Wheeling Nailers Weekly Report, February 11
Tuesday, February 5th: Cincinnati Cyclones 2 @ WHEELING NAILERS 1 (overtime)
The Wheeling Nailers rose to the challenge of facing the team with the top record in the Western Conference, as the Cincinnati Cyclones visited WesBanco Arena on Tuesday night. Defense and goaltending shined brightly during the first two periods, as both teams failed to turn on the red light. Cincinnati's Alex Wideman snapped the scoreless deadlock with a power play goal at the 9:26 mark of the third period, but the Nailers answered back, as Mark Petaccio forced overtime with 3:12 left in regulation. Unfortunately, the bonus point went to the Cyclones, as Eric Knodel flipped in a shot from the right side of the crease. Jonas Johansson made 30 saves in the win, while John Muse came up with 19 stops for Wheeling.
Friday, February 8th: WHEELING NAILERS 3 @ Manchester Monarchs 4 (overtime)
Resiliency was the key to earning a point in Friday night's contest, as the Nailers began their three-game New England road trip in Manchester. The Monarchs took three separate leads, with Wheeling answering back each time. Early in the second period, Dane Birks got the Nailers on the scoreboard, tossing in a wrist shot from the middle of the blueline. Later in the stanza, Zac Lynch collected a goal against his former squad, getting a fortunate redirection off an opponent's stick. Troy Josephs netted the last equalizer with 7:54 remaining, but Wheeling came up short in the extra session, thanks to a power play goal in the opening minute by David Kolomatis of the Monarchs.
Saturday, February 9th: WHEELING NAILERS 5 @ Worcester Railers 1
The Nailers were bound and determined to put an end to their seven-game winless skid, and on Saturday night, a third period explosion got the job done. Michael Phillips scored the lone goal in the first two periods, while Jordan Ruby maintained a 1-0 lead with 19 saves. Tyler Barnes evened the score for the Railers, which fired up Wheeling, as Cedric Lacroix answered 51 seconds later, and Yushiroh Hirano, Phillips, and Alec Butcher followed, giving the Nailers a comfortable 5-1 advantage. Ruby finished the night by turning away 33 of the 34 shots he faced, including a perfect penalty kill on a five-minute Worcester power play in the closing minutes.
Sunday, February 10th: WHEELING NAILERS 1 @ Maine Mariners 4
The weekend trip concluded in new territory, as the Nailers visited Maine for the first time in their history. The two sides battled to a scoreless first period, before the Mariners capitalized on a two-man advantage in the opening minutes of the middle frame. Maine added to its lead, but the Nailers stayed with them, and eventually broke through for a goal, as Michael Phillips converted on a power play at 11:11 of the third. However, a late goal by Terrence Wallin and an empty netter by Drew Melanson closed off any hopes for a Wheeling comeback, as the Mariners prevailed, 4-1.
Wednesday, February 13th: Reading Royals @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.
The stretch of eight games in 13 days for the Nailers continues on Wednesday night, as a three-game homestand begins with the final visit of the year from the Reading Royals. In late January, Wheeling and Reading split back-to-back contests, with each side winning by one goal on the road. In fact, the road teams have won four of the first six clashes, leading to a 3-3 set with two games remaining. On Saturday, the Royals were blanked 4-0 on home ice by the Brampton Beast, who jumped two points ahead of Reading for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division.
Friday, February 15th: Brampton Beast @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, February 16th: Brampton Beast @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.
The Brampton Beast will conclude a seven-game road trip over the weekend with back-to-back matches at WesBanco Arena. The Beast lost the opener of the trip in Toledo, then split two in Newfoundland, before winning the first of two battles in Reading to slide into playoff positioning. Brampton was the first opponent on Wheeling's recent six-game homestand, and the visitors came away with a 6-5 win on Anthony Beauregard's goal with under three minutes remaining in the third period. These games will conclude the Wheeling portion of the season series, while the Beast will host the Nailers just once on February 26th.
Sunday, February 17th: WHEELING NAILERS @ Fort Wayne Komets, 5:00 p.m.
It might be hard to believe, but Sunday is the first time this season that the Nailers travel to Fort Wayne to face their division rivals, the Komets. The teams have faced off three times in Wheeling, with Fort Wayne winning a pair of 5-4 decisions, while the Nailers came away with a 6-3 victory on December 16th. The Komets have earned at least one point in seven of their last eight games, but in doing so, have posted a very creative 2-1-5 record. Last week, Fort Wayne played a three-game series in Newfoundland, winning in overtime, and losing once each in overtime and a shootout. The Komets currently hold third place in the Central Division, leading Kalamazoo by one point, Indy by three points, and Wheeling by four points.
- The Nailers have received the same amount of power plays (105) at home and on the road, as well as the same amount of penalty kills (109) at home and on the road.
- Wheeling has completed ten of its 17 season series, going 6-4-0.
- Dane Birks scored his first professional goal in Friday's game at Manchester.
- Dan Fick tied his career high with his 23rd point of the season, when he assisted on Alec Butcher's goal Saturday.
- Michael Phillips has scored ten of his 15 goals this season on special teams (9 PPG, 1 SHG).
Central Division Standings
1. Cincinnati Cyclones 32-9-3-3, 70 pts.
2. Toledo Walleye 29-11-4-3, 65 pts.
3. Fort Wayne Komets 23-17-2-4, 52 pts.
4. Kalamazoo Wings 24-20-1-2, 51 pts.
5. Indy Fuel 23-23-2-1, 49 pts.
6. WHEELING NAILERS 21-22-5-1, 48 pts.
Goals: Troy Josephs- 21
Assists: Zac Lynch- 33
Points: Zac Lynch- 47
Penalty Minutes: Cedric Lacroix- 156
Plus/Minus: Nick Saracino- +17
Wins: Matt O'Connor- 8
Goals Against Average: Jordan Ruby- 2.54
Save Percentage: Jordan Ruby- .917
Shutouts: John Muse & Matt O'Connor- 1
Next Big Promotional Night
Saturday, February 16th - Country Roads
Next Five Home Games
Wednesday, February 13th vs. Reading Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, February 15th vs. Brampton Beast, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, February 16th vs. Brampton Beast, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 2nd vs. Cincinnati Cyclones, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 3rd vs. Fort Wayne Komets, 3:05 p.m.
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