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Nailers vs. Fuel Game Day Snap Shot, January 12

January 12, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers (17-16-2-0, 36 Pts.) vs. Indy Fuel (19-16-1-0, 39 Pts.), 7:05 p.m.


(17-16-2-0, 36 PTS, 5th Central, 10th West)

123 GF, 109 GA

PP: 20.9% (32-for-153), 4th

PK: 83.2% (134-for-161), 15th

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins

AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

27-F-Zac Lynch (9 goals, 23 assists, 32 points in 35 games)

10-F-Troy Josephs (15 goals, 10 assists, 25 points in 18 games)

4-F-Alex Rauter (9 goals, 16 assists, 25 points in 28 games)

9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (8 goals, 14 assists, 22 points in 30 games)

12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (10 goals, 11 assists, 21 points in 28 games)

23-F-Michael Phillips (8 goals, 13 assists, 21 points in 35 games)

30-G-Matt O'Connor (7-4-1 record, 2.93 GAA, .903 Sv% in 13 games)


(19-16-1-0, 39 PTS, 4th Central, 8th West)

118 GF, 123 GA

PP: 16.5% (26-for-158), 14th

PK: 85.2% (138-for-162), 7th

NHL Affiliate: Chicago Blackhawks

AHL Affiliate: Rockford IceHogs

24-F-Josh Shalla (14 goals, 18 assists, 32 points in 33 games)

22-F-Ryan Rupert (9 goals, 22 assists, 31 points in 36 games)

10-F-Kevin Dufour (17 goals, 10 assists, 27 points in 33 games)

20-F-Matt Rupert (15 goals, 11 assists, 26 points in 34 games)

13-F-Olivier Labelle (11 goals, 15 assists, 26 points in 30 games)

17-D-Alex Brooks (4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points in 33 games)

30-G-Matt Tomkins (15-11-1 record, 3.10 GAA, .907 Sv% in 28 games)


Season Series: Fuel 3, Nailers 2

Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 2, Fuel 1

All-Time Series: Fuel 10, Nailers 9

All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 5, Fuel 4

View From the Mountain's Top

The Wheeling Nailers saw the best and the worst that the Mountain Division has had to offer in 2018-19, as they beat the cellar dwelling Allen Americans, 3-1 on December 12th, before welcoming in the division leading Utah Grizzlies on Friday night. Utah opened the scoring at the 12:38 mark of the first period, when J.T. Henke roofed his 12th goal in 17 games with the Grizzlies, after being claimed off waivers from the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Travis Barron added to the advantage with a power play marker in the middle frame, before Jake Marchment added the finishing touches with an empty netter in the last minute for a 3-0 final. Kevin Carr became the second opposing goaltender to record a shutout at WesBanco Arena this season, as he made 30 saves for Utah, while John Muse turned aside 20 of the 22 shots he faced for the Nailers.

Last Ones to Lose After 60

The Indy Fuel entered Friday night as the only team in the ECHL who had yet to lose a game after regulation. That stat got changed, courtesy of their in-state rivals, the Fort Wayne Komets. After a scoreless first period, former Nailer Josh Shalla gave Indy the first lead of the night with 5:51 left in the middle stanza. Fort Wayne rallied with back-to-back goals by Jason Binkley and Shawn Szydlowski to pull ahead at the intermission, but the Fuel battled back to even, as Matt Rupert knotted the score at the 54-second mark of the third period. The Komets held on for dear life to force overtime, as Lukas Hafner made 19 of his 35 saves in the third, and he was rewarded for his efforts, as Anthony Petruzzelli netted the game winner just ten seconds into the bonus session. Matt Tomkins stopped 25 of 28 shots for Indy in the overtime defeat.

Hitting the Half

Game 36 of the regular season will be played on Saturday night, and the Nailers are hoping to head into the midway mark of the campaign with a winning record, as they currently sit at 17-16-2. After a slow opening quarter to the season that saw Wheeling go 7-10-1, Wheeling has rebounded nicely, turning in a 10-6-1 record in quarter number two. This will be the third straight year that the Nailers will have at least a .500 record to begin the second half. If Wheeling can come out with a victory on Saturday, it will reach the end of the first half with identical records at home and on the road, as the Nailers have gone 9-8-1 in enemy territory, while posting an 8-8-1 mark at WesBanco Arena. The two remaining home games this weekend will be key, as Wheeling trails Indy by three points for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.

Goaltender Fueled for Extra Mileage

Some teams in the ECHL, like the Grizzlies on Friday, are fortunate enough to have two strong goaltenders that they can turn to on any given night to lead their team to victory. Kevin Carr earned his 12th win of the year to go along with Joe Cannata's ten, as Utah is one of five teams in the league that has two netminders in double digits in wins (Cincinnati, Florida, Fort Wayne, Toledo). The Fuel are on the other side of that equation, as Matt Tomkins has shouldered the majority of the workload, especially with Kevin Lankinen in the AHL. Tomkins leads the ECHL in wins (15), saves (837), and minutes (1,667), and has been Indy's goaltender of record in 27 of 36 games this season. He has played in 12 of the club's last 13 games, with the lone day off coming on December 29th against Brampton. John Muse, Matt O'Connor, and Jordan Ruby have each had runs of five straight starts during the year for the Nailers, and the three have combined for 16 of the team's 17 victories.

Here for the Remainder

Saturday night marks the sixth of 11 head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Fuel this season, as well as the fourth of nine battles at WesBanco Arena. Over the past couple of weeks, Indy held serve on its home ice, earning 5-2 and 3-2 wins over Wheeling. The Nailers hope their success at home against the Fuel continues, as they have won two of three games in Nail City, posting four-goal margins of victory in both of the triumphs. Wheeling will probably feel like a second home for Indy, who begins the second half of its season with the first of six remaining trips to WesBanco Arena. Zac Lynch and Alex Brooks lead their respective squads with six points each during the season series, while Kevin Dufour leads the way with five goal for the Fuel. If Alec Butcher makes his pro debut on Saturday, the Nailers will have had 29 different players suit up against Indy, including four different netminders.

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