(29-24-6-0, 64 PTS, 5th North, 10th East)
197 GF, 188 GA
PP: 20.1% (55-for-274), 8th
PK: 75.5% (179-for-237), 27th
26-D-Kevin Schulze (9 goals, 40 assists, 49 points in 55 games)
11-F-Cody Wydo (26 goals, 20 assists, 46 points in 58 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (13 goals, 33 assists, 46 points in 47 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (21 goals, 22 assists, 43 points in 58 games)
17-F-Jordan Kwas (19 goals, 23 assists, 42 points in 55 games)
14-F-Tyler Currier (14 goals, 24 assists, 38 points in 60 games)
29-G-Sean Maguire (10-12-3 record, 3.12 GAA, .900 Sv% in 26 games)
(42-14-2-1, 87 PTS, 1st Central, 1st West)
244 GF, 159 GA
PP: 24.2% (60-for-248), 2nd
PK: 84.9% (158-for-186), 2nd
12-F-Tyson Spink (31 goals, 37 assists, 68 points in 59 games)
10-F-Shane Berschbach (15 goals, 48 assists, 63 points in 58 games)
24-F-Tylor Spink (21 goals, 41 assists, 62 points in 54 games)
86-F-Evan Rankin (26 goals, 21 assists, 47 points in 53 games)
11-D-Nolan Zajac (10 goals, 37 assists, 47 points in 57 games)
23-F-Alden Hirschfeld (22 goals, 23 assists, 45 points in 52 games)
31-G-Jeff Lerg (2-1-1 record, 3.50 GAA, .885 Sv% in 4 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Walleye 5, Nailers 4
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 3, Walleye 1
All-Time Series: Walleye 35, Nailers 31
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 23, Walleye 13
That's the Offense We're Looking for
The Wheeling Nailers broke out offensively in a big way on Saturday night, as they played the second of back-to-back games against the Quad City Mallards at WesBanco Arena. Despite allowing the first goal, Wheeling rebounded, as Cody Wydo knotted the score with less than one minute to play in the opening stanza, tipping in a shot by Nick Sorkin. In the second period, Johnny Daniels took over for the Nailers, first giving the team its first lead of the night at the 11:01 mark on a redirection. 36 seconds later, Daniels turned on the red light again, depositing the rebound of his initial shot into the top-right corner of the cage. 21 seconds after that, Johnny completed his natural hat trick, drilling in a shot from the left circle, making the score 4-1. Quad City made things interesting in the second period, pulling within one, but Tyler Currier made sure that a comeback wasn't in order, as he scored what turned out to be the winning goal, in addition to an insurance marker in the third for a 6-4 Wheeling victory. Doug Carr made 22 saves for his 15th win of the season.
Peaceful Travels After a Blowout
The Toledo Walleye faced the tall task of traveling from Kalamazoo to Wheeling after Saturday night's game, and to make things more challenging, Daylight Savings Time took an hour out of the day. However, the Walleye were able to sleep easily, as they trounced the Wings in Southwest Michigan. Evan Rankin snagged the lone goal in the first period for Toledo to get the game off on the right footing. In the middle frame, JP LaFontaine and Alden Hirschfeld extended the advantage. Finally, in the third period, three more different players made their way onto the scoreboard, as Tylor Spink, Dane Walters, and Dane Walters salted the contest away, 6-1. Peter Schneider ruined Jake Paterson's bid at his seventh shutout of the season with 5:12 left in the game, but Paterson still came away with 34 stops in his 29th victory of the campaign.
27 Seconds Short of History
The eighth hat trick of the season in a game involving the Nailers took place on Saturday night, and it was the fifth by a Wheeling player, as Johnny Daniels netted his third, fourth, and fifth goals since joining the team during the middle of February. Daniels' three-goal performance was one of the most impressive ones in team history, as he needed just 57 seconds to accomplish the feat. The game was wide open with a 1-1 score, before Johnny burst onto the scene at the 11:01 mark of the second period with his first goal. The second tally came 36 seconds later, and Quad City thought that a timeout might slow down the Nailers and their sniper with the hot hand. But Daniels wasn't going to be denied, as he punched his third goal in 21 seconds after his second, finishing off the hat trick. The natural hat trick was 27 seconds shy of the league record (0:30), set by Darren Schwartz in the inaugural season for the Wheeling Thunderbirds. Lots of Wheeling connections can be found in the record books, as the fastest goal to start a period occurred at WesBanco Arena, while Garrett Meurs (with Fort Wayne) has the fastest two goals by a single player, and Ray DiLauro scored the fastest two and three goals by a defenseman while playing with Reading.
More Fun When Everyone is Involved
In their victories on Saturday night, Wheeling and Toledo both blitzed the opposition for six goals, meaning there were plenty of points to go around. While only three different players were responsible for the goals by the Nailers, 11 of the 16 skaters that took the ice picked up at least one point. Of course, Johnny Daniels led the way with his three goals, but he was joined in the three-point department by Tyler Currier, who had two goals and one assist, as well as Cody Wydo, who pocketed one goal and two assists. Nick Sorkin registered a pair of points, dishing out two assists. The Walleye turned to six different players for their goals at Wings Event Center, while 12 of their 16 skaters snagged at least one point. Five of the 12 skaters had multiple points, while three of the scoreless players were defensemen. Shane Berschbach, JP LaFontaine, and Evan Rankin all had one goal and one assist.
Playing for a Tie
Sunday afternoon marks the tenth and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Walleye this season, as well as the fifth and final battle at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling will take the ice, attempting to stop Toledo's two-year reign in the season series, as the Walleye enter play with a 5-4 advantage. Home ice has been the key to the 2016-17 set, as each of the last seven contests have been decided that way, with the Walleye winning four and the Nailers coming out on top three times. Both clubs have won once in overtime, and those were the most recent games in each venue, as Wheeling took a 7-6 decision on January 25th, while Toledo was victorious 4-3 exactly one month later. While those tilts were close, there have also been some rather one-sided affairs, as three of the nine games have been decided by at least five goals. Three players have 11 points in the nine games - Nick Sorkin of the Nailers and Tyson Spink and Shane Berschbach for the Walleye.