(33-25-8-1, 75 PTS, 4th North, 6th East)
227 GF, 224 GA
PP: 19.5% (52-for-267), 4th
PK: 80.7% (213-for-264), 21st
11-F-Cody Wydo (26 goals, 30 assists, 56 points in 53 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (7 goals, 45 assists, 52 points in 64 games)
24-F-Reid Gardiner (27 goals, 24 assists, 51 points in 53 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (21 goals, 28 assists, 49 points in 56 games)
21-F-Cam Brown (14 goals, 31 assists, 45 points in 50 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (8 goals, 21 assists, 29 points in 42 games)
29-G-Adam Morrison (16-12-2 record, 3.09 GAA, .907 Sv% in 32 games)
(36-27-3-0, 75 PTS, 3rd Central, 5th West)
205 GF, 199 GA
PP: 20.4% (52-for-255), 2nd
PK: 76.4% (165-for-216), 27th
12-F-Jesse Schultz (18 goals, 53 assists, 71 points in 66 games)
5-D-Eric Knodel (13 goals, 32 assists, 45 points in 52 games)
16-F-Shawn O'Donnell (17 goals, 24 assists, 41 points in 40 games)
74-F-Brandon McNally (14 goals, 27 assists, 41 points in 65 games)
85-F-Daniel Muzito-Bagenda (15 goals, 25 assists, 40 points in 41 games)
15-F-Justin Vaive (28 goals, 10 assists, 38 points in 44 games)
33-G-Jason Kasdorf (12-11-1 record, 3.04 GAA, .902 Sv% in 27 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Cyclones 4, Nailers 1
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Cyclones 2, Nailers 1
All-Time Series: Cyclones 63, Nailers 61
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 33, Cyclones 28
Keeping on Chipping Away
The Wheeling Nailers moved three points closer to locking up a spot in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, as they picked up one point with an overtime loss on Saturday night, while the Worcester Railers came away completely empty-handed, as they were blanked 3-0 by the Reading Royals. Wheeling surrendered an early goal to the Cincinnati Cyclones in its game on Saturday, but answered back in the opening minute of the second period. Kevin Schulze worked the puck to Cam Brown, who roofed a wrist shot from the right circle on the man advantage. The Nailers then took the lead at the 13:34 mark of the third period. Freddie Tiffels spotted Nick Sorkin exiting the penalty box, and Sorkin proceeded to float a perfect pass to Chris Francis, who tipped the puck out of the air for his third point of the weekend. Unfortunately, Wheeling ended up on the short end of the 3-2 final score, as Cincinnati prevailed in the extra session. The Nailers' magic number is now nine points.
Important Points for Them, too
The Cincinnati Cyclones are in similar position to Wheeling, as they enter Tuesday with a five-point lead over the Kalamazoo Wings and Kansas City Mavericks, who are tied for fourth place in the Central Division. Cincinnati ended a five-game skid on Saturday night, while evening its season record away from US Bank Arena. Chris Leone got the game off to a fast start for the Cyclones, as he needed just 2:17 to open the scoring with a shot from the top of the left circle. After a pair of goals by the Nailers, Cincinnati found itself in a similar position to its game on Friday, as it surrendered a go-ahead goal to the opposition in the third period. However, with 4:11 left in regulation, Vasili Glotov squeezed in a shot from the bottom of the right circle, guaranteeing each side at least one point. The bonus point went to the Cyclones, as Brandon McNally finished off a 2-on-1 break with Mike Barrett at the 2:02 mark of overtime.
Playoff Intensity in One-Goal Games
While playoff hockey is still approximately two weeks away, the last month has definitely had a postseason feel for the Nailers. Eight of Wheeling's last 13 games have been decided by one goal, and seven of the eight have needed extra hockey to determine a winner. The Nailers have posted a 5-3-5 record during that stretch, which also featured 11 games against divisional opponents. On Friday night against Brampton, Wheeling earned its fifth one-goal triumph in regulation, taking a 4-3 decision into the win column. The Nailers have earned at least one point in each of their last four games, meaning they can tie their season high by earning at least one point on Tuesday. That feat was previously accomplished in the first five contests of the campaign. Wheeling is 4-1-1 at home in March.
One Month Makes a Big Difference
This game was originally scheduled to be played on February 17th, but flooding around WesBanco Arena forced the game to be moved to a different date. The new date presents a big opportunity for the Nailers, who will ice a significantly different lineup than the one that took the ice on February 18th in Reading. Seven of the 15 skaters who suited up against the Royals are currently on the active roster, and players who are here now, but were missing then include Cam Brown, Chris Francis, Reid Gardiner, Troy Josephs, Kevin Schulze, Freddie Tiffels, and a few others. Cincinnati also had some key pieces missing had the game been played on its original date, as Justin Vaive, Shawn O'Donnell, and Brycen Martin were all out of the lineup in Reading on February 16th. Wheeling has won its last three make-up games, beating Brampton twice and Elmira once, dating back to 2014-15.
Last Time in Opposite Conferences
Tuesday night marks the sixth and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Cyclones this season, as well as the fourth battle at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling and Cincinnati saw each other a bit this year, but things will get even more competitive in 2018-19, when the two clubs will both play out of the Central Division. The Cyclones have gotten the upper hand in this season's series, winning four of the first five clashes, including both overtime tilts in West Virginia. While the Nailers have had great success against teams like Reading in overtime, Cincinnati has been a thorn in Wheeling's side, taking eight of nine historical decisions in the five-minute sudden death frame. Cam Brown's goal on Saturday gave him eight points, as he leads all players in scoring, while Eric Knodel tops the Cyclones with seven points. Both teams enter the match with 75 points on the season.