(4-1-2-0, 10 PTS, 2nd North, 3rd East)
30 GF, 28 GA
PP: 36.1% (13-for-36), 1st
PK: 67.7% (21-for-31), 27th
21-F-Cam Brown (1 goal, 10 assists, 11 points in 7 games)
24-F-Reid Gardiner (6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points in 7 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points in 7 games)
11-F-Cody Wydo (2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points in 7 games)
17-F-Kenny Ryan (6 goals, 2 assists, 8 points in 7 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (4 assists, 4 points in 7 games)
31-G-Sean Maguire (2-1-0 record, 4.99 GAA, .887 Sv% in 4 games)
(2-3-1-1, 6 PTS, 6th Central, 12th West)
20 GF, 23 GA
PP: 25.0% (9-for-36), 4th
PK: 89.3% (25-for-28), 8th
43-F-Cam Reid (2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points in 7 games)
23-F-Nick Bligh (3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points in 7 games)
10-F-Alex Wideman (3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points in 7 games)
22-F-Ryan Rupert (1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points in 7 games)
20-F-Matt Rupert (3 goals, 3 points in 7 games)
5-D-Robin Press (3 assists, 3 points in 5 games)
1-G-Etienne Marcoux (0-0-1 record, 2.77 GAA, .936 Sv% in 1 game)
Head to Head
2016-17 Season Series: Nailers 1, Fuel 1
2016-17 Season Series at Indiana Farmers Coliseum: Nailers 1, Fuel 1
All-Time Series: Fuel 5, Nailers 4
All-Time Series at Indiana Farmers Coliseum: Nailers 3, Fuel 3
Three Rallies to Earn a Point
The Wheeling Nailers battled back from three separate one-goal deficits, as they collected one point in Friday night's home game against the Cincinnati Cyclones. The first Wheeling tally came at the 9:25 mark of the opening stanza. Cam Brown centered the puck to Kenny Ryan, who buried a one-timer from the slot. The lone goal in the middle frame took place during a power play, as Brown teed up Derek Army, who powered in a slap shot from the right circle, sending the contest into the intermission deadlocked, 2-2. Wheeling ended up forcing overtime with 2:26 left in regulation, when Cody Wydo raked a puck free for Reid Gardiner, who potted the equalizer. Unfortunately, the Cyclones went ahead one last time, and that was on Jesse Schultz's marker at 1:57 of overtime for a 4-3 final score. Jason Kasdorf made 24 saves in the win, while Will King took the overtime loss, making 18 saves on 20 shots, after taking over in the first period.
Mallards Make Shootout Count
The Indy Fuel are also coming off of a loss after regulation, as they fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Quad City Mallards on Friday night at TaxSlayer Center. Both teams lit the lamp in the first period, with Nick Bligh answering Sam Warning's opening strike during the opening five minutes of play. After falling behind 2-1, the Fuel lit the lamp twice during the last two minutes of the middle stanza, carrying a 3-2 lead into the intermission. Matt Rupert scored the tying marker, with an assist from his twin brother Ryan, and Cam Reid put Indy in the lead for the first time on the night. Quad City pulled even with 13:32 to go in the third period, sending the tilt to bonus time. Overtime didn't settle anything, despite a power play for the Mallards. However, Quad City took full advantage in the shootout, scoring on both attempts against Etienne Marcoux, while Ivan Kulbakov denied both shooters for the Fuel.
Central Region Deserted at the Start
Once Saturday's game is played, the Nailers will have spent 75% of 2017-18 season away from WesBanco Arena, as they take the ice for their sixth road tilt and eighth game overall. Wheeling has gone 3-1-1 on enemy ice, while posting a 1-0-1 mark in West Virginia. Road games seem to be the trend for teams in their region of the country. Saturday night will be just the second home game of the year for the Fuel, who played their home opener on the same night as the Nailers, winning a shootout 3-2 over the Tulsa Oilers. Friday's opponent, the Cincinnati Cyclones, have also played only once on home ice, as have the Kansas City Mavericks, South Carolina Stingrays, and Toledo Walleye. The Reading Royals finally played their first road game of the season on Friday, losing to the Worcester Railers. The Jacksonville IceMen will don their road sweaters for the first time on Saturday, while the Fort Wayne Komets finally travel on Sunday. Reading and Wichita were the last unbeaten teams in the ECHL until both suffered regulation losses on Friday. Jacksonville is the lone winless team remaining.
Four Jump into Double Digits
Six different players made their way onto the scoresheet for Wheeling on Friday night, and in doing so, four of the six made their way into double digits in points. Cam Brown currently leads the Nailers with 11 points on the season, and he had the primary assists on both of the first two goals against Cincinnati. Ten of Brown's 11 points have come via assists, and he leads the squad with four multi-point games. Next up in double digits was Reid Gardiner. Gardiner extended his goal streak to five games, when he dented the twine with 2:26 left, while extending his point streak to seven earlier in the contest. The other two players to collect their tenth points of the season were Cody Wydo and Nick Sorkin, who both assisted on Gardiner's marker. The Colorado Eagles are the only other ECHL team with four players in double digits in scoring.
Circle the Wagons in the Circle City
Saturday night marks the first of five head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Fuel this season, as well as the first of two battles at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Last year, the two clubs split a pair of contests, which were both played in Indy. The Fuel took the opener, 6-1 in the middle of November, before Wheeling grabbed a 3-2 overtime win on Cody Wydo's goal in early March. Indy is still in search of its first playoff berth in the ECHL, as it begins play in its fourth season. Despite those struggles, matches between the Nailers and Fuel have been close, as Indy holds a narrow 5-4 advantage all-time. Wheeling will return to Indianapolis on December 8th, before the Fuel come to WesBanco Arena on December 12th for their first appearance in that building since January 10, 2016. Eight of the first 11 duels will have been played in the Hoosier State. Garrett Meurs is the Nailer with the most experience against the Fuel, notching 14 points in 16 career games.