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Nailers vs. Komets Game Day Snap Shot, March 29

March 29, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers (29-29-6-2, 66 Pts.) vs. Fort Wayne Komets (33-23-4-6, 76 Pts.)

WHEELING NAILERS

(29-29-6-2, 66 PTS, 6th Central, 10th West)

221 GF, 218 GA

PP: 20.4% (56-for-275), 5th

PK: 80.3% (237-for-295), 22nd

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins

AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

27-F-Zac Lynch (15 goals, 46 assists, 61 points in 61 games)

9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (17 goals, 34 assists, 51 points in 61 games)

23-F-Michael Phillips (18 goals, 19 assists, 37 points in 66 games)

14-F-Cedric Lacroix (20 goals, 16 assists, 36 points in 65 games)

22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (16 goals, 20 assists, 36 points in 38 games)

17-F-Winston Day Chief (14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points in 53 games)

30-G-Matt O'Connor (9-6-3 record, 3.03 GAA, .900 Sv% in 20 games)

FORT WAYNE KOMETS

(33-23-4-6, 76 PTS, 3rd Central, T-5th West)

211 GF, 225 GA

PP: 14.6% (39-for-267), 23rd

PK: 81.8% (239-for-292), 17th

NHL Affiliate: Vegas Golden Knights

AHL Affiliate: Chicago Wolves

10-F-Brady Shaw (25 goals, 36 assists, 61 points in 62 games)

25-F-Jake Kamrass (18 goals, 33 assists, 51 points in 61 games)

27-F-Shawn Szydlowski (16 goals, 33 assists, 49 points in 54 games)

15-F-J.C. Campagna (34 goals, 10 assists, 44 points in 58 games)

36-F-Anthony Petruzzelli (16 goals, 23 assists, 39 points in 66 games)

71-D-Ryan Lowney (4 goals, 33 assists, 37 points in 66 games)

55-G-Alex Dubeau (2-0-1 record, 1.62 GAA, .949 Sv% in 3 games)

Head-to-Head

Season Series: Nailers 3, Komets 3

Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 2, Komets 2

All-Time Series: Komets 15, Nailers 13

All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 7, Komets 7

A Breakaway to Break Our Hearts

The Wheeling Nailers came back twice against the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday night, but a third comeback wasn't in the cards, as a third period breakaway was the difference in a 3-2 Kalamazoo home win. Former Nailer Kyle Bushee got the offense started for the Wings, cashing in on a 2-on-1 break with Dominic Zombo. Wheeling responded with a tally from Winston Day Chief, who roofed a pass from Dane Birks. With less than one minute remaining in the first period, Kalamazoo went back on top, as Chad McDonald poked in a loose puck on the left side of the crease. Mark Petaccio had an answer for the Nailers, redirecting Zac Lynch's shot from the right wing wall. The contest stayed deadlocked until the 2:17 mark of the final frame, when Tanner Sorenson broke through the defense, and flipped in a backhander. Jake Hildebrand preserved the win for the Wings, turning away 35 of the 37 shots he faced. Jordan Ruby also had a busy night in goal, blocking 33 of 36 attempts sent his way.

Putting it Away Early

The Fort Wayne Komets had an easier time with the Kalamazoo Wings on Wednesday night, as they charged out of the gates with four goals in the first period, then cruised to a 5-1 triumph at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Defenseman Josh Elmes got the party started with his first goal in a Fort Wayne uniform just 1:57 into the contest. Jake Kamrass and Shawn Szydlowski followed 1:11 apart from each other, as the Komets built a 3-0 advantage in less than nine minutes, while chasing Kalamazoo starter Jake Hildebrand on eight shots. The Wings were able to respond to the goaltending change with Luke Sandler's marker, but Ryan Lowney reestablished the three-goal lead prior to the intermission. Justin Hodgman provided the final icing on the cake in the third period, while Alex Dubeau made 22 saves for his second win in three pro starts.

Ten Days to Decide the Race

There are ten days remaining in the 2018-19 regular season, and so far, two teams have punched their ticket to the playoffs in the Central Division. Cincinnati has already locked up first place, while Toledo earned its spot by picking up a point on Sunday. Fort Wayne is on the verge of being the next club in the group to clinch, and can do so as early as Saturday. However, the Nailers would like to delay that from happening, as they look to close the gap with Kalamazoo, who leads Wheeling by six points for the fourth and final playoff spot. In addition to its game, Wheeling will also be keeping a close eye on Indiana Farmers Coliseum, where Indy hosts the Wings. A regulation victory for the Fuel is Wheeling's preferred result. Outside of the division, Kansas City and Orlando can become the eighth and ninth teams to qualify for the postseason, joining Florida, Idaho, Newfoundland, Tulsa, and Utah, along with aforementioned Cincinnati and Toledo.

Arriving at the Right Time

Zachary Fucale has been the go-to guy between the pipes for the Komets this season, posting an 18-8-3 record in 31 games. However, with Marc-Andre Fleury and his wife Veronique welcoming their third child into the world, Fucale finds himself with Vegas' AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. Eric Levine had recorded just one win in eight decisions for Fort Wayne, so the Komets looked to U Sports in Canada for the solution, after having great success with Kyle Hope scoring eight points in 15 games out of the University of Windsor. Alex Dubeau has proven to be the right answer thus far, as he has delivered a 2-0-1 record, while stopping 94 of the 99 shots he's faced against Kalamazoo, Indy, and Toledo. The Nailers will have Lucas Kohls and Phil Johansson making their professional debuts on Friday, while Jack Macnee is expected to be in the lineup later in the weekend. That will bring Wheeling's player total on the season to 42, after setting a club record with 56 a year ago.

Red Light Special

Friday night marks the seventh of eight head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Komets this season, as well as the fifth and final battle at WesBanco Arena. Offense has been the name of the game thus far, as the two division rivals have combined to light the lamp 54 times in the first six matches. The last tilt took place in Fort Wayne on March 6th, and after racing out to 5-2 and 6-3 leads, the Komets held on for a 6-5 win. J.C. Campagna and Mason Baptista both scored twice for the Komets, as Campagna, a former Nailer, added to his series lead with his fifth and sixth goals. Trevor Yates has found the back of the net five times against Fort Wayne, including a hat trick in the most recent tilt. The leading point producers in the set are Wheeling's Yushiroh Hirano (11) and Fort Wayne's Shawn Szydlowski (9). For the second year in a row, the Nailers will finish the regular season at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. That game takes place on April 7th.


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