Wheeling Nailers

Nailers at Stingrays Game Day Snap Shot

May 24, 2016 - ECHL (ECHL)
Wheeling Nailers News Release

The Comeback Starts With a Comeback

The Wheeling Nailers needed to battle back from a 3-2 series deficit to advance to the Kelly Cup Final, and in game six on Monday night, they used a comeback win to force the decisive seventh game. South Carolina jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, before Anton Zlobin closed the gap to one, when he found the back of the net with a long wrist shot on the power play. The Nailers drew even midway through the second period. Cody Wydo stripped the puck from a Stingray, then led John McCarron for a mini-breakaway, which he roofed with his backhand. Wheeling grabbed its lone lead of regulation at the 4:50 mark of the third period, as Zlobin converted for his second of the night, drilling in a perfect pass from Derek Army. South Carolina ended up forcing overtime, but in the extra session, the Nailers came away victorious, as Jarrett Burton buried a wrist shot into the right side of the net with 1:18 left. Brian Foster made 31 saves in the win, which included a plethora of stops on Wheeling's 8-for-8 penalty kill.

They Started, We Finished

The South Carolina Stingrays appeared to have the Nailers where they wanted them during the first six minutes of Monday night's contest, as they grabbed a 2-0 lead right off of the hop. South Carolina's first tally came just 43 seconds in, and required a bit of puck luck, as Wade Epp's shot rocketed off of teammate Stephan Vigier in the left circle. Vigier ended up settling down the puck, and sliding a feed over for Kelly Zajac, who had an empty net to deposit goal one. The second marker also featured a mostly open cage, as Wheeling turned the puck over, allowing Zajac to return the favor, setting up Vigier on the left side of the slot. The Nailers stormed back with three straight goals to go ahead, but with 12:11 left in the third period, the Stingrays sent the game to overtime. Caleb Herbert redirected David Pacan's shot, trickling it in over the goal line for a 3-3 score. However, for the second time in the series, South Carolina fell short during the bonus period, as Wheeling came out victorious. Similar to Foster, Vitek Vanecek faced 34 shots, but made 30 saves.

40 Days for the Chance to Advance

The 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs began on April 15th for both the Nailers and Stingrays, as Wheeling used a four-goal first period to defeat the Florida Everblades 6-3, while South Carolina put 40 shots on net in a 4-1 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings. 39 days later, the two sides collide with the winner earning the title of Eastern Conference Champions. This will be the Nailers' 20th postseason game this year, as they continue to add to their record-setting playoff run. The Stingrays will be taking the ice for the 19th time, after playing 27 games a year ago, when they fell one win short of their fourth title. During those exhausting stretches of games, both sides have seen their share of overtime. Wheeling has gone to three extra periods once, double overtime once, and single overtime twice (less than two minutes remained in both single overtime tilts), while South Carolina has had two games each settled in single and double overtime. If the Nailers win on Tuesday, they will play June hockey for the first time ever. If the Stingrays prevail, they will go to June for the second time.

Only One Can Enjoy This One

During the second round of the postseason, Wheeling and South Carolina had the opportunity to play in and win a seventh game, sending themselves to the Eastern Conference Final. Both teams are in similar positions on Tuesday, as the Nailers rallied from a 3-2 series deficit against the Reading Royals, which was exactly where they stood entering Monday's sixth contest. The Stingrays won their game seven on home ice, which is where they will play this decisive match as well. This will be the fifth time that Wheeling plays a seventh game, and it enters with a 2-2 record, having gone to overtime in all four previous contests. South Carolina is 4-1 in five previous visits to game seven. Four of those five have occurred in the past two seasons, as the Stingrays went to the decisive clash in three of four series a year ago, then again in the second round of this season's playoffs. Overtime has been required in two of the five games.

