Nailers Weekly Update
NAILERS VS. TRENTON (Wednesday, December 21): The Wheeling Nailers and the Trenton Titans meet for the third time this Wednesday in New Jersey's capital city. The Titans (13-10-2) currently reside in 3rd place in the North Division 6 points behind Wheeling. The Titans, the ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Phantoms and New York Islanders, have won 2 straight. Trenton made a coaching change 19 games into the season elevating assistant Tony MacAulay to the top spot for Doug McKay. The Titans have gone 3-3-0 under the direction of MacAulay. Dennis Traylen who picked up his first ECHL win in Wheeling on November 27th is 5-2-1 with a 2.41 goals against has been strong in net for the Titans. The Titans lead the season series, 2-0-1, with Wheeling winning in a shootout last time in Trenton on November 18th.
NAILERS BROADCAST INFO: Tune in as the voice of the Nailers, Gary Sharp delivers all of the Nailers action on The Mix WKWK 97.3 and selected games airing on ESPN Radio Pittsburgh 1250AM. Fans can also watch or listen in on the Nailers website. The broadcast begins 20 minutes prior to face-off.
THE COACH IS TALKING AND YOU CAN TO
Join Head Coach Glenn Patrick and Gary Sharp every Thursday for "Nail Talk" at Generations. The hour-long show will be carried on WWVA 1170AM beginning at 7pm. Players, coaches, special guests, phone calls, and more will highlight the fast paced 60 minute show. The show will return on January 5th.
Pull Up a Chair: In conjunction with B2 Networks and the ECHL, live video of every Nailers game this season will be offered through a link at wheelingnailers.com. Any fan worldwide with a high-speed internet connection will be able to watch the action for just $6, while listening to Gary Sharp's play-by-play.
Get Your Tickets: Tickets for all 36 Nailers regular season home games can be purchased in person at WesBanco Arena and all Ticketmaster locations, by phone through the Nailers office at 304-234-GOAL/1-877-NAIL-TIX. Full season tickets, 18 and 10-game packages, and group ticket packages starting as low as $66 are available through the Nailers office at 304-234-GOAL.
NAILER ACTION LAST WEEK Nailers 5 @ Reading 2 (Tuesday, December 13): The Nailers moved back into first place with the win on the road. Daniel Carcillo had 2 goals and an assist, while leading Wheeling to a quick 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
Nailers 4 @ Dayton 2 (Thursday, December 15): Wheeling fell behind 2-0 in the first period at Hobart Arena in Troy before mounting a comeback. Kurtis McLean recorded his second hat trick of the season as Wheeling scored 3 goals in the 3rd period.
Nailers 2 vs. Reading 5 (Friday, December 16): Reading scored 3 goals in the first period with 2 coming on delayed penalties as the Royals avenged the loss earlier in the week.
Nailers 2 vs. Johnstown 1 (Saturday, December 17): Once again the Nailers fell behind early before rallying to win their first home game since December 1st. Wheeling scored 2 goals in the middle frame and held Johnstown to 16 shots on goal to improve to 4-0-1 this year against the Chiefs.
Comings and goings: The Pittsburgh Penguins reassigned defenseman Paul Bissonnette from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to Wheeling, and forward Daniel Carcillo from Wheeling of the ECHL to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Bissonnette, 20, has appeared in 10 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, recording one assist, 17 penalty minutes and a plus-2 rating. The rookie from Welland, Ontario also seven points (2+5) and four penalty minutes in eight games with Wheeling this season. He was Pittsburgh's fourth round choice (121st overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft. Bissonnette scored the game winner on Saturday against Johnstown. Carcillo, 20, has 15 points (7+8) in 24 games with the Penguins this season. The 5-11, 200 pound rookie from King City, Ontario is also second on the team with 107 penalty minutes. Carcillo was assigned to Wheeling on December 13, recorded four points (2+2), 28 penalty minutes and an even rating in four games with the Nailers.
The Nailers also placed forward Curtiss Patrick on injured reserve for the second time this season. Patrick will be out 4-6 weeks with a broken left hand. Defenseman Drew Fata has been sidelined for the last 4 games due to an undisclosed injury. He is expected back for Wednesday night's game.
On the road again: The Nailers just wrapped a stretch of 7 games in 9 days. The journey took them from South Carolina's state capital to Troy, Ohio. Wheeling picked up 2,172 miles of frequent bus traveler miles. The Nailers went 4-2-1 and remained in first place over Reading. February will see the longest road trip of the year with the Nailers being gone from the 10th to the 24th.
