(33-28-8-0, 74 PTS, 5th North, 10th East)
233 GF, 227 GA
PP: 19.8% (64-for-324), 9th
PK: 74.9% (197-for-263), 27th
11-F-Cody Wydo (30 goals, 28 assists, 58 points in 68 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (12 goals, 45 assists, 57 points in 65 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (13 goals, 42 assists, 55 points in 56 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (24 goals, 27 assists, 51 points in 68 games)
14-F-Tyler Currier (19 goals, 27 assists, 46 points in 70 games)
7-F-Gage Quinney (18 goals, 26 assists, 44 points in 45 games)
29-G-Sean Maguire (13-15-4 record, 3.18 GAA, .897 Sv% in 33 games)
(38-23-3-5, 84 PTS, 2nd North, T-3rd East)
252 GF, 246 GA
PP: 19.8% (49-for-248), 8th
PK: 84.8% (252-for-297), 3rd
97-F-David Vallorani (30 goals, 50 assists, 80 points in 69 games)
61-F-David Pacan (40 goals, 39 assists, 79 points in 64 games)
13-F-Brandon Marino (20 goals, 49 assists, 69 points in 69 games)
17-F-Brandon MacLean (22 goals, 32 assists, 54 points in 59 games)
11-F-Luke Pither (16 goals, 27 assists, 43 points in 35 games)
25-D-Jordan Henry (17 goals, 21 assists, 38 points in 66 games)
30-G-Andrew D'Agostini (11-7-2 record, 3.29 GAA, .890 Sv% in 22 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 5, Beast 5
Season Series at Powerade Centre: Beast 3, Nailers 1
All-Time Series: Nailers 15, Beast 8
All-Time Series at Powerade Centre: Nailers 8, Beast 4
They Got the Last Spot
The Wheeling Nailers learned their fate for the 2016-17 season on Sunday afternoon, as the Reading Royals picked up a 5-3 win at WesBanco Arena, clinching the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. Reading rolled out to a 2-0 lead in the opening seven minutes of play, on goals by Olivier Labelle and Steven Swavely. However, the Nailers rallied back, as Daniel Leavens got the scoring started with a power play goal in the closing minutes of period one. Christian Hilbrich knotted the score in the first minute of the middle frame, and Garrett Meurs followed 1:12 later, putting Wheeling ahead, 3-2. Todd Perry's floater from the blueline made for a 3-3 game when the second period buzzer sounded. Labelle's second of the day put the Royals ahead for good, and Matt Willows secured the result with an empty netter. Mark Dekanich made 32 saves in the win, while Sean Maguire turned away 24 shots in the defeat.
Coming off of a Clincher
The Brampton Beast locked up a playoff spot the last time they hit the ice, which was Saturday night at Santander Arena in Reading. Matt Willows put the Royals on the scoreboard first at the 1:06 mark of the opening stanza, but Brampton wasn't about to be denied. David Pacan scored the next two goals to put his side ahead, before Steven Swavely sent the game to the third period with a 2-2 deadlock. That frame belonged to the Beast. Pacan completed his hat trick at the 2:03 mark, putting the visitors ahead for good. Willie Corrin added an insurance goal a few minutes later, and Pacan's fourth of the night put the finishing touches on Brampton's 5-2 triumph. Andrew D'Agostini backstopped the win with 31 saves, taking down Mark Dekanich, who made 28 stops for Reading.
Three Teams Rooting for us
The four teams representing the North Division in the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs know who they are, but they don't know what order they will finish. The Nailers have an opportunity to help three of the four clubs on Wednesday, if they are able to skate past the Beast. Thanks to a 4-1 victory on Tuesday night, the Adirondack Thunder are on the verge of winning the North Division, needing either a win or a Brampton regulation loss to capture the crown. Thus, a Wheeling triumph on Wednesday would set off a party in Glens Falls, New York. The Manchester Monarchs and Reading Royals will also have an eye on the scoreboard, as the Monarchs trail the Beast by one point, and the Royals are two points behind, as those three squads battle for home ice advantage in the opening round. Reading has three games remaining - all against the Norfolk Admirals (1 home, 2 away), and Manchester will travel to Brampton for two games over the weekend. 13 of 16 playoff teams have been accounted for, with two open slots in the South Division and one in the Mountain Division.
Double Dose of David
Two of the most dangerous offensive weapons this season have been their dynamic duo of David's - Vallorani and Pacan, who rank third and fourth respectively in the ECHL in scoring. Last week, Pacan made a serious climb up the ladder, as he dished out three assists in a 4-3 loss at Wheeling on Friday, then figured into the scoring of all five markers on Saturday in Reading, tallying four goals and one assist, giving him eight points in two matches. A pointless affair in Cincinnati on Wednesday was likely the only thing that prevented him from earning ECHL Player of the Week honors, as Florida's Brendan O'Donnell edged him out, 9-8 in points. The four-goal performance on Saturday made him the first player in the ECHL to find the back of the net 40 times this season, while his point total currently sits at 79. Vallorani had a somewhat quiet week for his standards, notching two points in three games, but still tops the Beast with 80 on the season. On the Nailers side, Daniel Leavens has caught fire as of late, scoring three times in his last two games, and four times in four games overall, since turning pro.
The 11th and Deciding Match
Wednesday night marks the 11th and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Beast this season, as well as the fifth and final battle at Powerade Centre. Wheeling evened the season series at five wins each on Friday, when it defeated Brampton 4-3 at WesBanco Arena. Home ice has been a key aspect of the set, as the Nailers went 4-1-1 in West Virginia, while Brampton has won three straight in Ontario after dropping the opening tilt in the province. Each team has had two separate two-game winning streaks, with Wheeling in search of the first three-game run of the year. The first ten clashes have seen 71 goals scored, for an average of 7.1 per game. Cody Wydo has scored seven of the 71 to lead the Nailers, while the leading goal scorer for the Beast is David Vallorani, who has six. Vallorani's 14 points are the most between the clubs. Sean Maguire and Zachary Fucale have both backstopped three victories. Since Brampton joined the ECHL in 2014, Wheeling has won both season series, and will be aiming to make that three in a row.