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Nailers vs. Walleye Game Day Snap Shot, April 5

April 5, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers (31-29-6-3, 71 Pts.) vs. Toledo Walleye (38-22-6-3, 85 Pts.), 7:05 p.m.

WHEELING NAILERS

(31-29-6-3, 71 PTS, 6th Central, 10th West)

230 GF, 225 GA

PP: 20.1% (57-for-284), 5th

PK: 81.1% (249-for-307), 20th

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Penguins

AHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

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

9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (19 goals, 34 assists, 53 points in 64 games)

12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (18 goals, 24 assists, 42 points in 59 games)

14-F-Cedric Lacroix (21 goals, 19 assists, 40 points in 68 games)

23-F-Michael Phillips (18 goals, 22 assists, 40 points in 69 games)

22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (16 goals, 21 assists, 37 points in 41 games)

31-G-Jordan Ruby (12-8-4 record, 2.77 GAA, .913 Sv% in 26 games)

TOLEDO WALLEYE

(38-22-6-3, 85 PTS, 2nd Central, T-3rd West)

226 GF, 212 GA

PP: 18.0% (55-for-305), 13th

PK: 83.1% (216-for-260), 12th

NHL Affiliate: Detroit Red Wings

AHL Affiliate: Grand Rapids Griffins

10-F-Shane Berschbach (20 goals, 43 assists, 63 points in 64 games)

86-F-Greg Wolfe (18 goals, 32 assists, 50 points in 62 games)

16-F-Bryan Moore (17 goals, 23 assists, 40 points in 54 games)

27-F-A.J. Jenks (19 goals, 18 assists, 37 points in 46 games)

7-F-Tyler Spezia (11 goals, 24 assists, 35 points in 55 games)

8-D-Ben Danford (3 goals, 15 assists, 18 points in 41 games)

35-G-Trevor Gorsuch (1-1-0 record, 2.00 GAA, .938 Sv% in 2 games)

Head-to-Head

Season Series: Walleye 4, Nailers 3

Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Walleye 3, Nailers 0

All-Time Series: Walleye 44, Nailers 36

All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 24, Walleye 19

Got the One We Needed

The Wheeling Nailers picked up a hard-earned victory on Sunday afternoon in a game they desperately needed, as they continue to pursue the final playoff spot in the Central Division. Wheeling got on the scoreboard at the 13:19 mark of the first period. Michael Phillips centered the puck to Renars Krastenbergs, who rolled a backhander off Luke Sandler's skate and in over the goal line. Little did everyone know at the time how significant that goal would become. Wheeling's Matt O'Connor and Kalamazoo's Jake Hildebrand both turned in tremendous performances between the pipes, as the puck was kept out of the cage for the remainder of the afternoon. The Nailers went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, while O'Connor made 31 stops in the 1-0 shutout win. Wheeling has been involved in a 1-0 game during eight of the last nine seasons, and has now won two in a row.

Brabham Cup Champs Prevail

The Toledo Walleye attempted to become the only ECHL team to win three games at U.S. Bank Arena this season, but fell one goal short on Wednesday night. The last ten minutes of the opening stanza were the most electric in terms of goals, as the teams combined for four, taking a 2-2 deadlock into the intermission. Rookie defensemen Randy Gazzola and Michael Moffat lit the lamp for the Walleye, while Cincinnati got its strikes from Vasili Glotov and Myles Powell. The match stayed tied until the 4:41 mark of the third period, when Eric Knodel snapped home a shot from the right circle, lifting the Cyclones to the 3-2 win. With 108 points, Cincinnati has locked up its second Brabham Cup Title, holding off the Florida Everblades. The Brabham Cup Champions have eclipsed the 100-point plateau in five straight seasons, but the 2013-14 Alaska Aces were the last team to take home the Brabham Cup and the Kelly Cup in the same campaign.

Two Games Need to Go Our Way

The ECHL's final weekend of the regular season begins on Friday night, and the Nailers are still in playoff contention. Kalamazoo defeated Wichita, 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday night, so the focus now turns to taking down one team - the Fort Wayne Komets. In order to survive to Saturday, Wheeling needs to defeat Toledo, then Indy must beat Fort Wayne in regulation. The Fuel prevented the Komets from clinching a spot on Wednesday, rallying back from a 3-0 deficit for a 5-3 triumph at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. A victory by the Nailers would also guarantee 11 straight seasons with a winning record. 12 of 16 teams have punched their tickets to the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs Presented by Smile Direct Club, with two open slots remaining in the North Division, a battle between South Carolina and Atlanta for the last South Division position, and a three-team tussle for one more Central Division spot.

Playoff Feel Down the Stretch

All three games last weekend came down to the wire, as Wheeling earned five out of six possible points with two home victories and a shootout loss on the road. On Friday night, the Nailers held a 5-4 lead over Fort Wayne until the 18:57 mark of the third period, when the team's 12th empty net goal of the season gave them some breathing room. Saturday was the 16th time the Nailers went past regulation to decide a match, tying them for the eighth most games that have required overtime or a shootout. In Sunday's finale, Wheeling earned its fifth one-goal win in regulation, capping a 6-5-3 month of March, which saw nine of the 14 tilts decided by one goal. 39 of Wheeling's first 69 games have been decided by two goals or fewer, while the largest margin of victory was six, in an 8-2 triumph at Toledo on January 5th.

Time to Defend the Home Ice

Friday night marks the eighth and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Walleye this season, as well as the fourth and final battle at WesBanco Arena. The story of the 2018-19 season set has been the performances of the road clubs, who have posted a 6-1-0 record. The lone win by a home squad came in the most recent match on March 16th, when Toledo prevailed, 3-2 at Huntington Center. Bryan Moore's goal at the 4:34 mark of the second period ended up being the difference. Moore and Wheeling's Cedric Lacroix have both eclipsed 50 penalty minutes in the series, in addition to accumulating six points. Zac Lynch leads all players with nine points (all assists), while Shane Berschbach is the active leader for the Walleye with seven points. The Nailers need a win to prevent a fifth straight season series from going Toledo's way.


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