(12-7-2-0, 26 PTS, T-1st North, T-2nd East)
83 GF, 72 GA
PP: 25.5% (25-for-98), 1st
PK: 77.6% (76-for-98), 25th
11-F-Cody Wydo (12 goals, 15 assists, 27 points in 20 games)
24-F-Reid Gardiner (11 goals, 13 assists, 24 points in 21 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (12 goals, 11 assists, 23 points in 19 games)
11-F-Cam Brown (3 goals, 18 assists, 21 points in 21 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (3 goals, 16 assists, 19 points in 21 games)
5-D-Danny Fick (7 assists, 7 points in 21 games)
29-G-Adam Morrison (0-3-0 record, 3.74 GAA, .872 Sv% in 3 games)
(11-7-2-0, 24 PTS, T-3rd North, T-6th East)
67 GF, 58 GA
PP: 14.6% (12-for-82), 20th
PK: 83.8% (57-for-68), 11th
90-F-Matt Willows (7 goals, 13 assists, 20 points in 20 games)
19-F-Alex Krushelnyski (9 goals, 10 assists, 19 points in 16 games)
27-F-Mark Naclerio (9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points in 20 games)
9-F-Ryan Penny (7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points in 20 games)
8-D-Nolan Zajac (4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points in 20 games)
14-F-Adam Schmidt (3 goals, 10 assists, 13 points in 18 games)
31-G-Mark Dekanich (5-4-1 record, 3.31 GAA, .890 Sv% in 10 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 2, Royals 2
Season Series at Santander Arena: Nailers 1, Royals 1
All-Time Series: Royals 91, Nailers 74
All-Time Series at Santander Arena: Royals 50, Nailers 33
Don't Blink, You Could Miss One
The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets played a back-and-forth game at WesBanco Arena on Sunday afternoon, which saw each team answer a goal by the opposition in less than 30 seconds. The Nailers netted the first goal of the afternoon, when Cody Wydo deposited a shot from the left side of the low slot. Fort Wayne's answer came 12 seconds later, when Shawn Szydlowski finished off his own rebound. In the second period, the Komets went ahead, as Garrett Thompson converted on a 2-on-1 rush with Szydlowski. But back came Wheeling 25 seconds after that, as Cam Brown setup Dan Milan for his third goal of the season and first against his former team. Fort Wayne ended up getting the final say with 6:46 left in the middle frame, as Thompson potted his second of the contest for a 3-2 final. Michael Houser made 40 saves in the win for the Komets, while Adam Morrison stopped 31 shots for the Nailers.
We Liked Their Last Game
The Reading Royals will be in action for the first time since Saturday night, which was a game that ended in thrilling fashion for the host Nailers at WesBanco Arena. Both squads had a player with two goals, as Mark Naclerio collected a pair for the Royals, while Zach Tolkinen lit the lamp twice for the Nailers. Reading's only lead of the contest came from Alex Krushelnyski's opening strike, although the Royals were able to erase a 4-2 lead in the third period, forcing overtime with a 4-4 deadlock. In the extra session, Wheeling grabbed the bonus point, as Garrett Meurs intercepted a pass and beat goaltender Mark Dekanich on his stick side. Will King made 39 saves to earn his second win with the Nailers. Although Saturday's tilt took place in West Virginia, Reading is in the midst of playing four straight home games against Wheeling.
Bringing Out the Nasty Side
With 230 penalty minutes thus far this season, the Royals have been one of the better behaved teams in the ECHL, as only the Quad City Mallards (172) enter the week with less time spent in the sin bin. On Saturday night, the Nailers managed to crawl under Reading's skin, as a pair of fights took place, and one exchange saw 36 penalty minutes get handed out. The fighting majors were the fourth and fifth of the year for the Royals - three of which have been obtained by Loic Leduc, who will miss Wednesday's game as part of a three-game suspension. Wheeling is tied for seventh in the league with 15 fighting majors, led by Jeremy Beirnes, who has thrown down four times thus far. The Nailers will be without two players on Wednesday, as Garrett Meurs serves the final game of his two-game suspension, while Jeff Taylor serves the second game of his five-game suspension.
Wheeling Brings New Style for Milan
Dan Milan netted his third goal of the season in Sunday's game against the Fort Wayne Komets, which despite being just 21 games into the campaign, already gives him a career high in that category. Throughout his six-year professional career, Milan has primarily been utilized as a defensive defenseman, with his highest point total being 17 (16 of those were assists) in 2014-15 with the Wichita Thunder. In addition to his rising goal total, the Detroit, Michigan native has remained difficult to play against in his own zone, as his +7 rating is tops among blueliners with the Nailers, and third overall on the team, behind Garrett Meurs (+11) and Cody Wydo (+8). Milan is joined by Zach Tolkinen, Jeff Taylor, and Dylan Zink as active Wheeling defensemen with multiple goals this season, while Kevin Schulze is the leader among the group with eight points.
Half Way Through the Stretch
Wednesday night marks the fifth of 11 head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Royals this season, as well as the third of six battles at Santander Arena. Wheeling and Reading cross the midway mark of a busy stretch against each other, as Wednesday will be the fourth of six games during a 21-day period. The two rivals have alternated wins and losses in their first four contests of the season series, as the Royals won the first and third games, while the Nailers took games two and four. Both clubs have a regulation win on the road and an overtime win at home, and three of the four matches have been decided by one goal, with the exception being Wheeling's 5-1 win at Reading on November 26th. Hunter Fejes and Mark Naclerio are the two top scorers in the set, as they lead their respective squads with six points each. The final two clashes in December will be played in Pennsylvania on the 15th and 16th.