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Wheeling Nailers Weekly Report

March 30, 2015 - ECHL (ECHL) - Wheeling Nailers News Release

Last Week

Wed. 3/25 Toledo Walleye 3 @ WHEELING NAILERS 2

Gilbert (Johnson, Gill)

Gill (Brace, Army)

Hartzell: 30/33, Whitney: 1/1

Fri. 3/27 Fort Wayne Komets 1 @ WHEELING NAILERS 2

Wydo (J. Burton, Gill)

Gill (Wydo, Army)

Hartzell: 35/36

Sat. 3/28 Reading Royals 2 @ WHEELING NAILERS 5

J. Burton (Army, Cianfrini)

Johnson (Fernandez, Bakker)

Army (Wydo, Gill)

Torquato (Brace, Seymour)

Torquato (unassisted)

Hartzell: 29/30, Whitney: 1/1

Sun. 3/29 Cincinnati Cyclones 3 @ WHEELING NAILERS 4

Gill (Seymour, Army)

Gill (Gilbert, Seymour)

Johnson (Gilbert, Gill)

Gill (Army, Wydo)

Hartzell: 28/31

Last week, the Wheeling Nailers faced a tall task, as three of the Eastern Conference's top teams made their way into WesBanco Arena, in addition to another squad currently fighting for playoff positioning. The Nailers passed their test with flying colors, winning three of the four contests to open a three-point lead for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. Wednesday night's game was the lone setback, as Wheeling spotted the Toledo Walleye a 3-0 lead, which typically isn't the best idea. David Gilbert and Sahir Gill rallied the home team to within a goal, but that was how the game finished, as the Nailers were unable to pull even, falling 3-2. Defense and goaltending stole the show on Friday night against the Fort Wayne Komets, as neither team could light the lamp in the first forty minutes. After an opening goal by Fort Wayne, Cody Wydo and Sahir Gill put Wheeling on top, and Eric Hartzell preserved the victory with a 35-save performance. Saturday's clash with the Reading Royals will mostly be remembered for 147 combined penalty minutes, but the Nailers also succeeded in the game itself. Chaz Johnson broke a 1-1 tie in the second period, before Derek Army added an insurance tally at the time for a 3-1 lead. The Royals ended up cutting the deficit to one for a short time, but Zack Torquato iced Wheeling's 5-2 win with two late goals. On Sunday afternoon, the Nailers earned one of their most important wins of the year, as they and the Cincinnati Cyclones were separated by just one point. A back-and-forth tilt led to a 2-2 tie after two periods. In the third, Johnson and Gill gave Wheeling a 4-2 advantage, as Gill completed a hat trick. Cincinnati pulled to within a goal, but the Nailers skated away with the only two points, thanks to the regulation triumph.

After the 3-1-0 week, Wheeling's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is ten points against both Cincinnati and Indy. One of the most impressive numbers from the weekend came from the penalty kill, which blanked all 12 opposition power plays. The Nailers went 6-0-0 on home ice against the Royals in 2014-15, winning five of the six battles in regulation. Wheeling has reached the 20-win plateau on home ice for the fifth consecutive season, and with two home games remaining, will take aim at its highest win total at home in nearly a decade. On the individual side of things, Cody Wydo made his professional debut on Friday night, scoring the tying goal and assisting on the winner against Fort Wayne. Sahir Gill had a week to remember, after returning from the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, as he racked up five goals and nine points in four games, including a hat trick on Sunday. That hat trick was the Nailers' fourth of the season, and seventh in the past two years. Eric Hartzell was the winning goaltender in all three games over the weekend, which included his first career victory against the Cyclones. On Saturday night, Zack Torquato became the fifth player in team history to appear in 200 games with Wheeling. Patrick McGrath and Shane Bakker both played in their 100th professional games during the homestand.

This Week

Wed. 4/1 WHEELING NAILERS @ Elmira Jackals, 7:05

Fri. 4/3 Evansville IceMen @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:35

Sat. 4/4 WHEELING NAILERS @ Kalamazoo Wings, 7:30

This week, the Wheeling Nailers will face three different types of opponents in three different venues. On Wednesday night, the Nailers will travel to Elmira, where the Jackals are in desperation mode. Elmira lost all three of its home games last week, falling nine points back of the final playoff spot in the East Division. Wheeling has won seven of ten games against the Jackals this season, after the two sides split a weekend series in New York on March 20th and 21st. On Friday night, the Nailers will look to even their season series against the Evansville IceMen, after dropping two of three tilts in Indiana. The IceMen are well aware of their playoff status, as a 1-9-2 month of March has left them in the basement of the ECHL. On Saturday night, Wheeling will tangle with the Kalamazoo Wings in a game that will impact the playoff race. Thanks to two wins in three road games against the Colorado Eagles last weekend, Kalamazoo currently has a three-point lead on the Nailers, but Wheeling holds one game in hand. The Nailers have won three of the four games in the season series, including two of three at Wings Stadium.

Upcoming Home Games/Promotions

Fri. 4/3 vs. Evansville- Flat Screen Friday, Frosty Friday, Player Poster Giveaway (2,000)

Fri. 4/10 vs. Elmira- Fan Appreciation Night, Flat Screen Friday, Frosty Friday, Player Poster Giveaway (2,000), Blades for Grades, Player Awards

Nailers Leaders

Goals: 26, Derek Army

Assists: 42, Riley Brace

Points: 60, Derek Army & Riley Brace

Penalty Minutes: 228, Patrick McGrath

Plus/Minus: +13, Riley Brace

Wins: 17, Franky Palazzese

Goals Against Average: 2.63, Eric Hartzell

Save Percentage: .916, Eric Hartzell

Shutouts: 1, Eric Hartzell & Franky Palazzese

North Division Standings

1. Toledo Walleye 96 (at CIN, at IND, at KAL, vs. ELM)

2. Fort Wayne Komets 94 (vs. EVN, vs. ELM, at IND)

3. Kalamazoo Wings 71 (vs. TOL, vs. WHL)

4. WHEELING NAILERS 68 (at ELM, vs. EVN, at KAL)

5. Cincinnati Cyclones 65 (vs. TOL, vs. IND, vs. EVN)

6. Indy Fuel 63 (vs. TOL, at CIN, vs. FW, vs. ELM)

7. Evansville IceMen 36 (at FW, at WHL, at CIN)

The Nailers have two home games remaining in the 2014-15 regular season, with a 7:35 tilt against the Evansville IceMen on April 3rd and a 7:35 battle against the Elmira Jackals on April 10th . Both nights will be Flat Screen Fridays, Frosty Fridays, and Player Poster Giveaways, while the regular season home finale will be Fan Appreciation Night.

Wheeling Nailers 2015-16 season tickets, as well as flex tickets, group tickets and single-game tickets for 2014-15 are on sale now. For more information, call 304-234-GOAL or visit

Listen to all Nailers regular season and post-season games live on the Valley's rock station EAGLE 107.5 FM, on or watch live on Catch every road game live on WLUTV on Comcast Cable 14.

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