(17-15-3-0, 37 PTS, 4th North, T-6th East)
123 GF, 116 GA
PP: 21.9% (32-for-146), 1st
PK: 80.6% (116-for-144), 23rd
21-F-Cam Brown (7 goals, 26 assists, 33 points in 35 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (13 goals, 16 assists, 29 points in 32 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (4 goals, 21 assists, 25 points in 33 games)
14-F-Riley Bourbonnais (10 goals, 10 assists, 20 points in 32 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points in 22 games)
10-F-Troy Josephs (5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points in 14 games)
29-G-Adam Morrison (3-7-0 record, 3.14 GAA, .899 Sv% in 10 games)
FORT WAYNE KOMETS
(21-10-2-0, 44 PTS, 2nd Central, T-4th West)
132 GF, 97 GA
PP: 18.9% (20-for-106), 10th
PK: 84.7% (116-for-137), 8th
27-F-Shawn Szydlowski (18 goals, 21 assists, 39 points in 29 games)
48-F-Garrett Thompson (15 goals, 20 assists, 35 points in 33 games)
14-F-Gabriel Desjardins (13 goals, 16 assists, 29 points in 24 games)
13-F-Artur Tyanulin (9 goals, 14 assists, 23 points in 18 games)
9-F-Mason Baptista (9 goals, 14 assists, 23 points in 28 games)
4-D-Jason Binkley (3 goals, 18 assists, 21 points in 32 games)
60-G-Garrett Bartus (6-2-0 record, 2.61 GAA, .903 Sv% in 10 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Komets 2, Nailers 0
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Komets 1, Nailers 0
All-Time Series: Komets 10, Nailers 8
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 4, Komets 3
Home Crowd Advantage
The Wheeling Nailers continued their busy stretch of games with their second road game of the week on Saturday, as they made their final trip of the season to US Bank Arena, where they clashed with the Cincinnati Cyclones. After a scoreless first period, Cam Brown gave Wheeling the first lead of the night, breaking through at the 51-second mark of the middle frame. The Cyclones responded, and went on to take the lead later in the stanza, thanks to a pair of power play tallies. The first came off of a left circle wrist shot by Shawn O'Donnell, and the second was a rebound goal by Justin Danforth. Brandon McNally upped the Cincinnati advantage in the third period, and was joined by Danforth, who potted his second of the night and 20th of the season. Jaynen Rissling brought the Nailers within two, as the final score was 4-2 for the Cyclones. Jonas Johansson made 31 saves in the win, defeating Colin Stevens, who stopped 32 shots, before giving way to Will King, who finished with five saves.
One for the Underdogs
Since the Indy Fuel joined the ECHL in 2014, they have taken a back seat to the Fort Wayne Komets when it comes to success for the teams from Indiana. Prior to Saturday night, the Komets had won 27 of the 35 all-time meetings, while posting a 14-0-3 record at home. That middle number is now a one, as the Fuel have finally won in regulation at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Daniel Maggio gave the Komets an early lead on Saturday, as they were looking to build off of a 6-4 triumph at Indy on Friday. However, with 1:40 remaining in the second period, Cam Reid knotted the score for the Fuel. Then, just 24 seconds into the third frame, Garrett Clarke's first tally of the campaign put the visitors ahead. ECHL All-Star Etienne Marcoux lived up to the billing, stopping 35 of the 36 shots he faced to earn the victory between the pipes, barely getting the better of Michael Houser, who made 36 saves on 38 shots for Fort Wayne.
The Importance of Four
4-2 was the final score of Saturday night's game, and while that may seem like a typical hockey score, four goals has had a drastic effect on the season for the Nailers when it comes to wins and losses. Wheeling has scored four or more goals on 18 occasions, and in those contests, has had tremendous success, posting a record of 16-2-0. A quick glance at the team's overall mark will tell you that the number goes in the opposite direction when the Nailers score three goals or fewer, which they have done 17 times, accounting for a 1-12-3 record. The stats have a bit more balance when concerning opposing teams. When the opposition is held to three goals or less, which has happened on 19 occasions, Wheeling is 11-6-2. When the opposition scores four goals or more, the Nailers are 6-9-1.
That's a New Record
When the Nailers arrived in Cincinnati on Saturday, they were greeted by quite the crowd, as 14,025 fans attended the game between the Nailers and Cyclones at US Bank Arena. In 26 years as an ECHL team, Wheeling has never seen a crowd larger than the one it played against on Saturday. In fact, that attendance was the tenth largest for a regular season game in the 30-year history of the league. Cincinnati holds two of the top ten crowds in ECHL history, setting its team record in 2016 with a draw of 16,529 in a game against the Indy Fuel. The league record for the most fans at one game was set by Greensboro in 1994, who welcomed a crowd of 20,911 through the doors for a match against Charlotte. The best attendance for a game at WesBanco Arena (then the Wheeling Civic Center) was 6,656 on March 19, 1995 for a tilt between the Wheeling Thunderbirds and Dayton Bombers.
Third Time is the Charm
Sunday afternoon marks the third of six head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Komets this season, as well as the second of four battles at WesBanco Arena. Fort Wayne came out on top in both matches played during December, as they won 3-2 in Wheeling on the 3rd, before grabbing a 5-2 triumph at home on the 29th. Of the three divisions that are on the 2017-18 schedule, the Central Division is the one that has given the Nailers the most trouble, as they enter Sunday with a 5-8-1 record against that group of teams. Wheeling will be looking to turn things around specifically against the Komets, who have won seven of the last eight tilts, dating back to the 2015-16 season. The Nailers lone victory during that time was a 6-5 result at home last December. Shawn Szydlowski has been the top performer in the first two games this year, accumulating four points.