(20-15-3-0, 43 PTS, 3rd North, 5th East)
137 GF, 124 GA
PP: 21.7% (34-for-157), 1st
PK: 81.2% (125-for-154), 22nd
21-F-Cam Brown (10 goals, 27 assists, 37 points in 38 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (15 goals, 20 assists, 35 points in 35 games)
24-F-Reid Gardiner (16 goals, 14 assists, 30 points in 33 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (4 goals, 23 assists, 27 points in 36 games)
14-F-Riley Bourbonnais (12 goals, 12 assists, 24 points in 35 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (4 goals, 13 assists, 17 points in 25 games)
1-G-Will King (5-3-1 record, 3.01 GAA, .910 Sv% in 10 games)
(13-18-4-1, 31 PTS, 6th South, 12th East)
110 GF, 140 GA
PP: 17.5% (29-for-166), 16th
PK: 84.9% (129-for-152), 8th
7-F-Brodie Dupont (12 goals, 26 assists, 38 points in 36 games)
12-F-Grant Besse (14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points 32 games)
14-F-Darik Angeli (13 goals, 13 assists, 26 points in 31 games)
25-D-TJ Melancon (6 goals, 13 assists, 19 points in 31 games)
4-D-Michael Young (5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points in 33 games)
8-F-Domenic Alberga (6 goals, 9 assists, 15 points in 36 games)
33-G-Ty Reichenbach (9-9-2 record, 3.31 GAA, .913 Sv% in 21 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 3, Admirals 2
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 2, Admirals 0
All-Time Series: Nailers 6, Admirals 5
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 3, Admirals 1
Working Overtime for the Win
The Wheeling Nailers rallied back for an impressive win on Friday night at WesBanco Arena, as they leaped into third place in the North Division. Wheeling fell behind 3-0 in the opening 21 minutes of the contest, before using special teams to spark the comeback. A successful penalty kill was followed by a power play goal, as Garrett Meurs put the home team on the board with a laser from the top of the left circle. With 6:31 left in the second period, Zach Tolkinen trimmed the deficit to one, spinning in a shot as he drifted back in the offensive zone. Cam Brown forced overtime with 7:55 remaining, finishing off a passing play with Meurs for a 3-3 deadlock. At the 2:19 mark of the extra session, the Nailers skated away with the bonus point, as Riley Bourbonnais backhanded the puck through Jamie Murray's legs for the winner. Will King picked up the win in relief for Wheeling, stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced in 61:02 of action.
Early Birds Didn't Catch the Worm
The Norfolk Admirals had a couple of great starts to periods on Friday night, and although they picked up one point in the standings, the rest of the contest belonged to the Nailers. After giving up a goal in the first minute on Wednesday at Atlanta, the Admirals netted the first goal on Friday, doing so just 41 seconds after the opening face-off. Christian Horn backhanded a shot on net, which was stopped, but the rebound was sifted through by Brodie Dupont. 36 seconds later, Norfolk chased Wheeling starting goaltender Colin Stevens, as Domenic Alberga tossed in a shot from the slot. The mid-game goalie change was the third of the season by the Nailers. Darik Angeli's 13th tally of the campaign made the score 3-0 at the one-minute mark of the second period, before Wheeling rallied back to outscore the Admirals, 4-0, while outshooting them 33-14 over the course of the final 39 minutes of regulation, plus the 2:19 played in overtime.
That's How You Celebrate a Birthday
Garrett Meurs turned 25 years old on Friday, and of all of the birthdays he's had, this year will probably rank right up there as one of the most memorable ones. The birthday didn't have the most pleasant of starts, as the Nailers trailed 3-0, and he was also given a minor penalty. However, Meurs took matters upon himself, rocketing in Wheeling's first goal of the night at the 6:31 mark of the second period. Later in the frame, Garrett got on the scoresheet again, as he tapped a pass back to Zach Tolkinen for goal number two. The Ripley, Ontario native was far from finished, as his helper led to Cam Brown's tying strike, and he also forced the steal and made the pass to Riley Bourbonnais for the game winner, giving him a four-point night, with one goal and three assists. The four-point game was Meurs' second of the season, as he also had four points on October 14th against Greenville. Wheeling players have scored four points in a game six times this season, with three of those occurring in the last two weeks.
No Lead is Safe for the Visitors
A four-game homestand concludes on Saturday night for the Nailers, who are looking to improve to 5-0-0 at WesBanco Arena in the month of January. Wheeling has trailed in three of its four victories to start the month, going on some huge offensive surges. On January 5th, the Manchester Monarchs got on the board first, before a run of six goals in a row led the way to a 7-4 Nailers triumph. Two days later, the Fort Wayne Komets took a 2-0 lead, before Wheeling stormed back with four straight strikes in a 4-2 win. Finally, on Friday, the Nailers earned their first victory of the year when trailing by three, as they erased a 3-0 deficit to down the Norfolk Admirals, 4-3. Wheeling now has ten comeback wins this season, erasing multiple-goal deficits in four of them. The Nailers are 12-6-1 on home ice, giving them the third highest win total at home in the Eastern Conference.
Setting Sail After Saturday
Saturday night marks the sixth and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Admirals this season, as well as the third and final battle at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling has a chance to win the season series for the second year in a row, thanks to Friday's 4-3 overtime victory, which gave the Nailers a 3-2 advantage. So far, Wheeling has been the only team to win on enemy ice, as the Nailers crushed the Admirals, 6-2 at Norfolk Scope on November 17th. The remaining four contests have all been decided in favor of the home squads. With his four-point night on Friday, Garrett Meurs has created the most rough water for the Admirals, as he has racked up five goals, five assists, and ten points in the five tilts. Brodie Dupont scored a goal on Friday for Norfolk, as he leads his team with eight points. This is the second season series to come to an end for Wheeling, with both coming against South Division clubs.