This week in Nailers Hockey
NAILERS VS. DAYTON (Wednesday, November 23-Friday November 25):
The Wheeling Nailers and the Dayton Bombers meet for the third and fourth time this season for a Thanksgiving week home and home. The Nailers swept a home and home from the Bombers on October 29th and 30th. Dayton, the ECHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, is 5-8-0 on the season good for 5th place in the North Division. In the two previous games against Wheeling Brian Gornick and Scott Cameron have combined for 6 points. Scott Cameron is one of the top scorers in the league with 19 points including 13 assists.
NAILERS VS. JOHNSTOWN (Saturday, November 26):
The Wheeling Nailers will take on the Johnstown Chiefs for the 4th time in the month of November. The Nailers are undefeated against the Chiefs outscoring them 12-5. Johnstown was winless in its first 10 games before reeling off 2 straight wins to improve to 2-6-4 on the season. They will face Trenton twice before arriving in the "Friendly City" on Saturday night. Brendon Hodge has 4 of his 5 goals this season against the Chiefs and Andy Franck is 3-0 in net allowing only 5 goals. The Chiefs, the ECHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, last time out handed Toledo there first home loss on Saturday.
NAILERS VS. TRENTON (Sunday, November 27):
The Wheeling Nailers and the Trenton Titans meet for the first time in Wheeling after facing off twice in the capital city of New Jersey. Last Friday Wheeling rallied to win 2-1 in a shootout. The two teams have split two meetings this year. Trenton, the defending Kelly Cup Champions, is currently in 4th place in the North Division with a record of 6-3-2. The Titans have been stingy on defense allowing only 24 goals in 11 games. Trenton is the ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.
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 not be heard this Thursday due to Thanksgiving.
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 2 @ Trenton 1 (shootout) (Friday, November 18):Jordan Cameron scored with 63 seconds left to tie the game and Tim Verbeek was the only shooter to score in a 5 round shootout to keep Wheeling in first place. Andy Franck made 31 saves while Trenton's Rejean Beauchemin stopped 43 shots.
.818 sounds good to me:
The Nailers .818 winning percentage is tops in the ECHL. The Nailers have been in first place in the North Division everyday except one since October 30th. Since a season opening loss to Trenton the Nailers have gone 9-1-0 outscoring its opponents 41-26.
Best of Wheeling:
The 9-2 start is the best 11 game start ever in Wheeling's ECHL hockey history. The current group of Nailers have won 9 of 10 including three in a row since having there 6-game winning streak snapped on November 11th.
WHEELING PLUS WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON EQUALS DOMINATION: The Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL, both lead there respective leagues in winning percentage. Combined the two are 25-2-1. Wheeling is 9-2 while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 16-0-1.
Comparing 2004 to 2005:
Last year thru the first 11 games the record was 4-6-1, this year 9-2.
Goaltender Andy Franck is making the most of his opportunity. With Andy Chiodo being called up to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Franck has started the last 4 games. Franck, a native of Lakewood, Ohio, won a roster spot with a strong training camp and has 5 professional starts under his belt. Friday night in Trenton he allowed only a breakaway goal, stopped all 5 shooters in the shootout, made 31 saves, and helped Wheeling to there 9th win. Franck, 4-1-0 on the year, has a 1.78 goals against average good for 3rd in the ECHL. In only 5 games Franck has allowed 9 goals with a .930 save percentage.
The Nailers continue to be one of the top scoring teams in the ECHL. Wheeling has scored 44 goals in 11 games for an average of 4.00 per game. Only three times have they failed to score at least 4 goals. 7 different Nailers have registered game winning goals while the other two have come in shootouts.
Collins off to fast start:
Forward Sean Collins was named the ECHL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October. Collins is among the top rookies in scoring with 14 points. His 9 assists also is tied for the top spot among rookies. Collins continues to be a dead-eye shooting the puck with 5 goals on only 17 shots for a .294 percentage.
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 11 games with Wheeling McLean has 7 goals to go along with 14 points. Over the last 130 games he has played, McLean has 231 points. McLean has 4 goals in his last 5 games and has a point in every game this season except two. McLean and Collins each lead Wheeling with 14 points.
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 1-2 if they were white they are 8-0. The Nailers will unveil the special 3rd jersey this upcoming weekend.
Wheeling's shorthanded crew killed off 18 of the last 19 penalties against them...Wheeling and Reading have yet to suffer a regulation home loss...The Nailers are 6-1-0 when they lead after the second period...Brendon Hodge leads the Nailers with 10 points scored in the month of November...The Nailers have allowed the fewest shots on average per game at 26.27... Wheeling is 2-0 in shootouts and Tim Verbeek has been the man to decide it with a goal...Wheeling has won 2 straight on the road...With two wins this weekend the Nailers will have 600 in team history.
WesBanco been very good to Nailers:
Since the 2003-04 season the Nailers have gone 56-16-5 on home ice. Wheeling is 5-0-0 this year outscoring the opposition 27-15.
The Nailers will host Charlotte on 12/1, visit Toledo on 12/2 and return home to play Charlotte again 12/3. The month of December will see Wheeling play 15 games in 31 days.
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.
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, James Laux, 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. Chiodo was sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and is expected to be returned to Wheeling before the season opener.
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 598 career wins.
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