Hey rook get my bags!: The top of the rookie scoring chart is held by two Wheeling Nailers. Sean Collins and Kurtis McLean lead the Nailers with 33 points. McLean is 1st in the ECHL in goals with 19 while Collins is currently tied for 2nd in the league with 22 assists. Last year the leading goal scorer in Wheeling, Ed McGrane had 27 goals in 71 games. McLean has 19 in 25 games.
New england's Collins chowder: Forward Sean Collins is tied with teammate Kurtis McLean as the leading scorer among rookies with 33 points. Overall he is tied for 2nd in ECHL scoring. His 22 assists are tied for 2nd overall in the league. He has added to his point total for 5 straight games and has a 2-game goal streak currently. Collins likes the tight quarters of WesBanco Arena where he has a point in 10 straight home games. Last year at New Hampshire, Collins put up 56 points leading the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament and in his first month as a pro Collins was named the ECHL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October after posting 10 points in 4 games.
It's kurtis with a k: All rookie forward Kurtis McLean does is score. An All-American at Norwich University, McLean totaled 212 points in 115 games. He then had 3 points in 4 pro games last year with Richmond (UHL). In his first 25 games with Wheeling McLean has 19 goals to go along with 33 points. Over the last 148 games he has played, McLean has 252 points. McLean's 33 points are tied for 2nd in ECHL scoring. McLean has two hat tricks to his credit this month and 4 multi-goal games. When McLean scores that usually means good things for Wheeling with the Nailers being 10-1-2 when #17 is on the goal chart. McLean has 17 points in December thru 10 games.
Frankly speaking he likes johnstown: Goaltender Andy Franck has 8 professional wins to his credit, with half of those against Johnstown. Franck is 4-0-1 against the Chiefs allowing only 10 goals in those 5 games. Franck overall is 8-4-1 with the 13th best goals against average in the ECHL at 2.73. Franck made the most of his opportunity with Andy Chiodo in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton starting 11 straight games putting together a mark of 7-3-1. Franck, a native of Lakewood, Ohio, won a roster spot with a strong training camp.
Power outage?: Wheeling's power play is looking for an extra jolt of electricity. The power play unit is 5 for their last 48. When the Nailers are on the man advantage there are 3 guys who stand out. Kurtis McLean has 15 of his 33 points on the power play while line mate Sean Collins has 14 of his 33 when the Nailers are up a man. The Nailers clip along on the power play at a conversion rate of 16.6% but they are much better at home with a 21.3% rate.
It is a black sweater and white sweater thing: The best way to break down the hot start by Wheeling is to check out what sweater they are wearing. If Wheeling wears black they are 5-4 if they were white they are 10-2-2. The Nailers have worn there special 3rd jersey twice this season.
Nail bits: Wheeling is 5-4-1 in the last 10 games...Kurtis McLean took the first penalty shot of the season at Dayton on Friday, November 25th...Andy Chiodo stopped the first penalty shot against Wheeling at Reading on Tuesday.. The Nailers .680 winning percentage is 3rd best in the ECHL's American Conference....Wheeling has outscored the opposition 26-18 in the first period...The Nailers are 11-1-0 when they lead after the second period and 8-1-1 when they score first....The Nailers have allowed the fewest shots on average per game at 26.28....Wheeling is 2-1 in shootouts and Tim Verbeek has been the man to decide it with a goal...Wheeling has won 6 of the there last 8 on the road...Drew Fata is fourth among defenseman in shots with a team high 76...Terry Virtue is one to watch quarterbacking the power play where he has 11 power play assists...Former Wheeling Nailer, Michele Oulette recorded his first 2 NHL goals this past weekend with Pittsburgh...The Nailers are 5-0 against Dayton and 4-0-1 against Johnstown.
WesBanco been very good to Nailers: Since the 2003-04 season the Nailers have gone 59-19-7 on home ice. Wheeling is 8-3-2 this year outscoring the opposition 51-41.
November was good to wheeling: The Nailers wrapped up there best November ever compiling a record of 8-1-1. The month saw the Nailers post a 5-game winning streak and vault into first place. Brendon Hodge scored 12 of his current 13 points in the month while the Nailers were a combined +51 in the +/- category. Andy Franck in net started the last 8 games of the month and posted a 6-2-1 record with a .910 save percentage.
