Nailers at Monarchs Game Day Snap Shot
How Sweep it was: The Wheeling Nailers turned in a perfect 4-0-0 record on their recent homestand, which finished off with a 4-2 win against the Norfolk Admirals on Saturday night. Wheeling opened the scoring at the 13:44 mark of the first period, when Dan Milan stepped up into the left circle, where he wired home a slap shot. Norfolk rallied back to take the lead in the middle frame, as Alex Pompeo and Patrick D'Amico scored 1:15 apart from each other. However, the Nailers put forth a strong third period, coming back to earn the triumph. J.C. Campagna got the equalizer, gloving a pass down to his stick, as he batted the shot out of the air. Cam Brown tallied the winning marker with two minutes remaining in regulation, depositing the rebound of Garrett Meurs' initial attempt. Campagna added an empty netter 47 seconds later for the 4-2 result. Will King earned his second win in a row, turning aside 37 of the 39 shots he faced.
Second Period was a Royal Flush: The Manchester Monarchs suffered a 6-2 loss to the Reading Royals in their final game before the All-Star Break on Sunday, and most of the damage was done during the second period. Reading's Matt Wilkins got the first goal of the day, before the Monarchs battled back to take a 2-1 lead in the opening stanza on markers by Matt Schmalz and Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman. The Royals wasted little time in taking control of the contest during the middle frame, scoring four times in the first nine minutes, before tacking on one more for good measure during the final seven minutes of the period. ECHL All-Star Michael Huntebrinker was the lone player to light the lamp twice, while teammates Dillan Fox, Nolan Zajac, and Chris McCarthy also got into the fun offensively. John Muse made 40 saves in the win, beating Branden Komm, who was pulled after giving up five goals on 24 shots. Charles Williams was 15-of-16 in relief.
Mixing in a Quick Roadie: This weekend's three-game road trip will be the lone time away from home for the Nailers during a 31-day stretch, as the team recently completed a four-game homestand, with a seven-game homestand set to begin on Wednesday. While it's only three games, Wheeling will be bummed to leave home, where it has posted a 13-6-1 mark. The 13 home wins are tied for the second most in the Eastern Conference. The Nailers are 8-9-2 on the road thus far this season, and will be looking to end a three-game skid on enemy ice. Road games will be coming fast and furious starting on February 9th, as Wheeling will play nine of 11 games away from the Friendly City over a span of 23 days. The Monarchs have played at SNHU Arena just 15 times this season - the second fewest home games in the league, with nearby rival Worcester's 14 home games coming in as the lowest total.
All-Star Recap: The ECHL held the 2018 All-Star Classic on Monday afternoon at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, with the league's four divisions competing in a 3-on-3 tournament. The host Indy Fuel had two representatives, while the remaining 26 teams each had one player. Cody Wydo got to show off his skills, and in doing so, made his way into the league's record book. Wydo participated in the Fastest Skater Competition, and turned in a time of 13.04 seconds, which was the second fastest time in ECHL history. The fastest time ever was 12.75 seconds by Cincinnati's Justin Danforth, who won this year's competition. As for the tournament, the North Division bowed out early, falling 3-1 to the South Division. The victorious squad was the Mountain Division, who defeated the South Division, 6-5 in a shootout in the final game. Former Nailers Kyle Bushee (Kalamazoo) and David Makowski (Allen) also took part in the ECHL All-Star Classic.
Nice to be Back in New Hampshire: Friday night marks the second of six head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Monarchs this season, as well as the first of two battles at SNHU Arena. This is Manchester's third season in the ECHL, but it's just the second trip to New Hampshire for Wheeling, who last visited the Granite State on February 14, 2016. That was not a memorable day for the visiting squad, as the Monarchs defeated the eventual Eastern Conference Champions, 6-2. However, the Nailers have won each of their last three games against Manchester, utilizing the home ice advantage of WesBanco Arena. The most recent of those victories was recorded on January 5th, when Wheeling scored six consecutive goals in a 7-4 triumph. Riley Bourbonnais and Chris Francis both had four points, including a hat trick by Bourbonnais. The Monarchs will play two games in West Virginia on January 27th and 28th, before the Nailers return to Manchester on February 28th.
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