reading on October 27th and 28th. The Nailers have the latest home opener in the ECHL, and it will also be the latest home opener in team history.

We'll Be There Again in Two Weeks

The rivalry between the Nailers and Cyclones will have a nice intensity to it during the upcoming season, as the two teams separated by 232 miles are divisional opponents for the first time since 2014-15, when Wheeling edged Cincinnati for the final playoff spot during the last week of the regular season. There are eight head-to-head battles on the docket during the 2018-19 regular season, as the Nailers look to turn around a 64-61 all-time lead for the Cyclones. The series will be slightly unbalanced with five of the eight games being played in Cincinnati. That is where the set will begin with game two of the regular season for Wheeling on October 20th. The Nailers will be at U.S. Bank Arena again on November 7th, before the Cyclones make their first regular season trip to West Virginia on November 25th.


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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