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Nailers vs. Fuel Game Day Snap Shot, February 1

February 1, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers (20-20-2-1, 43 Pts.) vs. Indy Fuel (22-19-2-1, 45 Pts.), 7:05 p.m.

WHEELING NAILERS

(20-20-2-1, 43 PTS, 6th Central, 11th West)

153 GF, 145 GA

PP: 22.5% (42-for-187), 2nd

PK: 82.2% (157-for-191), 18th

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins

AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

27-F-Zac Lynch (13 goals, 32 assists, 45 points in 43 games)

9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (13 goals, 22 assists, 35 points in 38 games)

10-F-Troy Josephs (20 goals, 13 assists, 33 points in 26 games)

4-F-Alex Rauter (10 goals, 23 assists, 33 points in 36 games)

23-F-Michael Phillips (11 goals, 16 assists, 27 points in 43 games)

28-D-Dane Birks (9 assists, 9 points in 38 games)

1-G-John Muse (7-11-0 record, 3.44 GAA, .879 Sv% in 18 games)

INDY FUEL

(22-19-2-1, 47 PTS, T-3rd Central, T-6th West)

143 GF, 146 GA

PP: 17.8% (34-for-191), 12th

PK: 86.9% (166-for-191), 1st

NHL Affiliate: Chicago Blackhawks

AHL Affiliate: Rockford IceHogs

22-F-Ryan Rupert (13 goals, 26 assists, 39 points in 44 games)

24-F-Josh Shalla (18 goals, 19 assists, 37 points in 41 games)

20-F-Matt Rupert (18 goals, 16 assists, 34 points in 42 games)

10-F-Kevin Dufour (18 goals, 14 assists, 32 points in 40 games)

28-F-Mathew Thompson (10 goals, 17 assists, 27 points in 40 games)

17-D-Alex Brooks (5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points in 41 games)

30-G-Matt Tomkins (18-11-3 record, 2.95 GAA, .911 Sv% in 33 games)

Head-to-Head

Season Series: Nailers 4, Fuel 3

Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 4, Fuel 1

All-Time Series: Nailers 11, Fuel 10

All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 7, Fuel 4

Weekend Filled with Goals

The Wheeling Nailers played one of the highest scoring weekends of the season at WesBanco Arena, as three games in three days saw the puck find the back of the net 31 times. Despite 14 of those goals being scored by Wheeling, the home squad was only able to come away with one point in the standings, falling 6-5 to Brampton and Reading, before a 5-4 result in Sunday's finale against Fort Wayne. The Nailers led once on Sunday, as Alex Rauter and Cedric Lacroix answered an opening strike by Jason Binkley of the Komets. The visitors pulled ahead on back-to-back goals by Marc-Olivier Roy and J.C. Campagna, then stretched the lead, thanks to Anthony Petruzzelli and Campagna. Wheeling put a strong rally together in the closing minutes of the third period, as Yushiroh Hirano struck on the power play, and Zac Lynch scored a shorthanded goal. Unfortunately, an equalizer wasn't in the cards, as Eric Levine's 31 saves preserved the 5-4 decision for Fort Wayne.

Split Set of Wings

The Indy Fuel split their home-and-home series with the Kalamazoo Wings last weekend, with both teams earning a victory on home ice. The first win went to the Fuel, who used a powerful third period to motor their way into victory lane. Quentin Shore snapped a 1-1 tie at the 2:51 mark of the final frame, but Kalamazoo's Kyle Thomas answered just 47 seconds later to even things back up. With 10:05 remaining, Kevin Dufour put Indy ahead for good, then Ryan Rupert tacked on an empty netter in the closing seconds for a 4-2 final. Matt Tomkins made 37 saves for his league-leading 18th win of the season. The rematch was also decided in the third period, but in game two, the Wings had the final say. Thomas knotted the score at the 11:54 mark, setting the stage for Zach Saar's heroics with 5:37 left in regulation, which lifted Kalamazoo to the 4-3 triumph. Gordon Defiel took the loss, despite stopping 31 of the 35 shots he faced for the Fuel.

Forwards Taking Charge

Wheeling's forwards have been putting up some astronomical numbers as of late, highlighted by the 14 goals in the three games over the weekend, which were all scored by players who play either center, left wing, or right wing. However, the run goes back even further than that. Each of the last 20 goals scored by the Nailers have been recorded by forwards, and 26 of the team's last 27 have fallen into that category, dating back to the start of the January 13th game against Indy. The lone exception was Aaron Titcomb's marker on January 16th at Adirondack. Seven players on Wheeling's active roster have already reached double digits in goals, led by Troy Josephs, who was the first player to light the lamp 20 times this season. Josephs, Yushiroh Hirano, and Cedric Lacroix all have five goals in the last seven games, which amounts to slightly more than 55% of the offense.

An Eye on Special Teams

Some of the top special teams in the ECHL will be featured in the next two games at WesBanco Arena, as the Nailers face Central Division foes Indy and Kalamazoo. Wheeling boasts the second best power play in the league, entering the weekend with a 22.5% success rate, having converted on 42 of 187 attempts. The Nailers have scored at least one power play goal in each of their last seven games. That man advantage will be challenged on Friday night by Indy's penalty kill, which ranks first in the ECHL, denying 86.9% of opposition power plays. There's another side of special teams that will be on display this weekend, as Wheeling and Kalamazoo are tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals, as both teams have tallied 13 times with a teammate in the penalty box. The Fuel are tied for third in that department with nine shorthanded goals. The Nailers' team record for shorthanded goals in a single season is 16, and there are still 29 games remaining. The league record is 24, set by Louisiana in 1998-99.

More Than Half Way Through Their Visits

Friday night marks the eighth of 11 head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Fuel this season, as well as the sixth of nine battles at WesBanco Arena. The home teams have gotten a big upper hand in the first seven games of the set, posting a 6-1-0 record, with the lone setback coming in Wheeling's home opener, which resulted in a 5-3 Indy win. In the middle of January, the Nailers swept a two-game weekend set from the Fuel in West Virginia, earning a pair of one-goal decisions. While Wheeling has nearly identical home and road records, Indy is ten games over .500 at home and seven games under .500 on the road - a number the Nailers will look to take advantage of on Friday. Zac Lynch is the leading scorer in the season series, as he has four goals and ten points in seven games, including the overtime goal on January 13th. The Fuel are led by Alex Brooks' eight points, while Kevin Dufour leads all players on either side with five goals. March 12th will be visit number seven for Indy.


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