(30-25-6-0, 66 PTS, 5th North, 10th East)
205 GF, 198 GA
PP: 20.0% (57-for-285), 8th
PK: 75.6% (183-for-242), 27th
26-D-Kevin Schulze (10 goals, 41 assists, 51 points in 57 games)
11-F-Cody Wydo (26 goals, 22 assists, 48 points in 60 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (13 goals, 33 assists, 46 points in 48 games)
17-F-Jordan Kwas (20 goals, 24 assists, 44 points in 57 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (21 goals, 22 assists, 43 points in 60 games)
7-F-Gage Quinney (15 goals, 25 assists, 40 points in 37 games)
29-G-Sean Maguire (10-13-3 record, 3.23 GAA, .895 Sv% in 27 games)
(31-19-6-4, 72 PTS, 4th North, 6th East)
218 GF, 194 GA
PP: 23.5% (58-for-247), 3rd
PK: 79.2% (164-for-207), 24th
16-F-Peter MacArthur (20 goals, 34 assists, 54 points in 55 games)
15-F-James Henry (18 goals, 25 assists, 43 points in 53 games)
5-D-Alex Wall (4 goals, 31 assists, 35 points in 56 games)
36-F-Dennis Kravchenko (14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points in 35 games)
7-D-Stepan Falkovsky (21 goals, 11 assists, 32 points in 51 games)
22-F-Brian Ward (20 goals, 12 assists, 32 points in 37 games)
30-G-Drew Fielding (8-5-1 record, 3.16 GAA, .888 Sv% in 15 games)
Head to Head
2015-16 Season Series: Nailers 2, Thunder 1
2015-16 Season Series at Glens Falls Civic Center: Nailers 2, Thunder 0
All-Time Series: Nailers 2, Thunder 1
All-Time Series at Glens Falls Civic Center: Nailers 2, Thunder 0
One Down, Three to Go
The Wheeling Nailers began their most important road trip of the season with a crucial 5-4 victory against the Elmira Jackals on Wednesday night, pulling to within six points of the final playoff spot in the North Division. Johnny Daniels opened the scoring for the Nailers with 1:28 left in the first period, but the visitors found themselves trailing 2-1 when the second period buzzer sounded. In the final stanza, Wheeling rallied to draw even twice, with Gage Quinney picking up both tying tallies. The second equalizer came with 4:26 remaining in regulation, and set off a three-goal run in 2:47 for the Nailers. Jordan Kwas gave Wheeling its second lead of the night at the 16:51 mark, and Quinney completed his hat trick with 1:39 on the clock. A late goal by the Jackals made the final score 5-4, meaning Quinney's last strike turned out to be the game winner. Doug Carr backstopped his 16th win of the season and eighth in his last 12 decisions, making 29 saves.
Last Goal Sort of Wins
The Adirondack Thunder were involved in the highest scoring game of the 2016-17 ECHL season on Sunday afternoon, when they welcomed the Brampton Beast to Glens Falls Civic Center. Despite allowing the first goal of the tilt, things were looking good early on for the Thunder, who busted out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, then added another insurance goal in the early stages of the middle frame. The teams proceeded to exchange markers in a span of 2:04, but Adirondack still maintained a three-goal advantage at 5-2. At that point, Brian Ward and James Henry had both found the back of the net twice, while Brock Montgomery also chipped in with a goal. That lead got erased in the second period, as the score was deadlocked 5-5 when it was time for intermission. The Beast continued to surge, pulling ahead twice in the third period, before finally salting away a 9-7 victory with an empty net tally. Ward completed his hat trick in the third period, and was joined in the goal column by Gunnar Hughes. Drew Fielding took the loss, giving up eight goals on 35 shots.
Hats Off for Another Trick
Hat tricks have become incredibly frequent occurrences for the Nailers this season, and on Wednesday night, another player added his name to the long list. For the second time in as many hat tricks, all three goals were scored in a single period, as Gage Quinney netted two tying goals and the game winner in Wheeling's 5-4 triumph over Elmira. Quinney became the sixth Nailer this season to light the lamp three times, joining Josh Shalla, Adam Krause, Christian Hilbrich, Cody Wydo, and Johnny Daniels. Daniels and Quinney snagged their tricks four days apart from each other, while Hilbrich, Wydo, and Quinney potted their three-goal games on January 15th, February 15th, and March 15th. The six hat tricks are the most for Wheeling in a single season since 2008-09, when that group sent hats flying onto the ice seven times. The team record is 14, which was done by the 1992-93 Thunderbirds. There have been nine total hat tricks in games involving the Nailers this season, and seven of those have been recorded in the last 27 games.
The Race is On
The battle for the playoffs will take center stage on Friday and Saturday night, as the Nailers look to tighten the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. With its win on Wednesday, Wheeling currently sits six points back of Adirondack, while the Thunder hold one game in hand. The North Division race is one of the closest ones in the ECHL, as Manchester is just one point ahead of Adirondack, Brampton is two points ahead of Manchester, and Reading leads the group by one point over Brampton. As the regular season ticks down towards its final ten games, all four divisions have at least one team within ten points of fourth place. The tightest gap between fourth and fifth place is in the South Division, where South Carolina is two points out of fourth, and three points back of third place. The Mountain Division is the only one with two teams on the outside by fewer than ten points, as Utah and Missouri look up at Alaska from four and five-point deficits respectively. Two teams have already punched their tickets for the Kelly Cup Playoffs - the Toledo Walleye and Fort Wayne Komets, who are both members of the Central Division.
We Finally Meet
Friday night marks the first of two head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Thunder this season, as well as the first of two battles at Glens Falls Civic Center. Due to a switch during the summer, Wheeling and Adirondack found themselves as divisional opponents, and the Thunder are the North Division foe that the Nailers will face the second fewest times in 2016-17. Last year, Adirondack came to the ECHL from the AHL, as three different organizations had their AHL and ECHL clubs flip cities, as part of a western movement in the American Hockey League. The Nailers and Thunder took the ice against each other three times in 2015-16, with the road team prevailing in each of the three tilts. Adirondack won the season series opener, 4-1 at WesBanco Arena, before Wheeling responded with 5-2 and 4-0 victories at Glens Falls Civic Center. Andrew Ammon, Jordan Kwas, and Cody Wydo are the only three players on the Nailers roster who played in the final game of last year's set, while Patch Alber, Dana Fraser, Gunnar Hughes, and Peter MacArthur are the four players that suited up for the Thunder 13 months ago.