(11-5-2-0, 24 PTS, T-1st North, T-2nd East)
73 GF, 61 GA
PP: 27.0% (24-for-89), 1st
PK: 77.8% (70-for-90), 25th
11-F-Cody Wydo (10 goals, 14 assists, 24 points in 17 games)
24-F-Reid Gardiner (11 goals, 11 assists, 22 points in 18 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (11 goals, 10 assists, 21 points in 17 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (3 goals, 15 assists, 18 points in 18 games)
21-F-Cam Brown (2 goals, 16 assists, 18 points in 18 games)
25-D-Jeff Taylor (2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points in 10 games)
29-G-Adam Morrison (0-1-0 record, 4.08 GAA, .833 Sv% in 1 game)
(10-7-1-0, 21 PTS, 3rd North, 7th East)
59 GF, 50 GA
PP: 13.0% (10-for-77), 22nd
PK: 83.6% (51-for-61), 13th
19-F-Alex Krushelnyski (7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points in 14 games)
27-F-Mark Naclerio (7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points in 18 games)
90-F-Matt Willows (6 goals, 9 assists, 15 points in 18 games)
8-D-Nolan Zajac (4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points in 18 games)
9-F-Ryan Penny (7 goals, 5 assists, 12 points in 18 games)
14-F-Adam Schmidt (3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points in 16 games)
1-G-John Muse (5-3-1 record, 2.45 GAA, .924 Sv% in 9 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 1, Royals 1
2016-17 Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Royals 3, Nailers 1
All-Time Series: Royals 90, Nailers 73
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 40, Royals 40
Stylish Sunday to End the Week
The Wheeling Nailers played four games in five days for the second time this season last weekend, and both of those stretches have concluded with victories. On Sunday afternoon, Wheeling faced a Reading squad, who was also playing for the fourth time during the week. Despite being outshot 15-8 in the first period, the Nailers were able to pounce on their chances, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Hunter Fejes rushed in with a wrist shot from the right circle, and Cody Wydo got credited for a goal that the Royals scored on themselves. During the final minute of the middle frame, Wydo fired the puck in the net himself, burying a breakaway attempt. The visitors put the finishing touches on their 5-1 win with two more tallies in the third period, as Dylan Zink converted on the power play, and Fejes added his second of the contest. Sean Maguire kept Reading at bay with 32 saves, beating John Muse, who made 31 stops.
Stuck in Cincinnati's Storm
The Reading Royals have played since their 5-1 loss to Wheeling on Sunday, but the final outcome was the same, as they fell 4-3 to the Cincinnati Cyclones on Wednesday night at US Bank Arena. Reading's Chris McCarthy netted the first goal of the night, then tallied later in the game, but the second marker trimmed the Cincinnati lead to 3-2, as the Cyclones struck for three straight goals. The scorers were Brandon McNally at 10:53 of the first period, Rob De Fulviis at 2:26 of the middle frame, then Shawn O'Donnell at 8:52 of period two. The most crucial goal of the tilt came with under 30 seconds to go in the second period, when Justin Danforth scored on a breakaway for Cincinnati, making the score 4-2 at the time. Nick Luukko lit the lamp with 6:38 left, but the Cyclones were victorious, 4-3. Jonas Johansson was the winning goaltender with 27 saves, while Mark Dekanich took the loss with 20 stops.
Another Big Milestone Checked off
The 2017-18 Nailers have been busy adding to their history, particularly last week. After earning their 500th win at WesBanco Arena and dishing out their 10,000th assist all-time on Saturday, another magical number was achieved on Sunday. The 5-1 triumph over the Royals was the 900th in Wheeling history, as the team had 166 wins as the Thunderbirds and 734 and counting as the Nailers. The 900 victories are the second most in ECHL history, as the South Carolina Stingrays hold the top spot with 969 wins thus far. Toledo has 925 wins between the Storm and Walleye, however, there was a two-year gap between the end of the Storm and the start of the Walleye. Two more milestone numbers will be hit in the very near future. Wheeling will play its 1,800th game in team history on December 15th in Reading, while the 6,000th goal in team history sits just 17 away.
Wydo's Favorite Road City
Some players have certain opponents that they fare better against than others, and sometimes, that success takes place in a specific venue. For Wheeling's Cody Wydo, the Reading Royals are that team, and Santander Arena is that building. On Sunday afternoon, Wydo lit the lamp twice in the 5-1 win, and as it lined up, his first marker turned out to be the game winner. During his career (regular season & playoffs), the Southgate, Michigan native has racked up 14 goals, 10 assists, and 24 points in 26 games against the Royals. He has scored multiple goals on five different occasions, including the first of his two career hat tricks, and four of the 14 goals have been game winners, including the memorable triple overtime strike in the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Most of that damage has been done in Reading, where Wydo has scored 11 times. Derek Army is next on the Nailers with 16 career points against the Royals. Wydo has also torched Brampton for 23 points in 22 games.
Weekend at Our Place
Friday night marks the third of 11 head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Royals this season, as well as the first of five battles at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling and Reading have split their first two contests, with the Royals winning 2-1 in overtime on October 22nd, before the Nailers answered with the 5-1 victory on Sunday. Reading is the most common opponent for Wheeling this season, with the 11 scheduled matches, and over half of those will be played over the course of a three-week period. Last year, Reading ended a two-year winning streak in the season series for Wheeling, which included a 3-1 mark in the Friendly City. While the Royals have had the historical advantage, the home games for the Nailers have been even, as both sides enter Friday with 40 wins. This is the 17th season of the rivalry, which trails Johnstown (18 years) for the longest consecutive run of years played against, and Toledo (24 years) for the most years played against one city overall.