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Nailers vs. Fuel Game Day Snap Shot, April 6

April 6, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers (31-30-6-3, 71 Pts.) vs. Indy Fuel (34-32-2-3, 73 Pts.), 7:05 p.m.

WHEELING NAILERS

(31-30-6-3, 71 PTS, 6th Central, 10th West)

233 GF, 230 GA

PP: 19.9% (57-for-286), 5th

PK: 80.8% (252-for-312), 20th

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins

AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

27-F-Zac Lynch (16 goals, 48 assists, 64 points in 65 games)

9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (19 goals, 36 assists, 55 points in 65 games)

12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (19 goals, 24 assists, 43 points in 60 games)

23-F-Michael Phillips (18 goals, 23 assists, 41 points in 70 games)

14-F-Cedric Lacroix (21 goals, 19 assists, 40 points in 69 games)

22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (17 goals, 21 assists, 38 points in 42 games)

30-G-Matt O'Connor (11-6-3 record, 2.93 GAA, .906 Sv% in 22 games)

INDY FUEL

(34-32-2-3, 73 PTS, 5th Central, 9th West)

225 GF, 243 GA

PP: 18.3% (53-for-290), 13th

PK: 83.0% (259-for-312), 12th

NHL Affiliate: Chicago Blackhawks

AHL Affiliate: Rockford IceHogs

24-F-Josh Shalla (29 goals, 30 assists, 59 points in 68 games)

28-F-Mathew Thompson (20 goals, 29 assists, 49 points in 64 games)

20-F-Matt Rupert (22 goals, 21 assists, 43 points in 69 games)

26-F-Logan Nelson (15 goals, 24 assists, 39 points in 63 games)

13-F-Olivier Labelle (14 goals, 24 assists, 38 points in 55 games)

4-D-Travis Brown (15 goals, 15 assists, 30 points in 45 games)

1-G-Chase Marchand (0-1-0 record, 5.03 GAA, .821 Sv% in 1 game)

Head-to-Head

Season Series: Nailers 6, Fuel 4

Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 6, Fuel 2

All-Time Series: Nailers 13, Fuel 11

All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 9, Fuel 5

A Good Run Falls Two Games Short

The Wheeling Nailers saw their playoff hopes come to an end on Friday night, as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the Toledo Walleye at WesBanco Arena. The two teams exchanged goals in the opening stanza, as Jordan Topping and Kevin Spinozzi scored 2:17 apart from each other. The Nailers took their only lead of the game at the 11:15 mark of the second period, when Renars Krastenbergs tossed in a wrist shot from the high slot. Toledo answered quickly, as Topping tied the score 1:40 later, then Hunter Smith put the visitors ahead 18 seconds after that. David Pope's power play marker in the opening minute of the third gave the Walleye some insurance, before Topping completed his hat trick. Winston Day Chief netted a 6-on-4 goal, but Wheeling was unable to overcome the deficit, as Trevor Gorsuch's 33 saves backstopped the Toledo win. Jordan Ruby also came away with 33 stops for the Nailers.

Misery Enjoys Company

The Indy Fuel were also eliminated from playoff contention on Friday night, as they suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to the Fort Wayne Komets at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Fort Wayne only needed one point to qualify for the postseason, which was achieved with the 2-2 deadlock at the end of regulation. Brady Shaw opened the scoring at the 1:44 mark of the first period, before Brett Welychka evened the match with a power play goal. Indy went ahead at the 15:29 mark of the middle frame on Woody Hudson's strike, but that lead lasted for just 2:11, before Shawn Szydlowski responded for the Komets. The Fuel went all-in by pulling the goaltender in regulation, but were unable to tally the winning goal, leading to overtime and ultimately a shootout. Fort Wayne scored on both of its attempts, while Zachary Fucale followed up a 31-save performance in the game by denying both Indy shooters. Matt Tomkins turned aside 44 shots during the game for the Fuel.

Two Spots up for Grabs

The Central Division's four playoff teams have been decided, with the only remaining mystery being the order, as Fort Wayne holds a one-point lead over Kalamazoo for third place. That is the second division in the ECHL to solidify all four clubs, following in the footsteps of the Mountain Division, who will be represented by Tulsa, Idaho, Utah, and Kansas City. The South Division knows that Florida, Orlando, and Jacksonville have all been invited to the dance, but a two-game head-to-head series between South Carolina and Atlanta will decide the fourth spot. The Gladiators enter the set with a one-point lead. In the North Division, Manchester joined Newfoundland and Adirondack as teams who have already clinched, while Brampton, Reading, and Maine fight for the final position. The Beast hold a one-point lead over the Royals and a two-point lead over the Mariners.

One More for Our Fans

WesBanco Arena will play host to its final game of the 2018-19 season on Saturday, as the Nailers look for one last hurrah, before looking ahead to the 28th season of professional hockey in Wheeling in the fall. The Nailers enjoyed their 11th consecutive year with a winning home record, as they enter the finale with a 17-13-5 mark, hoping to earn one final victory in order to assure them of a winning record overall in 11 straight seasons. Wheeling enjoyed a pair of five-game winning streaks on home ice, while sounding the legendary goal horn 111 times. Home contests saw thrilling moments, such as two shutouts, two overtime wins, one shootout triumph, and a three-goal comeback. Troy Josephs scored the first goal of the home season on November 3rd, then six days later, the team earned its first home victory, 5-1 over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

Their Ninth and Final Visit

Saturday night marks the 11th and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Fuel this season, as well as the ninth and final battle at WesBanco Arena. Indy will probably be glad to see West Virginia for the final time in 2018-19, as Wheeling has defended its home ice extremely well, posting a 6-1-1 record in the set. The last time the Fuel came to town, the visitors rallied from a 2-0 deficit to draw even, but Michael Phillips' power play goal gave the Nailers the lead for good in a game they went on to win, 5-2. Zac Lynch has been the most productive player in the season series, racking up 14 points in the first ten games. He, Yushiroh Hirano, Renars Krastenbergs, and Indy's Alex Brooks have all scored four goals. Brooks and Mathew Thompson are the leaders for the Fuel, with each having accumulated eight points. With a 6-4 advantage, Wheeling has clinched the yearly set in back-to-back seasons.


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