(33-29-8-0, 74 PTS, 5th North, 10th East)
235 GF, 232 GA
PP: 19.8% (65-for-329), 9th
PK: 74.8% (199-for-266), 27th
11-F-Cody Wydo (30 goals, 29 assists, 59 points in 69 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (12 goals, 46 assists, 58 points in 66 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (24 goals, 27 assists, 51 points in 69 games)
14-F-Tyler Currier (19 goals, 27 assists, 46 points in 71 games)
9-F-Christian Hilbrich (15 goals, 27 assists, 42 points in 63 games)
24-D-Michael Webster (5 goals, 23 assists, 28 points in 55 games)
29-G-Sean Maguire (13-16-4 record, 3.24 GAA, .895 Sv% in 34 games)
(37-29-1-3, 78 PTS, 4th Central, 7th West)
215 GF, 228 GA
PP: 14.2% (41-for-288), 24th
PK: 81.9% (212-for-259), 17th
93-F-Justin Taylor (31 goals, 28 assists, 59 points in 68 games)
3-F-Peter Schneider (20 goals, 31 assists, 51 points in 59 games)
21-F-Lane Scheidl (25 goals, 22 assists, 47 points in 65 games)
9-F-Tanner Sorenson (19 goals, 22 assists, 41 points in 70 games)
24-D-Blake Kessel (10 goals, 30 assists, 40 points in 48 games)
15-D-Eric Kattelus (7 goals, 33 assists, 40 points in 58 games)
29-G-Nick Riopel (18-11-1 record, 3.00 GAA, .903 Sv% in 31 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 6, Wings 2
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 3, Wings 1
All-Time Series: Nailers 25, Wings 23
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 13, Wings 12
Needed All 11 to Decide it
The Wheeling Nailers played their 11th and decisive game of the season against the Brampton Beast on Wednesday night, with the winner earning the bragging rights for the 2016-17 campaign. David Vallorani tallied the lone goal in the opening stanza, when he rushed down the left side, and roofed a shot from the face-off dot. Brampton began to break the game open in the second period, scoring three times in a span of 3:25, as Willie Corrin lit the lamp once, and Chris Auger did so twice. The Nailers clawed back to within a pair in the third period. First, Nick Sorkin batted a Cody Wydo pass out of the air. Then, Sorkin's right point shot on the power play produced a rebound, which was potted by Riley Bourbonnais. Unfortunately, Wheeling was unable to climb any closer, as Vallorani's second of the tilt put the finishing touches on a 5-2 Beast win. Andrew D'Agostini made 35 saves in the win, while Sean Maguire stopped 28 shots in the defeat.
Two Points and Lots of Sunshine
The Kalamazoo Wings spent last week in Estero, Florida, where they collided with the Florida Everblades for three games. Florida took the opening match, 6-2, snapping a 1-1 deadlock by scoring three straight goals in the second period. In game two, the Wings knotted the set, exploding for seven goals, including a hat trick by Peter Schneider, and a two-goal evening by Scott Henegar. Brian Hart netted the winning goal with 1:45 left in a 7-5 triumph for Kalamazoo. In the series finale on Saturday, the Wings took the ice with a depleted lineup, playing two skaters short of the maximum 16. Even with that, Kalamazoo was able to battle to a 2-2 draw, before the Everblades pulled ahead with three markers in the final stanza for a 5-2 result in favor of the home squad.
A Chance for 10-Over
The final home game of the season takes place with the Nailers having an opportunity to finish the year with a record that is ten games over .500 in front of the local crowd. Wheeling secured its 20th home victory of the campaign on Friday night, when it bested the Brampton Beast, 4-3. The Nailers enter Friday with a 20-11-4 mark at WesBanco Arena, which is good for 44 of their 74 points (59.5%). Lots of teams have had tremendous success at home this season, as Wheeling is one of 14 teams to win at least 20 home games, and one of 19 teams to produce a winning record on home ice. The Nailers' 130 goals scored at WesBanco Arena is tied for the eighth most home goals scored in the ECHL in 2016-17. Visiting Kalamazoo is one of 15 teams in the league that has a winning record both at home and on the road, as the Wings enter Friday with an 18-16-1 record on the road, and a 19-13-3 record at home.
Call it a Friendly Weekend
Both teams enter the weekend series knowing what the future holds, meaning pride, a little bit of bragging rights, and some statistical milestones will be on the line at WesBanco Arena and Wings Event Center. Wheeling finds itself outside of the playoff picture for just the second time in seven seasons, as it is nine points back of the fourth place Manchester Monarchs. On the other side of the ice, Kalamazoo has 78 points, which is good for fourth place in the Central Division, and a first round series against the nearby Toledo Walleye. From a numbers standpoint, Cody Wydo has already reached the 30-goal plateau, but sits one point away from 60. Garrett Meurs is one goal shy of 25 and Tyler Currier needs one more strike for a 20-goal campaign. Kevin Schulze is also in the neighborhood of 60 points, which would give him the third highest point total by a defenseman in team history. For the wings, Justin Taylor is closing in on 60 points and Tanner Sorenson is knocking on the door of 20 goals. Former Nailer Kyle Bushee needs one more point to finish with 30 in his ninth professional season.
One More Home-and-Home
Friday night marks the ninth of ten head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Wings this season, as well as the fifth and final battle at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling has already secured the upper hand in the set, taking six of the eight clashes, including three of four in each building. Four of the eight contests have been decided by one goal, including each of the most recent three. The most lopsided affair took place on October 29th in West Virginia, when the Nailers toppled the Wings, 8-1. The night before that was a 3-2 Wheeling shootout win, which to this point, is still the only shootout that the Nailers have participated in all season. The leading scorer in the series is Garrett Meurs, who has nine points for Wheeling. Kalamazoo is topped by Lane Scheidl, who has six goals and seven points. Doug Carr is the goaltender with the most wins, as he has four, while four other netminders have one each. The Nailers and Wings have now alternated season series wins in six consecutive years.