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Nailers at Wings Game Day Snap Shot, December 28

December 28, 2018 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers (15-12-2-0, 32 Pts.) at Kalamazoo Wings (14-14-0-1, 29 Pts.), 7:30 p.m.


(15-12-2-0, 32 PTS, 3rd Central, T-8th West)

102 GF, 89 GA

PP: 20.8% (25-for-120), T-2nd

PK: 86.2% (112-for-130), 6th

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins

AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

21-F-Cam Brown (8 goals, 25 assists, 33 points in 29 games)

27-F-Zac Lynch (9 goals, 15 assists, 24 points in 29 games)

4-F-Alex Rauter (5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points in 22 games)

9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points in 24 games)

5-D-Dan Fick (3 goals, 13 assists, 16 points in 29 games)

12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (7 goals, 7 assists, 14 points in 22 games)

30-G-Matt O'Connor (7-3-1 record, 2.64 GAA, .908 Sv% in 12 games)


(14-14-0-1, 29 PTS, 6th Central, 12th West)

89 GF, 103 GA

PP: 13.9% (17-for-122), 22nd

PK: 84.2% (112-for-133), 13th

NHL Affiliate: Vancouver Canucks

AHL Affiliate: Utica Comets

12-F-Chris Collins (11 goals, 17 assists, 28 points in 29 games)

93-F-Justin Taylor (20 goals, 6 assists, 26 points in 29 games)

19-F-Reid Gardiner (10 goals, 13 assists, 23 points in 19 games)

24-F-Kyle Thomas (3 goals, 13 assists, 16 points in 20 games)

17-D-Brandon Anselmini (1 goal, 15 assists, 16 points in 26 games)

7-D-Kyle Bushee (3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points in 29 games)

29-G-Jake Hildebrand (7-11-1 record, 3.50 GAA, .890 Sv% in 20 games)


Season Series: Wings 3, Nailers 0

Season Series at Wings Event Center: Wings 2, Nailers 0

All-Time Series: Wings 28, Nailers 27

All-Time Series at Wings Event Center: Wings 15, Nailers 12

Time to Start a New Streak

The Wheeling Nailers saw their nine-game point streak come to an end on Thursday night, as they suffered their first regulation loss since December 7th, falling 5-2 to the Indy Fuel at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Despite giving up a goal in the opening minute, Wheeling drew even at the 11:12 mark of the first period with a 4-on-4 tally, as Josh Couturier tapped in Zac Lynch's pass for his first professional goal. Unfortunately, the tie didn't last long, as Alex Brooks and Kevin Dufour built a two-goal advantage for Indy heading into the first intermission. Dufour's second of the night at the 1:21 mark of the third period gave the Fuel more insurance, making a comeback that much harder on the Nailers. Yushiroh Hirano netted a power play goal with 6:27 left, but Ryan Rupert tossed in one more goal for Indy into an empty net. Matt Tomkins made 33 saves in the win, Matt O'Connor stopped 22 shots for Wheeling, and Cam Brown extended his point streak to 11 games, assisting on Hirano's marker.

Komets Take Fourth Place Tussle

The Kalamazoo Wings and Fort Wayne Komets took the ice with fourth place in the Central Division on the line Thursday night, and the contest went right down the end in a one-goal decision. Defense and goaltending took center stage during the first two periods, as neither team was able to find the net behind Fort Wayne's Lukas Hafner and Kalamazoo's Jake Hildebrand. The Komets finally broke through at the 4:47 mark of the third period, when Justin Hodgman set up Jake Kamrass. Jamie Schaafsma gave Fort Wayne a two-goal lead less than five minutes later, but Chris Collins responded with under three minutes to play for the Wings. Frustration began to set in during the final minute, as Kalamazoo's leading scorer, Justin Taylor, received a game misconduct for continuing an altercation. To further frustrate the Wings, a tying goal wasn't in the cards, and the Komets skated away with the 2-1 win, dropping Kalamazoo to sixth place in the division.

Strong Play Gets Rewarded

Two of Wheeling's top three players in terms of offensive productivity got calls to the American Hockey League this week, as Nick Saracino was signed to a professional tryout by the Binghamton Devils and Kevin Spinozzi was recalled by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Saracino and Spinozzi combined for 37 points over a ten-game stretch, and were both either at or near the top of the league's leaderboard in points for their positions. They are the third and fourth Nailers to earn AHL promotions this season, joining Troy Josephs and John Muse. On Thursday night, Wheeling utilized its 31st different player this season, as Mark Petaccio made his ECHL debut, after notching 11 goals and 14 points in 17 games with the SPHL's Peoria Rivermen and Evansville Thunderbolts. While Petaccio was held scoreless, another Nailer took advantage of an opportunity, as Josh Couturier became the ninth Wheeling player to score his first ECHL goal this season.

Two-Headed Shorthanded Monster

Two of the best shorthanded offenses will collide on Friday night, as the Wings lead the ECHL with 11 shorthanded goals this season, while the Nailers are right on their heels, having scored nine times with a teammate in the penalty box. Eight of Kalamazoo's 11 shorties have come from two players, as Chris Collins and Justin Taylor have both lit the lamp four times. Collins has also collected four assists, giving him eight points and a healthy four-point advantage over his closest competition. Wheeling has had three different players score two shorthanded goals - Troy Josephs, Cedric Lacroix, and Zac Lynch. However, the bigger story for the penalty kill has been the ability to shut down the opposition, as the Nailers have successfully thwarted 37 of the last 38 power plays for their opponents, which has brought their road success rate above 90%.

The Stubborn Divisional Foe

Friday night marks the fourth of eight head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Wings this season, as well as the third of five battles at Wings Event Center. Kalamazoo is the only Central Division opponent that Wheeling has yet to defeat this year, having gone 0-2-1 in the first three clashes. The most recent contest took place on December 14th, when the Nailers rallied from a pair of deficits to pick up a point. Former Wheeling forward Reid Gardiner was the hero that evening, as his goal decided the match in overtime. Despite Reid's two goals, Justin Taylor has been the top performer in the series, collecting three goals, three assists, and six points. The Nailers have been led by Cam Brown, who has four assists in the three tilts. After playing four times in 32 days, the division rivals will get a short break in January, before locking horns again on February 2nd at WesBanco Arena.

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