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 Wheeling Nailers

Nailers Start Division Final Friday against Walleye

April 28, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Wheeling Nailers News Release


WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their schedule for the Central Division Final Round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Nailers will face the Toledo Walleye in a best-of-seven series, which begins on Friday night at Huntington Center.

The Nailers defeated the Indy Fuel in five games during the opening round of the postseason, marking their second playoff series win in the last three seasons. Wheeling dropped the opening match, 5-2, before rattling off four straight victories, with scores of 7-1, 3-2 (OT), 3-0, and 4-2. That followed a 38-28-4-1 regular season, which was good for 81 points. The Walleye also made quick work of their opposition in round one, as they swept the Kalamazoo Wings in four games, winning 3-2, 5-2, 6-2, and 4-2. Toledo won the regular season division title with a 48-14-4-5 mark, good for 105 points, and has now won a playoff series in each of its last five postseason appearances.

Despite being division rivals, head-to-head meetings were a rarity in 2023-24, as Wheeling and Toledo only collided four times, and three of those tilts took place before the turn of the calendar year. Each team earned one victory in each building. The Nailers were victorious 6-5 at Huntington Center on November 15th and 4-2 on home ice exactly one week later. The Walleye won 3-2 at WesBanco Arena on December 1st and 3-2 at home on March 29th. Three players on the current rosters were tied for the lead in the season series with five points - Brandon Kruse and Brandon Hawkins of Toledo, as well as Wheeling's David Jankowski. Kruse's four goals were the most, while Jankowski and Matt Koopman both lit the lamp twice for the Nailers. Jan Bednar took the crease in three of the four games for the Walleye, and went 2-0-1, while Wheeling used three different goaltenders, with Taylor Gauthier going 1-1-0.

There has been plenty of playoff history between these two cities, as this will be the seventh ECHL postseason clash between Nail City and the Glass City, dating back to the Thunderbirds and the Storm. Toledo has won five of the prior six, including two in the Walleye era in 2015 and 2022. Wheeling's lone series triumph came in the second round of the 1998 Kelly Cup Playoffs, under the guidance of current New York Rangers Head Coach Peter Laviolette. This is by far the opponent that the Nailers have faced the most in postseason play, with the next closest teams being Reading and South Carolina with three series each.

The 2024 Central Division Final Series between the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye will begin at Huntington Center on Friday and Saturday. The series will then shift to WesBanco Arena for games three, four, and five (if necessary) on May 8th, 10th, and 11th. Games six and seven will be played in Toledo, if necessary. All home games will begin at 7:10.

To purchase tickets for the playoffs or for any questions or concerns about ticketing, please visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.

Central Division Final

Wheeling Nailers vs. Toledo Walleye

Game 1 - Fri. May 3 at Toledo, 7:15

Game 2 - Sat. May 4 at Toledo, 7:15

Game 3 - Wed. May 8 AT WHEELING, 7:10

Game 4 - Fri. May 10 AT WHEELING, 7:10

Game 5 - Sat. May 11 AT WHEELING, 7:10 (if necessary)

Game 6 - Mon. May 13 at Toledo, 7:15 (if necessary)

Game 7 - Tue. May 14 at Toledo, 7:15 (if necessary)


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