Wheeling Nailers Weekly Report, January 14
Friday, January 11th: Utah Grizzlies 3 @ WHEELING NAILERS 0
The Utah Grizzlies are one of three teams in the ECHL with less than ten regulation losses this season, and despite a 30-shot effort by the Wheeling Nailers, the visitors skated out of town with the two points. Kevin Carr recorded Utah's league-leading sixth shutout of the year, while teammates J.T. Henke, Travis Barron, and Jake Marchment found the back of the net for the 3-0 result. John Muse made 20 saves for Wheeling, who finished the season with a 1-1-0 mark against the Mountain Division.
Saturday, January 12th: Indy Fuel 2 @ WHEELING NAILERS 3
The Nailers bounced back well on Saturday, as they welcomed Indy to town for the first of two key divisional clashes. After a scoreless first period, the Fuel netted the first goal of the contest at the 17-second mark of the middle frame. Wheeling answered 30 seconds later with a Zac Lynch rebound goal, then took the lead on Alec Butcher's first career tally. Indy drew even in the third, but the Nailers had another immediate response, as Craig Skudalski lit the lamp in a matter of 33 seconds for the game winning goal in a 3-2 Wheeling victory. Matt O'Connor earned his eighth win of the season with 21 saves.
Sunday, January 13th: Indy Fuel 3 @ WHEELING NAILERS 4 (overtime)
The weekend concluded in thrilling fashion, as an overtime decision led to a tie in the standings between the Nailers and Fuel. Wheeling took the lead three separate times during regulation, scoring three different ways. Troy Josephs got the offense started with an even strength goal at the 6:29 mark of the first period. Cedric Lacroix followed shorthanded with 4:54 left in the opening stanza. In the third period, Renars Krastenbergs picked up a rebound off the end boards, stashing in a power play strike. At 1:02 of the extra session, Zac Lynch put Wheeling into the win column, roofing a shot after he cruised down the left side of the ice. John Muse made 36 saves in the victory.
Wednesday, January 16th: WHEELING NAILERS @ Adirondack Thunder, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, January 18th: WHEELING NAILERS @ Adirondack Thunder, 7:00 p.m.
The Nailers begin a five-game stretch against North Division clubs with their lone tilts of the season against the Adirondack Thunder at Cool Insuring Arena. Wheeling has earned at least one point in each of its previous six visits to Glens Falls, New York, posting a 3-0-3 record. Adirondack, who has reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of its first three seasons, is once again in contention, sitting in second place with a 20-12-5 mark, good for 45 points under first-year head coach Alex Loh. Last week, the Thunder dropped all three of their games on the road against the Reading Royals and Newfoundland Growlers, but carry a ten-game home point streak (7-0-3) into this week.
Saturday, January 19th: WHEELING NAILERS @ Reading Royals, 7:00 p.m.
Wheeling's brief road journey concludes on Saturday night in Reading. The Nailers and Royals have split the first four matches of their eight-game season set, with both sides winning once at home and once on the road. Wheeling secured the most recent of those triumphs, blanking the Royals, 4-0 on New Year's Eve. Last week, Reading began with a home win against Adirondack, but then lost back-to-back tilts in New England against Manchester and Worcester. Troy Josephs leads all active players with four points in the series, while former Royal John Muse has gotten the starting nod in all four games for the Nailers.
- The Nailers completed the first half of the regular season on Saturday night, and at the time, had an identical 9-8-1 record at home and on the road.
- Alec Butcher scored a goal in his professional debut this season. The last Wheeling player to score in his pro debut was Matt Abt on March 9, 2018.
- The Nailers have won six games this season in which they or their opposition have worn specialty jerseys.
- Cedric Lacroix is tied for the league lead with four shorthanded goals, while Zac Lynch is second in the ECHL with five shorthanded points.
- Saturday's game ended a streak of 18 straight games in which the team scoring first won, and was Wheeling's sixth comeback victory of the season.
Central Division Standings
1. Cincinnati Cyclones 24-7-3-3, 54 pts.
2. Toledo Walleye 23-10-3-1, 50 pts.
3. Fort Wayne Komets 21-15-0-1, 43 pts.
4. WHEELING NAILERS 19-16-2-0, 40 pts.
5. Indy Fuel 19-17-2-0, 40 pts.
6. Kalamazoo Wings 16-18-0-2, 34 pts.
Goals: Nick Saracino- 17
Assists: Cam Brown- 26
Points: Nick Saracino- 37
Penalty Minutes: Cedric Lacroix- 108
Plus/Minus: Nick Saracino- +17
Wins: Matt O'Connor- 8
Goals Against Average: John Muse- 2.78
Save Percentage: Matt O'Connor- .904
Shutouts: John Muse & Matt O'Connor- 1
Next Big Promotional Night
Saturday, February 16th - Country Roads
Next Five Home Games
Friday, January 25th vs. Brampton Beast, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, January 26th vs. Reading Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, January 27th vs. Fort Wayne Komets, 3:05 p.m.
Friday, February 1st vs. Indy Fuel, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, February 2nd vs. Kalamazoo Wings, 8:05 p.m.
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