(18-15-3-0, 39 PTS, 4th North, 6th East)
127 GF, 118 GA
PP: 21.1% (32-for-152), 1st
PK: 81.1% (120-for-148), 23rd
21-F-Cam Brown (8 goals, 26 assists, 34 points in 36 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (13 goals, 17 assists, 30 points in 33 games)
24-F-Reid Gardiner (14 goals, 14 assists, 28 points in 31 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (4 goals, 22 assists, 26 points in 34 games)
14-F-Riley Bourbonnais (10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points in 33 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (4 goals, 12 assists, 16 points in 23 games)
29-G-Adam Morrison (4-7-0 record, 3.04 GAA, .905 Sv% in 11 games)
(20-14-1-2, 43 PTS, 2nd North, 4th East)
119 GF, 117 GA
PP: 20.5% (32-for-156), 3rd
PK: 83.5% (111-for-133), 13th
24-F-Ty Loney (17 goals, 14 assists, 31 points in 29 games)
23-F-Shane Conacher (8 goals, 21 assists, 29 points in 28 games)
15-F-James Henry (10 goals, 17 assists, 27 points in 37 games)
20-F-Pierre-Luc Mercier (10 goals, 17 assists, 27 points in 37 games)
37-D-Desmond Bergin (8 goals, 18 assists, 26 points in 35 games)
22-F-Brian Ward (8 goals, 8 assists, 16 points in 25 games)
30-G-Drew Fielding (7-2-0 record, 2.67 GAA, .913 Sv% in 11 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 1, Thunder 0
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 1, Thunder 0
All-Time Series: Nailers 4, Thunder 2
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 1, Thunder 1
Key Comeback Against the Komets
The Wheeling Nailers earned their second straight home win to open the new year on Sunday afternoon, doing so with lots of character, as they erased a two-goal deficit against the Fort Wayne Komets. Fort Wayne got on the scoreboard just 17 seconds into the contest, then went ahead by a pair at the 5:38 mark of the first period. The Nailers started their comeback with a 4-on-4 goal, as Kevin Schulze charged into the slot, and roofed a shot into the top-right corner of the net. Chris Francis got creative for the tying goal, as he banked a shot off of a Komets defender from the right side of the trapezoid. The score stayed tied thanks to some excellent penalty killing by Wheeling, including multiple shot blocks from former Komet Dan Milan. At the 6:45 mark of the third period, the Nailers took the lead, as Nick Sorkin delivered a perfect pass to Cam Brown on the left side of the crease. Ross McMullan tacked on one more goal, and Adam Morrison made 39 saves to preserve the 4-2 triumph.
A 400-Mile Sweep
The Adirondack Thunder earned a two-game sweep over the weekend against the Brampton Beast, playing twice in 19 hours, while traveling 400 miles between contests. The first match took place in Glens Falls, where the Thunder and Beast were tied 1-1 until the 3:45 mark of the third period, when Andrew Radjenovic gave Adirondack a 2-1 lead, which turned out to be the final score. The following day in Brampton, the Thunder received more late game heroics, as they and the Beast played to a 2-2 deadlock through the first 55 minutes of the tilt. With 4:29 remaining, Brian Ward snapped the tie on the power play, and less than two minutes later, Pierre-Luc Mercier added an insurance tally for a 4-2 final. Drew Fielding got the win on Saturday and MacKenzie Blackwood was Sunday's victorious netminder during a set in which Adirondack never trailed.
Two Top Notch Weeks
Last week was an exciting one for the Nailers and Thunder, who both posted winning records (WHL 2-1-1, ADK 3-0-1), while receiving standout performances from a pair of individual players. Adirondack's Shane Conacher took home ECHL Player of the Week honors, collecting three goals, four assists, and seven points, led by a three-point game in Wednesday's victory over the division leading Manchester Monarchs. Manchester also fell victim to Wheeling's top performance of the week, as Riley Bourbonnais netted a hat trick on Friday night, which helped him post seven points during the week, finishing as a runner up to Conacher for the league's honor. While those two players stole the show last week, the two teams are connected in a unique way with other top players, as both sides are led in scoring by former members of the opposition. Former Thunder Cam Brown leads Wheeling with 34 points, while former Nailer Ty Loney leads Adirondack with 31 points.
Starting the Second Half
Game 37 of the 2017-18 season will be played by the Nailers on Wednesday night, meaning that they will officially begin the second half of the campaign. For the ninth time in the last ten years, Wheeling enters the second half with a record that is .500 or better, going 18-15-3 to this point. If the playoffs began today, the Nailers would earn an invitation to the dance, as they currently sit in fourth place in the North Division. Speaking of the North Division, as has been the case for nearly the entire first half, it continues to be the closest division in the ECHL, as 14 points separate first place Manchester and last place Brampton. The next closest grouping is the Central Division, which has a 26-point separation from top to bottom. The second half of the year will feature plenty of important games, as 21 of the 36 remaining matches (58.3%) will be played against North Division foes, starting on Wednesday night. Wheeling is 8-6-1 against the North Division thus far.
So Nice They Came Twice
Wednesday night marks the second of four head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Thunder this season, as well as the second and final battle at WesBanco Arena. This is the first time in the three years that Adirondack has been in the ECHL that the North Division squad has come to Wheeling twice in the same season. The Nailers got the upper hand in the opening match of the set on Education Day, when a season-high crowd of 5,109 watched the home team skate away with a 6-4 victory. The Thunder had a 2-1 lead in the second period, when Sean Maguire stopped Shane Conacher's penalty shot, leading to a four-goal rally by Wheeling. Cody Wydo and Freddie Tiffels both had two goals in the win. Oddly enough, this will be the only night game played between the two squads, who will play at 4:00 at Cool Insuring Arena on February 25th, then at 3:00 on St. Patrick's Day in Glens Falls.