Streaker outbreak in wheeling: So far in the early part of the season the Nailers have put together a 6-game winning streak and a 5-game winning streak. The 6-1-0 start was the ever in Wheeling's ECHL hockey history.
Comparing 2004 to 2005: Last year thru the first 25 games the record was 14-10-1, this year 16-7-2.
Next Week: The Nailers will open a 4 game home stand next week hosting Dayton on 12/26, Columbia 12/28-12/30, and Trenton 12/31. The month of December will see Wheeling play 15 games in 31 days. The Nailers are currently 5-4-1 in the final month of 2005.
VIRTUE MILESTONE: It took awhile but it was well worth the wait for Defenseman Terry Virtue. On October 29th, Virtue scored his 100th career professional goal. Virtue's career has spanned over 15 years and 1,000 professional games including 5 in the NHL. Virtue is currently among the top 20 scoring defenseman in the ECHL with 2 goals and 20 points.
WEARING THE "C": Brendon Hodge has been appointed the Captain for the Nailers. Hodge is in his third year in Wheeling and the team's leading returning scorer with 42 points. The Assistant Captains are: Tim Verbeek, Cam Paddock, Curtiss Patrick, Drew Fata.
Patrick behind bench: The 2005-06 season will feature a new face guiding the Nailers. Glenn Patrick was hired in August to replace Pat Bingham. Bingham has moved on to the AHL as an assistant coach with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Patrick most recently was a scout in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. His last time behind the bench was in the AHL where he guided Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 2001 appearance in the Calder Cup Finals. Glenn is surrounded by family in Wheeling. His son, Curtiss, will play for him while his nephew Ryan is the Nailers Director of Public Relations. Patrick's brother Craig is the General Manager of the Penguins.
Virtue Is Back: Defenseman Terry Virtue took a roundabout way to return to Wheeling but he's back. Virtue will also act as a player/assistant coach. Virtue played in Wheeling for the Thunderbirds in the 90's. Overall, Virtue has logged more than 1,000 professional games from coast to coast. Last year he laced up the skates in the AHL with Springfield and Utah. Virtue resides in Wheeling and will be honored later this year with "Terry Virtue Bobblehead Night." Virtue's former teammate in Wheeling Brock Woods is the radio color analyst.
The New ECHL: As the ECHL Hockey League begins its 18th season, the Nailers find themselves in the Northern Division, alongside Johnstown, Trenton, Reading, Dayton and Toledo. Due to Hurricane Katrina and Rita; Mississippi and Texas have suspended play for 2005-06 season. The ECHL has added three new teams (Stockton, Phoenix, and Utah) and several new rules for the 2005-06 season, including: permission of two-line passes, reducing the maximum dimensions of goaltender equipment, the addition of the trapezoid area behind the net limiting the area in which goalies can play the puck, and any player who shoots the puck directly over the glass in his defending zone will be penalized for delay of game.
You Look So Familiar: Nine Nailers return from last year, including forwards Bo Cheesman, Brendon Hodge, Pascal Morency, Cam Paddock, Curtiss Patrick; defensemen Drew Fata, Cliff Loya, and Alexandre Rouleau.
Welcome to the Friendly City: Sean Collins (NCAA New Hampshire), Mike Doyle (NCAA St. Cloud State), Kurtis McLean (NCAA Norwich), Tim Verbeek (ECHL Idaho), Paul Bissonnette (OHL), Terry Virtue (AHL), Daniel Fernholm (AHL), Luis Trembley (ECHL Bakersfield), Andy Franck (NCAA Mercyhurst).
Who's Up in the A: Eleven players from last year's roster now find themselves in the AHL, most notably Mike Sgroi (Albany), Ray DiLauro (Cleveland), Jason Jaffray (Manitoba), T.J. Reynolds (Milwaukee), Steven Crampton (Norfolk), Jake Riddle (Portland), Ben Eaves (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), Kenny Corupe (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), and Dany Sabourin (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton)). Former Head Coach Pat Bingham is an assistant with Bridgeport.
How Fast Can You Get Here? The Wheeling Nailers had their first player re-called to the NHL directly. Goaltender Andy Chiodo was summoned to Pittsburgh to dress as the backup goalie for the Penguins home opener on October 15th. Chiodo was needed due to an injury to Jocelyn Thibault.
Nailers History: The Nailers finished the 2004-05 season in sixth place in the Northern Division with a 38-29-5- mark (81 pts.) The Nailers allowed only 2.40 goals per game, second best in the ECHL. The team has 600 career wins.
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