(31-25-6-0, 68 PTS, 5th North, 9th East)
210 GF, 200 GA
PP: 20.1% (58-for-288), 8th
PK: 75.6% (186-for-246), 27th
26-D-Kevin Schulze (10 goals, 42 assists, 52 points in 58 games)
11-F-Cody Wydo (28 goals, 22 assists, 50 points in 61 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (13 goals, 34 assists, 47 points in 49 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (21 goals, 24 assists, 45 points in 61 games)
17-F-Jordan Kwas (20 goals, 24 assists, 44 points in 58 games)
7-F-Gage Quinney (16 goals, 25 assists, 41 points in 38 games)
29-G-Sean Maguire (11-13-3 record, 3.18 GAA, .897 Sv% in 28 games)
(31-20-6-4, 72 PTS, 4th North, T-6th East)
220 GF, 199 GA
PP: 23.5% (59-for-251), 3rd
PK: 79.0% (166-for-210), 25th
16-F-Peter MacArthur (20 goals, 34 assists, 54 points in 56 games)
15-F-James Henry (18 goals, 26 assists, 44 points in 56 games)
5-D-Alex Wall (5 goals, 31 assists, 36 points in 57 games)
36-F-Dennis Kravchenko (14 goals, 21 assists, 35 points in 36 games)
22-F-Brian Ward (21 goals, 12 assists, 33 points in 38 games)
7-D-Stepan Falkovsky (21 goals, 11 assists, 32 points in 52 games)
1-G-JP Anderson (10-4-3 record, 2.74 GAA, .905 Sv% in 20 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 1, Thunder 0
Season Series at Glens Falls Civic Center: Nailers 1, Thunder 0
All-Time Series: Nailers 3, Thunder 1
All-Time Series at Glens Falls Civic Center: Nailers 3, Thunder 0
Statement Made Early
The Wheeling Nailers were on a mission on Friday night, and that mission was to defeat the Adirondack Thunder in regulation, as they continue to make their climb up the North Division Standings. Wheeling wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard, as Mattias Cleland batted a rebound out of the air and into the net just 1:07 into the contest. Gage Quinney added to the lead with 6:02 left in the first period, driving in a shot off of a drop pass by Christian Hilbrich. Less than a minute into the middle frame, Cody Wydo chased Adirondack goaltender Drew Fielding for a 3-0 advantage. The Thunder trimmed the margin down to two on a couple of occasions, but the Nailers built it back up to three both times. Riley Bourbonnais hammered home the first nail with 4:03 to go, then Wydo's second of the night put the finishing touches on the 5-2 Wheeling triumph. Sean Maguire made 32 saves to earn his 11th win of the year.
Some Sparks, but the Fire Stayed Away
The Adirondack Thunder found themselves playing from behind in quick fashion on Friday night, as they trailed the Nailers 2-0 after the opening stanza, then 3-0 at the 28-second mark of period two. At that time, the Thunder needed a change, and a swap was made in the crease, as Drew Fielding got pulled after allowing the three goals on ten shots. In his place came former Wheeling netminder JP Anderson. Adirondack ended up having a good second period, outshooting the Nailers 16-6, but only one of those attempts was able to solve Sean Maguire. That shot came from Brian Ward, who took a pass from Cullen Bradshaw, and converted from the left circle. The Thunder turned on the red light one more time in the final frame, as Alex Wall blasted home a slap shot from the blueline. However, a penalty, followed by an empty net goal by the Nailers prevented any chance of an Adirondack comeback.
Immediate Impact from the New Guys
With college and junior seasons winding down, new names and faces are beginning to make their way to the ECHL, and two of them have already made their debuts for the Nailers this week. On Wednesday night, Riley Bourbonnais wore the uniform for the first time, and while he was scoreless that night, the former RPI Engineer got to celebrate a milestone on Friday, as he netted his first professional goal, extending Wheeling's lead to 4-1. Matias Cleland found a more dramatic way to make his start in professional hockey, as he joined the Nailers for his pro debut on Friday. Cleland smacked in his first goal on what was credited as his first shot, during his first career shift, making him the second Wheeling player in as many years (Matt Tabrum in 2015-16) to accomplish that feat. Adirondack had one player debut on Friday - Calgary Flames draft pick Tim Harrison.
Two of the top power play producers in the ECHL will go head-to-head for the second night in a row, as Cody Wydo of the Nailers and Stepan Falkovsky of the Thunder are tied for the top spot in the league, having netted 14 power play goals each. Allen's Greger Hanson has also lit the lamp 14 times on the man advantage, creating a three-way deadlock for number one. Wydo's 14th power play strike came on Friday night, when he tossed in an empty netter for his team-leading 28th goal of the campaign. Nick Sorkin registered the lead assist, giving him 19 helpers and 24 points while his team is on the man advantage - both of which are tops on the club. Adirondack's leader in power play points is Peter MacArthur, who has 18 assists and 23 points. The first of Wydo's two markers on Friday also turned out to be the game winner, giving him six of those this year. Wheeling has scored at least one power play goal in 25 of its 31 victories.
Saturday night marks the second of two head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Thunder this season, as well as the second of two battles at Glens Falls Civic Center. Wheeling secured its third straight victory on the road against Adirondack on Friday, outscoring the Thunder 14-4 in those matches. The two road wins last year for the Nailers gave them the upper hand in the season series, as Adirondack won just once, and that was at WesBanco Arena in the first ever clash between the two squads. Wheeling never had the opportunity to face the Thunder when their team was based out of Stockton, California. Cody Wydo leads the Nailers with five career points against Adirondack. Alexandre Carrier is a former Thunder, Doug Carr played with the Adirondack Flames, and current Thunder netminder JP Anderson was with Wheeling for parts of two seasons.