Lots of Extra Time Here

Tuesday night is game seven of the Eastern Conference Final Series between the Nailers and Stingrays, as well as the fourth and final battle at North Charleston Coliseum. Regardless of which team advances, there will be plenty of time to work with, as the championship round against the Allen Americans won't begin until the weekend. That will be good news, as these two teams seem to enjoy playing long games in South Carolina during the playoffs. In fact, five of the seven historical playoff contests in that building have needed overtime to decide a winner. Wheeling won both of its road games in 2011 during the extra session, added another overtime triumph in 2014, and has collected bonus hockey victories in games two and six of the current series. On the flip side of that, only one of 17 games in the regular season and playoffs has gone past sixty minutes at WesBanco Arena. The memories of game seven will last for a while, as the two teams will not meet up during the 2016-17 regular season.

Wheeling Nailers (11-8) at South Carolina Stingrays (11-7)



56 GF, 57 GA

PP: 19.5% (16-for-82), 4th

PK: 88.2% (82-for-93), 1st

23-F-Riley Brace (5 goals, 15 assists, 20 points in 19 games)

18-D-Mathew Maione (5 goals, 14 assists, 19 points in 19 games)

25-F-John McCarron (7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points in 18 games)

11-F-Cody Wydo (7 goals, 7 assists, 14 points in 19 games)

24-F-Ty Loney (5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points in 19 games)

19-F-Shane Bakker (4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points in 19 games)

31-G-Brian Foster (7-5 record, 2.65 GAA, .914 Sv% in 12 games)

(37-26-5-4, 83 PTS, 2nd North, 5th East)

214 GF, 211 GA

PP: 17.8% (48-for-269), 9th

PK: 83.6% (225-for-269), 15th

23-F-Riley Brace (26 goals, 41 assists, 67 points in 56 games)

18-D-Mathew Maione (11 goals, 43 assists, 54 points in 70 games)

11-F-Cody Wydo (23 goals, 27 assists, 50 points in 59 games)

25-F-John McCarron (14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points in 51 games)

17-F-Jordan Kwas (9 goals, 20 assists, 29 points in 60 games)

27-D-Brett Stern (7 goals, 17 assists, 24 points in 72 games)

31-G-Brian Foster (10-8-3 record, 2.70 GAA, .908 Sv% in 22 games)



58 GF, 38 GA

PP: 16.0% (12-for-75), 9th

PK: 87.2% (75-for-86), 2nd

21-F-Austin Fyten (7 goals, 11 assists, 18 points in 18 games)

19-F-Kelly Zajac (3 goals, 15 assists, 18 points in 18 games)

8-F-Joe Devin (10 goals, 6 assists, 16 points in 17 games)

23-F-Caleb Herbert (10 goals, 6 assists, 16 points in 18 games)

61-F-David Pacan (3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points in 18 games)

28-F-Stephan Vigier (6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points in 18 games)

30-G-Vitek Vanacek (6-3 record, 2.02 GAA, .923 Sv% in 10 games)

(44-18-7-3, 98 PTS, 1st South, 2nd East)

224 GF, 162 GA

PP: 19.6% (51-for-260), 4th

PK: 87.5% (251-for-287), 1st

61-F-David Pacan (20 goals, 42 assists, 62 points in 69 games)

28-F-Stephan Vigier (24 goals, 26 assists, 50 points in 70 games)

10-F-Brett Cameron (20 goals, 28 assists, 48 points in 61 games)

8-F-Joe Devin (18 goals, 23 assists, 41 points in 55 games)

17-D-Bobby Shea (5 goals, 24 assists, 29 points in 64 games)

20-F-Jared Staal (12 goals, 12 assists, 24 points in 64 games)

30-G-Vitek Vanacek (18-7-6 record, 2.03 GAA, .917 Sv% in 32 games)

Head to Head

Playoff Series: Nailers 3, Stingrays 3

Playoff Series at North Charleston Coliseum: Nailers 2, Stingrays 1

Season Series: Nailers 1, Stingrays 1

Season Series at North Charleston Coliseum: Did Not Play

All-Time Series (Regular Season + Playoff): Nailers 21, Stingrays 16

All-Time Series at North Charleston Coliseum (Regular Season + Playoff): Nailers 11, Stingrays 9

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