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Nailers at Wings Game Day Snap Shot, March 23

March 23, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers (29-28-6-2, 66 Pts.) at Kalamazoo Wings (33-27-2-2, 70 Pts.), 7:30 p.m.

WHEELING NAILERS

(29-28-6-2, 66 PTS, 5th Central, 9th West)

219 GF, 215 GA

PP: 20.5% (56-for-273), 5th

PK: 80.1% (234-for-292), 24th

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins

AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

27-F-Zac Lynch (15 goals, 45 assists, 60 points in 60 games)

9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (17 goals, 34 assists, 51 points in 60 games)

12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (17 goals, 24 assists, 41 points in 56 games)

23-F-Michael Phillips (18 goals, 19 assists, 37 points in 65 games)

14-F-Cedric Lacroix (20 goals, 16 assists, 36 points in 64 games)

22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (16 goals, 19 assists, 35 points in 37 games)

31-G-Jordan Ruby (12-7-3, 2.80 GAA, .911 Sv% in 24 games)

KALAMAZOO WINGS

(33-27-2-2, 70 PTS, 4th Central, 7th West)

217 GF, 233 GA

PP: 21.8% (60-for-275), 2nd

PK: 79.4% (223-for-281), 25th

NHL Affiliate: Vancouver Canucks

AHL Affiliate: Utica Comets

12-F-Chris Collins (28 goals, 34 assists, 62 points in 52 games)

74-F-Tanner Sorenson (19 goals, 41 assists, 60 points in 47 games)

18-F-Kyle Blaney (11 goals, 30 assists, 41 points in 55 games)

7-D-Kyle Bushee (8 goals, 26 assists, 34 points in 59 games)

15-D-Eric Kattelus (10 goals, 18 assists, 28 points in 37 games)

9-F-Chad McDonald (8 goals, 19 assists, 27 points in 63 games)

29-G-Jake Hildebrand (20-15-2 record, 3.56 GAA, .890 Sv% in 41 games)

Head-to-Head

Season Series: Wings 6, Nailers 0

Season Series at Wings Event Center: Wings 4, Nailers 0

All-Time Series: Wings 31, Nailers 27

All-Time Series at Wings Event Center: Wings 17, Nailers 12

Late Power to Break the Tie

The Wheeling Nailers and Indy Fuel entered Friday night tied for fifth place in the Central Division, and their game stayed tied until the third period, when the Nailers tallied three straight goals for a 5-2 victory. Wheeling got out to a 2-0 lead in the opening stanza, as Renars Krastenbergs wired in a wrist shot from the right circle, then Yushiroh Hirano fired the puck in off the crossbar. The Fuel got on the board late in the first, when Olivier Labelle jammed home Josh Shalla's centering pass at the top of the crease. After a scoreless middle frame, Travis Brown knotted the contest with a slap shot from the left point. Just over three minutes later, Michael Phillips put the Nailers ahead for good, with a redirection of Zac Lynch's slap pass. Cedric Lacroix banged in the rebound of Lynch's point shot for some insurance, before Robbie Hall tacked on one more into an empty net. Jordan Ruby earned his 12th win of the year with 25 saves, defeating Matt Tomkins, who came up with 26 stops.

Knocking on the Fort's Door

The Kalamazoo Wings pulled to within one point of third place on Wednesday night, as they held off the Fort Wayne Komets, 4-3 at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Kalamazoo quickly built a 2-0 lead, as Chris Collins and Brendan Bradley scored 15 seconds apart from each other in the opening 3:34 of play. The Komets responded just over a minute later on a rebound goal by Kyle Hope, but a patient move by Kyle Blaney reestablished the two-goal advantage for the Wings. At the 7:26 mark of the second period, Michael Neal swiped in the rebound of Tanner Sorenson's initial shot for a 4-1 score at the time, but that turned out to be the deciding marker, as Brady Shaw and Mason Baptista closed the gap to one for Fort Wayne. Matiss Kivlenieks turned aside 25 shots to preserve the win for the Wings, while Eric Levine made 27 saves in the loss for the Komets.

Lynch the Playmaker

Zac Lynch was on the ice for four of Wheeling's five goals on Friday night, and he had a hand in the creation of all four. While he didn't receive a point on the opening marker, it was Lynch's forechecking pressure that led to a turnover, as Renars Krastenbergs stepped up and buried his shot from the right side. On the second goal, Zac made a quick pass from the corner to the slot for Yushiroh Hirano's drive to the net. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native's second assist of the night was the most stylish, as he delivered a slap pass for a redirection by Michael Phillips into the top-right corner of the cage. His final helper of the evening was a point shot that produced a rebound for Cedric Lacroix on the man advantage. Lynch's 22 power play assists rank second in the ECHL, while his 45 total assists are the fourth most in the league. Those 45 helpers have already surpassed Zac's career total from his first two seasons, when he dished out 43 assists in 128 games.

Last Home Game

Travel will be the theme of the final two weeks of the regular season for the Wings, who play their final home game of 2018-19 on Saturday night. Kalamazoo's remaining schedule will take it to six different cities for seven games - Fort Wayne, Indy, Toledo, Wheeling, Wichita, and Tulsa (2). Similar to Wheeling, the Wings have posted better numbers on home ice, posting a 19-13-3 record at Wings Event Center, compared to an even 14-14-1 mark outside of Michigan. The Nailers will be looking to put an end to their longest road drought of the season, as they enter Saturday 0-4-1 in their last five tilts away from WesBanco Arena. Wheeling ends its campaign with four of six games at home, and after Saturday, will only have to travel 1,172 miles to Reading and back, then to Fort Wayne and back. The Nailers are one victory away from clinching a winning home record.

Time to Get One

Saturday night marks the seventh of eight head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Wings this season, as well as the fifth and final battle at Wings Event Center. Wheeling earned a point in its last visit to Kalamazoo, but the Wings skated away with the extra point in a 4-3 shootout decision. The Nailers have just two points in the set, as Kalamazoo has been the most frustrating opponent for the club this season. Jordan Ruby has led his team to a point in each of his two starts against the Wings, and he will likely stare down Butler, Pennsylvania's Jake Hildebrand, who is 5-0-0 in the season series. The top offensive performers on Kalamazoo's active roster are Tanner Sorenson and Chris Collins, who both have seven points. Wheeling is led by Michael Phillips and Renars Krastenbergs, who each have six points. The Nailers will host the Wings on March 31st to close out year number ten of the rivalry.


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