(26-20-4-0, 56 PTS, 4th North, 6th East)
179 GF, 165 GA
PP: 20.8% (44-for-212), 2nd
PK: 80.1% (161-for-201), 22nd
11-F-Cody Wydo (20 goals, 27 assists, 47 points in 39 games)
21-F-Cam Brown (13 goals, 30 assists, 43 points in 45 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (6 goals, 34 assists, 40 points in 48 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (16 goals, 23 assists, 39 points in 43 games)
14-F-Riley Bourbonnais (14 goals, 12 assists, 26 points in 45 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (6 goals, 19 assists, 25 points in 37 games)
29-G-Adam Morrison (10-9-1 record, 3.04 GAA, .905 Sv% in 21 games)
ORLANDO SOLAR BEARS
(21-21-5-1, 48 PTS, 4th South, T-8th East)
143 GF, 163 GA
PP: 17.0% (39-for-230), 16th
PK: 82.9% (199-for-240), 13th
88-F-Joshua Winquist (17 goals, 27 assists, 44 points in 40 games)
23-F-Hunter Fejes (22 goals, 17 assists, 39 points in 47 games)
20-F-Max Novak (14 goals, 24 assists, 38 points in 45 games)
14-F-J.J. Piccinich (12 goals, 16 assists, 28 points in 45 games)
22-F-Martins Dzierkals (10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points in 28 games)
3-D-Mike Monfredo (3 goals, 13 assists, 16 points in 48 games)
30-G-Cal Heeter (12-10-4 record, 2.87 GAA, .907 Sv% in 29 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Solar Bears 1, Nailers 0
Season Series at Amway Center: Solar Bears 1, Nailers 0
All-Time Series: Solar Bears 9, Nailers 0
All-Time Series at Amway Center: Solar Bears 4, Nailers 0
One From Each Special Team
The Wheeling Nailers recorded a power play goal and a shorthanded goal on Friday night, but unfortunately, were unable to connect at even strength, as they fell to the Orlando Solar Bears, 5-2 at Amway Center. Wheeling erased a pair of one-goal deficits during the early stages of the second period, pulling even with the host squad. The first marker came on the power play. Dylan Zink ripped a shot wide of the left post, but the rebound came flying off the end boards and into the slot, where it was tapped into the cage by Freddie Tiffels. The shorthanded strike came less than three minutes later. Nick Sorkin pushed the puck forward to Cody Wydo, who breezed past the defense, then scored on a breakaway. Will King was pressed into the starting nod, and ended up with 29 saves on 34 shots.
Orlando Opens it Late in the Second
The Orlando Solar Bears improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven home games, thanks to Friday's 5-2 triumph against the Nailers. Orlando scored the lone goal of the opening stanza, when Darryl Bootland sent Joshua Winquist and Mike Monfredo on a 2-on-1 break, with Monfredo cashing in for the tally. After Wheeling pulled even, Joe Perry gave the Solar Bears the lead back, when he poked in the rebound of Alex Gudbranson's initial attempt. At the 8:26 mark of the second period, J.J. Piccinich put Orlando ahead for good, roofing home a shot from the left circle. The key goal in the contest came with 13 seconds left in the middle frame, as Piccinich tipped in Monfredo's wrister from the right circle. Max Novak tacked on one more goal in the third period, while Cal Heeter made 22 saves to collect the win in his return to the crease.
Wydo Reaches Double Digits Again
Cody Wydo became the second Nailer this season to reach 20 goals, as he netted goal number 20 during the second period of Friday's match. In doing so, Wydo also achieved a feat for the second time this year - tallying at least one point in ten consecutive contests. Cody began his ten-game point streak on January 20th, in his second game back after spending a couple of weeks with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Wheeling has had three separate ten-game point streaks this season, and could be in line for a fourth, as Reid Gardiner, who is currently with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, has produced at least one point in each of his last nine games with the Nailers. Gardiner was the other player in addition to Wydo, who was able to post at least one point in ten straight games earlier this season. The league's longest point streak of the year is 17 games by Greenville's Caleb Herbert, while the Nailers have the second longest goal streaks of the season (7), courtesy of Gardiner and Cam Brown.
Top of the Morning Standings
The puck will drop much earlier than usual on Sunday morning, as Wheeling and Orlando will take the ice for a 9:30 face-off at Amway Center. This will be the second of three morning games this season for the Nailers, who have two Education Day games on the schedule at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling was victorious in its first morning match, defeating the Adirondack Thunder, 6-4 on November 14th, erasing a 2-1 deficit with four straight strikes. That was the fourth straight morning win for the Nailers, dating back to the 2014-15 season - all of which have been played on home ice. The last time Wheeling played a morning game on the road was November 6th, 2013 - a 3-2 shootout defeat against the Kalamazoo Wings. The Solar Bears dropped their lone morning game of the season 4-3 in overtime to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on November 9th in the Sunshine State.
Defending the Den
Sunday morning's game marks the second of three head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Solar Bears this season, as well as the second of three battles at Amway Center. Friday's match ended a five-game run of contests played in Wheeling, as the Nailers made their first visit to Orlando since January of 2013. Unfortunately, luck has not been on Wheeling's side against the Solar Bears, as Orlando has won all nine clashes, with four of the victories taking place on home ice. The two squads were involved in a four-player trade earlier in the season, and three of those players appeared in Friday's game, as Hunter Fejes picked up an assist for the Solar Bears, while Michael Turner and Chris Francis were held off of the scoresheet for the Nailers. Francis never appeared in a game with Orlando, but he was sent to the Solar Bears by the Quad City Mallards, before being flipped to Wheeling. The three-game set concludes on Monday night.