Wheeling Nailers Weekly Report, January 21
Wednesday, January 16th: WHEELING NAILERS 3 @ Adirondack Thunder 5
The Wheeling Nailers made the trek up to Glens Falls, New York to begin their three-game road trip against the Adirondack Thunder. Unfortunately for Wheeling, the Thunder weren't in a very welcoming mood, as they exploded out of the gates with three goals in the first 8:17 of action. The Nailers got on the scoreboard shortly after, when Yushiroh Hirano rang a shot in off the crossbar. Adirondack extended its lead in the early stages of the middle stanza, before Michael Phillips converted for Wheeling's second power play marker of the night. John Edwardh completed his hat trick with an empty netter in the third period for the Thunder, then Aaron Titcomb netted his first professional goal for the Nailers to close out the scoring.
Friday, January 18th: WHEELING NAILERS 2 @ Adirondack Thunder 6
Power play goals were the story of Friday night's rematch at Cool Insuring Arena, starting with Wheeling's Troy Josephs, who deposited an Alex Rauter feed to open the scoring at the 3:49 mark of the first period. Adirondack battled back with a couple of goals later in the frame to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission. Cullen Bradshaw extended the advantage in the early stages of the middle frame, but it was a five-minute power play that broke the game open for the Thunder, who dented the twine three times to go ahead, 6-1. Yushiroh Hirano's second power play marker in as many games was the only goal in the third period.
Saturday, January 19th: WHEELING NAILERS 4 @ Reading Royals 3
The final game before the All-Star Break produced a quality win for the Nailers, as they came back from a pair of deficits to take down the Reading Royals. Cedric Lacroix flew out of the penalty box to complete a 2-on-1 rush with Troy Josephs for Wheeling's first goal, and Renars Krastenbergs buried a one-time feed from Yushiroh Hirano for a 2-2 deadlock at the 12:48 mark of the second period. Josephs gave the Nailers their first lead of the night with a wraparound in the late stages of the middle frame, but Reading tied things up in the opening minute of the third. Josephs ended up getting the final say, as his shorthanded breakaway with 7:23 left put Wheeling ahead for good. Jordan Ruby's 33 saves preserved the triumph.
Friday, January 25th: Brampton Beast @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.
The Nailers will begin a six-game homestand on Friday night, when they get their first look of the season at the Brampton Beast. Last season, Wheeling and Brampton split their six-game season series, with both squads going 2-1-0 on home ice. The Beast struggled through a six-game skid in December, but followed that up by going 7-1-1 in their last nine games, climbing into a tie for fourth place in the North Division. Both of Brampton's wins last week came on the road, as Etienne Marcoux stopped 77 of the 79 shots he faced, defeating Reading and Adirondack.
Saturday, January 26th: Reading Royals @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.
Exactly one week after their last clash, the Nailers and Royals will meet again, as Reading makes its third visit of the season to WesBanco Arena. Wheeling has a 3-2 advantage in the set, thanks to back-to-back victories. The Royals might be excited to get away from Santander Arena, as they are one game under .500 at home, compared to four games over .500 on opposition ice. Reading has lost five straight games overall, scoring just seven goals during the slump. Troy Josephs' three points last Saturday gave him seven against the Royals this season, while Chris McCarthy has six points against the Nailers.
Sunday, January 27th: Fort Wayne Komets @ WHEELING NAILERS, 3:05 p.m.
After five straight games against North Division foes, the Nailers will open up a string of Central Division tilts on Sunday, when the Fort Wayne Komets come to town. Wheeling and Fort Wayne have split a pair of high-scoring contests this season, with the Komets earning their win 5-4, while the Nailers posted a 6-3 decision for their victory. Fort Wayne currently sits in third place in the Central Division, leading Indy by two points and Wheeling by three points. The Komets have lost four straight games, including a wild 10-8 slugfest to Kalamazoo last Wednesday. However, Fort Wayne was able to earn a point in back-to-back matches, dropping an overtime game to Indy and a shootout in Toledo.
- The Nailers are 8-2-1 when scoring a shorthanded goal this season.
- Zac Lynch has notched 23 of his 39 points on special teams (18 power play, 5 shorthanded).
- Lynch and Yushiroh Hirano are both on five-game point streaks, and both have recorded at least one point in 14 of the last 17 games.
- Wheeling earned its 16th win of the season when leading after two periods on Saturday - the team leading after two is 33-1-0 on the year.
- Aaron Titcomb's goal on Wednesday night was his first in 1,152 days, dating back to sophomore season at Merrimack College.
- Dan Fick appeared in his 231st game as a Nailer on Friday night, tying him with Stefan Brannare and Cliff Loya for the team record.
Central Division Standings
1. Cincinnati Cyclones 27-7-3-3, 60 pts.
2. Toledo Walleye 24-10-3-2, 53 pts.
3. Fort Wayne Komets 21-16-1-2, 45 pts.
4. Indy Fuel 20-18-2-1, 43 pts.
5. WHEELING NAILERS 20-18-2-0, 42 pts.
6. Kalamazoo Wings 18-19-0-2, 38 pts.
Goals: Troy Josephs- 19
Assists: Zac Lynch- 29
Points: Zac Lynch- 40
Penalty Minutes: Cedric Lacroix- 129
Plus/Minus: Nick Saracino- +17
Wins: Matt O'Connor- 8
Goals Against Average: Matt O'Connor- 2.86
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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