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Nailers vs. Cyclones Game Day Snap Shot, October 5

October 5, 2018 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Preseason Game #1



(35-28-8-1, 79 PTS, 5th North, 8th East)

248 GF, 245 GA

PP: 19.2% (56-for-291), 3rd

PK: 80.7% (230-for-285), 21st

27-F-Zac Lynch (24 goals, 25 assists, 49 points in 66 games - Manchester & Utica [AHL])

32-F-Renars Krastenbergs (21 goals, 17 assists, 38 points in 61 games - Oshawa [OHL])

13-F-Nick Saracino (12 goals, 25 assists, 37 points in 61 games - Worcester)

11-F-Christian Isackson (10 goals, 16 assists, 26 points in 42 games - Milton Keynes [EIHL])

98-F-Yush Hirano (12 goals, 11 assists, 23 points in 24 games - Tohoku [Japan] & Kalmar [Sweden])

5-D-Dan Fick (4 goals, 19 assists, 23 points in 70 games - Wheeling)

1-G-Danny Tirone (10-19-6 record, 2.82 GAA, .913 Sv% in 35 games - New Hampshire [H-East] & Wheeling)



(39-30-3-0, 81 PTS, 3rd Central, 5th West)

226 GF, 220 GA

PP: 20.1% (56-for-279), 2nd

PK: 76.7% (181-for-236), 26th

24-F-Pascal Aquin (24 goals, 19 assists, 43 points in 59 games - Charlottetown [QMJHL])

27-F-Jeff Smith (12 goals, 17 assists, 29 points in 21 games - Lindau [Germany])

41-F-Dominic Zombo (3 goals, 18 assists, 21 points in 71 games - Cincinnati)

4-D-Chris Leone (5 goals, 16 assists, 21 points in 68 games - Cincinnati)

6-D-Mitch Jones (2 goals, 12 assists, 14 points in 58 games - Utah)

3-D-Anthony Florentino (2 goals, 7 assists, 9 points in 52 games - Cincinnati & Rochester [AHL])

35-G-Hayden Stewart (6-3-0 record, 2.40 GAA, .920 Sv% in 11 games - Cincinnati & Cornell [ECAC])


2017-18 Season Series: Cyclones 5, Nailers 1

2017-18 Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Cyclones 3, Nailers 1

All-Time Series: Cyclones 64, Nailers 61

All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 33, Cyclones 29

A Long Time Coming

The Wheeling Nailers last played a game at WesBanco Arena on March 31st, when they closed out the 2017-18 home schedule with a 5-2 victory over the Manchester Monarchs. While fans in the Ohio Valley will have to wait a few more weeks for the home opener on November 3rd, they will get their first taste of their new squad on Friday, when the puck drops on the preseason portion of the docket. Despite missing out on the playoffs by just three points last season, Wheeling was able to compile a winning record for the tenth year in a row, going 35-28-8, which included a 21-12-3 mark on home ice. The 2017-18 Cyclones returned to the postseason following a one-year absence, as they went 39-30-3, for a third place finish in the Central Division. However, Cincinnati's playoff run came to a quick end, courtesy of the Fort Wayne Komets, who won the opening round series in five games.

New Looks Behind the Benches

In addition lots of new faces on the ice for the two teams, the Nailers and Cyclones are both under new leadership behind the benches. Mike Bavis was named the 18th head coach in Wheeling's professional hockey history on August 8th. This will be Bavis' first opportunity as a head coach, after serving as an assistant coach and an associate coach at Boston University, then as an assistant coach with the AHL's Springfield Falcons and Babson College. Mike played professionally for two seasons, including 39 games in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays. Cincinnati has turned to Matt Thomas to take over for Matt Macdonald, who was named an assistant coach for the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins. Thomas was most recently the head coach for the University of Alaska-Anchorage, but prior to that, spent 11 years in the ECHL, coaching the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons, and Stockton Thunder. Matt's assistant coach for the Cyclones is Jason Payne, who played 18 games for the Nailers during the 2008-09 season.

Trying to Duplicate Last Year's Preseason

For the eighth time in the last nine years, Wheeling and Cincinnati are taking the ice against each other in preseason action. After five straight exhibition setbacks against the Cyclones, the Nailers were victorious in both matches last October, winning by identical 5-4 scores, as both games were played at WesBanco Arena. The first contest needed a shootout to decide a winner, and that was delivered by Garrett Meurs in the sixth round. The following night, Wheeling took care of business in regulation, as Cody Wydo netted the deciding marker with 4:51 left in the third period. Dan Fick is the only Nailer from those two games that is expected to play on Friday, while Cincinnati is expected to have Anthony Florentino, Chris Leone, and Dominic Zombo in the lineup. This will be a home-and-home series for the sixth time in the eight preseason sets between the two clubs.

What's New Around the League

The 2018-19 schedule will have a bit of a different feel for Wheeling, who has joined the Western Conference's Central Division. The Nailers were one of two teams to change divisions, with the other being the Kansas City Mavericks moving to the Mountain Division. Two teams will hit the ice for the first time in the ECHL, and Wheeling will visit one of them in February. That club is the Maine Mariners, who are led by former Nailers Assistant Coach Riley Armstrong. The other new team in the league is the Newfoundland Growlers. Both Portland, Maine and St. John's, Newfoundland previously had AHL hockey, as the cities get ready to welcome the ECHL for the first time. Two clubs are no longer members of the ECHL, as the two-time defending champion Colorado Eagles have joined the AHL, while the Quad City Mallards ceased operations, opening the door for the Quad City Storm of the SPHL. Earlier this week, the ECHL announced one other change, which the Nailers will see on ten occasions, as video replay will be used in Idaho, Kalamazoo, Toledo, and Worcester.

More Meaning for the Rivalry

Games between the Nailers and Cyclones will take on more significance during the 2018-19 regular season, as the two geographic rivals are members of the same division for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign. With that, the slate of head-to-head games has increased, as the two squads will take the ice against each other on eight different occasions. Wheeling will be looking to turn things back into its favor this year, following back-to-back wins in the season series by Cincinnati. Last year, the Nailers came out on top 4-2 in their home opener, before the Cyclones rattled off five straight triumphs to close out the set, with two of those wins being earned in overtime. The five wins pushed Cincinnati ahead in the all-time series, giving the team from the Queen City a slight 64-61 edge in a match-up that will begin its 16th year on October 20th at U.S. Bank Arena.

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