(29-25-6-0, 64 PTS, 5th North, 10th East)
200 GF, 194 GA
PP: 20.0% (56-for-280), 8th
PK: 75.8% (182-for-240), 27th
26-D-Kevin Schulze (10 goals, 41 assists, 51 points in 56 games)
11-F-Cody Wydo (26 goals, 21 assists, 47 points in 59 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (21 goals, 22 assists, 43 points in 59 games)
17-F-Jordan Kwas (19 goals, 24 assists, 43 points in 56 games)
14-F-Tyler Currier (15 goals, 24 assists, 39 points in 61 games)
9-F-Christian Hilbrich (13 goals, 24 assists, 37 points in 53 games)
29-G-Sean Maguire (10-13-3 record, 3.23 GAA, .895 Sv% in 27 games)
(14-39-7-1, 36 PTS, 5th North, 13th East)
140 GF, 230 GA
PP: 15.3% (31-for-202), 20th
PK: 81.5% (189-for-232), 19th
10-F-Sebastien Sylvestre (18 goals, 24 assists, 42 points in 56 games)
11-F-Sam Povorozniouk (15 goals, 21 assists, 36 points in 51 games)
20-F-Kenton Miller (22 goals, 11 assists, 33 points in 60 games)
55-D-Davis Vandane (7 goals, 18 assists, 25 points in 57 games)
15-F-Nathan Moon (9 goals, 14 assists, 23 points in 48 games)
44-F-Casey Thrush (6 goals, 17 assists, 23 points in 49 games)
31-G-Jason Kasdorf (4-15-1 record, 4.07 GAA, .877 Sv% in 23 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 1, Jackals 0
2015-16 Season Series at First Arena: Nailers 2, Jackals 1
All-Time Series: Nailers 46, Jackals 46
All-Time Series at First Arena: Jackals 28, Nailers 19
Toledo Takes it
The Wheeling Nailers entered Sunday's game with an opportunity to tie the season series against the team with the best record in the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye. Wheeling rallied back from a pair of deficits, as the Walleye had strong starts to each of the first two periods. Zach Nastasiuk scored 28 seconds into the contest, and Tylor Spink lit the lamp at the 1:10 mark of the middle frame. Tyler Currier put the Nailers on the scoreboard at the 5:59 mark of period two, drilling home a one-timer from the left side of the slot. Kevin Schulze then knotted the score at two, lifting in a shot from the left circle. Shane Berschbach converted a breakaway in the last minute of the second for Toledo, before Wheeling answered with Gage Quinney's strike 47 seconds into the third. However, the rest of the final stanza belonged to the Walleye, who rattled off three straight goals from Jordan Hill, Nastasiuk, and Alden Hirschfeld to prevail, 6-3. Jeff Lerg made 30 saves in the win, defeating Sean Maguire, who came up with 18 stops.
The Damage was Done Early
The Elmira Jackals saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday night, when they took on a team that had their number this season, the Reading Royals. Reading began its ninth win in ten tries against Elmira with Justin Crandall's opening goal at the 5:09 mark of the first period. Kyle Rankin answered 1:49 later for the Jackals, but that turned out to be the lone celebration for the home squad. Matt Salhany and Florian Iberer lit the lamp 52 seconds apart from each other, as the opening stanza continued, with the Royals building up a 3-1 advantage. The final goal of the evening was of the shorthanded variety, and it came off of Robbie Czarnik's stick with 10:34 left in the second period. Elmira outshot Reading 12-7 in the third period, but the damage was done, and the Royals took the 4-1 win. Martin Ouellette made 26 saves, defeating Jason Kasdorf, who turned away 23 shots.
First One to 50
There was more excitement behind Kevin Schulze's second period goal on Sunday than just a tied score, as the tally was his tenth of the season, as well as his 50th point of the campaign. Schulze added an assist on Gage Quinney's third period marker, upping his total to 51 points in 56 games. In doing so, Kevin became the first rookie defenseman in the 25-year history of hockey in Wheeling to reach the 50-point plateau, and the sixth blueliner to achieve the feat all-time. Mathew Maione became the fifth player on that elusive list last season, when he accumulated 54 points in 70 contests (44 with the Nailers, 10 with the Beast). With 12 games remaining in the regular season, Schulze could very well beat that mark, and has a chance to finish as high as third in the race for the most points by a Wheeling defenseman in a single season. Four other players on the current roster have reached 40 points, including Cody Wydo, who is four goals away from becoming the squad's first 30-goal scorer since Thomas Beauregard in 2009-10.
Not Going Away Quietly
2016-17 has been a frustrating season in lots of ways for the Jackals, who will turn out the lights for the final time at year's end. Despite that news and being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, Elmira hasn't thrown in the towel, and enters the week with a winning record (5-3-1) in its last nine games. From March 4th-9th, the Jackals posted their first three-game winning streak of the campaign, knocking off the Norfolk Admirals once in Virginia and twice in New York. Three days prior, the Manchester Monarchs were the victims of a 2-1 score at First Arena, marking the fourth time that Elmira has defeated Manchester this year. The other victory came against the South Division leading Florida Everblades, whom the Jackals went 1-0-1 against in a two-game set at home. Ten of Elmira's 14 wins have occurred on home ice, while nine of the 14 have come against teams currently occupying a playoff spot. This is the fourth of nine straight home tilts for the Jackals.
Two Games to Decide History
Wednesday night marks the second of three head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Jackals, as well as the first of two battles at First Arena. With Elmira closing out its ECHL history at the end of the season, the all-time series will come down to this week's games. The Nailers and Jackals have both recorded 46 wins against each other in 92 contests. Home ice has been the key to the majority of the success, as Elmira has won 28 times in the Empire State, while Wheeling has been victorious 27 times in the Friendly City. However, the script changed a bit last season, as the road teams were 5-0-1. The lone prior tilt of this season took place on New Year's Eve. The Nailers fell behind 1-0, before rattling off four consecutive tallies in the second period. The final score ended up 5-2 in Wheeling's favor. Kevin Schulze and Sebastien Sylvestre both dented the twine twice, while Gage Quinney dished out three assists, and Sean Maguire defeated Jason Kasdorf in net. Both teams will be in action again before Sunday's rematch.