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Nailers at Walleye Game Day Snap Shot, January 5

January 5, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers (16-15-2-0, 34 Pts.) at Toledo Walleye (23-7-3-0, 49 Pts.), 7:15 p.m.

WHEELING NAILERS

(16-15-2-0, 34 PTS, 5th Central, 10th West)

115 GF, 104 GA

PP: 21.0% (30-for-143), 3rd

PK: 82.7% (124-for-150), 18th

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins

AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

27-F-Zac Lynch (9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points in 33 games)

4-F-Alex Rauter (7 goals, 16 assists, 23 points in 26 games)

10-F-Troy Josephs (14 goals, 7 assists, 21 points in 16 games)

12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (9 goals, 10 assists, 19 points in 26 games)

23-F-Michael Phillips (8 goals, 11 assists, 19 points in 33 games)

9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (6 goals, 13 assists, 19 points in 28 games)

1-G-John Muse (5-6-0 record, 2.90 GAA, .893 Sv% in 11 games)

TOLEDO WALLEYE

(23-7-3-0, 49 PTS, 1st Central, 1st West)

127 GF, 103 GA

PP: 20.1% (31-for-154), 6th

PK: 84.4% (103-for-122), 12th

NHL Affiliate: Detroit Red Wings

AHL Affiliate: Grand Rapids Griffins

17-F-TJ Hensick (12 goals, 30 assists, 42 points in 33 games)

10-F-Shane Berschbach (16 goals, 25 assists, 41 points in 32 games)

86-F-Greg Wolfe (12 goals, 20 assists, 32 points in 33 games)

43-D-Matt Register (5 goals, 24 assists, 29 points in 33 games)

16-F-Bryan Moore (13 goals, 11 assists, 24 points in 28 games)

12-F-Jordan Topping (10 goals, 7 assists, 17 points in 26 games)

33-G-Kaden Fulcher (10-2-2 record, 2.94 GAA, .899 Sv% in 14 games)

Head-to-Head

Season Series: Walleye 3, Nailers 1

Season Series at Huntington Center: Nailers 1, Walleye 0

All-Time Series: Walleye 43, Nailers 34

All-Time Series at Huntington Center: Walleye 24, Nailers 10

Fuel up on Special Teams

The Wheeling Nailers outscored the Indy Fuel at even strength during Friday night's game, but the performances of the special teams turned out to be the deciding factor in the Central Division clash. Indy opened the scoring with its lone even strength goal of the tilt, as Kevin Dufour slithered through with backhander. The Fuel then added to their lead with a power play goal, when Alex Brooks tossed in a wrist shot from the middle of the blueline. Renars Krastenbergs put the Nailers on the scoreboard at the 2:03 mark of the second period with a tremendous effort in the right circle. The biggest tally of the night came with 8:43 left in the final frame, when Brett Welychka converted on a man advantage from the bottom of the left circle. Mark Petaccio lit the lamp for Wheeling with less than six seconds left, but Wheeling fell short, 3-2. Matt Tomkins made 20 saves in Indy's win, while Jordan Ruby blocked aside 24 of the 27 shots he faced for the Nailers.

Water Defeats Flight

The Toledo Walleye continued their dominance of the Kalamazoo Wings, earning their fifth straight win in the season series, and tenth in 11 meetings dating back to last year. Bryan Moore brought the crowd of 7,170 to its feet with the lone marker in the first period for Toledo, who improved to 19-2-2 when scoring first. Shane Berschbach added to the advantage with a power play goal during the middle stanza. Brandon Lubin had a quick answer for the Wings, but the Walleye padded their lead 1:12 after that, when Jordan Topping converted with the man advantage. Chris Collins pulled Kalamazoo within one with 12:51 to go in the third period, but Pat Nagle shut the door from there, putting the finishing touches on the 3-2 Toledo win with 28 saves. Keegan Asmundson took the loss with 23 stops for Kalamazoo.

Have to Beat the Best

Thanks to Toledo's 3-2 win over Kalamazoo and the first regulation loss at home by the Cincinnati Cyclones this season, the Walleye woke up on Saturday morning in sole possession of first place in the Central Division, in addition to being tied with the Florida Everblades for the most points in the ECHL. This will be just the fourth time this season that the Nailers take the ice against a division leader at the time of the contest, and two of the previous three have gone their way, including both tilts on the road. Wheeling took down the Jacksonville IceMen, 4-1 on November 16th, when Jacksonville occupied the top spot in the South Division. Then, on December 8th, the Nailers gave Toledo one of its two home regulation losses of the year with a 5-2 decision. Wheeling fell two points back of Indy for fourth place in the division on Friday, but will look to pull back even, while the Fuel visit Fort Wayne.

Shuffling the Lineup

Injuries and callups have begun to switch things around for the Nailers, particularly at the forward position. With Cam Brown and Nick Saracino in the American Hockey League, Winston Day Chief and Mike Fazio out with injuries, and Brad Drobot getting ready to serve the last game of his suspension, Wheeling dressed eight traditional forwards in Friday's match at Indy. For the second game in a row, the Nailers utilized a couple of defensemen up front, as Brien Diffley and Craig Skudalski got a new opportunity, after Diffley and Frank Schumacher played the position on Thursday against the Walleye. Toledo is very familiar with lineup changes as well, as it took the ice with 15 skaters against Kalamazoo, including five defensemen. Brendan Kotyk, Brett D'Andrea, Ben Storm, Charlie O'Connor, A.J. Jenks, and Hunter Smith have all been out with injuries, while Marcus Crawford, Kevin Tansey, Tyler Spezia, Dan DeSalvo, Trevor Hamilton, and Dylan Sadowy are all in the AHL.

Two Days Later, the Rematch

Saturday night marks the fifth of eight head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Walleye this season, as well as the second of four battles at Huntington Center. The two rivals just saw each other on Thursday, when Toledo's league-leading offense exploded for six goals in a 6-2 victory at WesBanco Arena. In a bit of an odd twist based on season series from previous years, the road teams have won all four games in 2018-19, with the Walleye having gone 3-0-0 in Wheeling, and the Nailers coming away with two points in their lone trip to Downtown Toledo. Former NHL forward TJ Hensick has been the most productive player in the set, recording seven points for the Walleye. He is followed by teammate Matt Register, who has collected six points from the blueline. Wheeling's top scorer is Troy Josephs, who has three goals and four points, while playing in three of the four matches. The next duel will be March 1st in Toledo.


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