WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that Reid Gardiner has been named CCM ECHL Rookie of the Month for January.
Gardiner, 22, tore up the opposition in January, despite missing the first four games of the month due to time with the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Reid scored two goals in his return to the lineup on January 10th, with one of those tallies being the game winner, as the Nailers picked up a key divisional win against the Adirondack Thunder. Ten days later, he had his most electric performance of the season, notching his first career hat trick, as Wheeling won the first of back-to-back road contests against the Worcester Railers. The hat trick was the second tilt in a five-game goal streak for the Humboldt, Saskatchewan native, who finished January with 12 goals, three assists, and 15 points in ten games. He brings an eight-game point streak into February, which is two games shy of his best streak of the year. Gardiner's magnificent month lifted him into second place in the ECHL with 26 goals - the highest total among rookies.
Last season, Reid got his first taste of professional hockey, as he compiled three goals, three assists, and six points in 23 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He then returned to the WHL, where he closed out his junior career with the Kelowna Rockets, reaching the league's Western Conference Final. Gardiner has appeared in 64 career games with the Nailers and AHL Penguins, accumulating 29 goals, 20 assists, and 49 points.
This is the second time this season that Reid Gardiner has won ECHL Rookie of the Month, as he also took home the honor in October. He becomes the first player in the league to accomplish that feat since Jason Bast of the Idaho Steelheads in the 2014-15 campaign. The only other Wheeling player to win the award twice in the same season was Mike Condon in 2013-14. Gardiner becomes the second Nailer to win a league award for January of this season, joining Nick Sorkin, who was the AMI Graphics ECHL Plus Performer of the Month.
The Nailers will play two games at WesBanco Arena this weekend. Friday is 90's Night, Starring Alfonso Ribeiro, plus the Nailers will wear special jerseys for the 7:05 tilt against the Indy Fuel. Saturday night is a Beach Party, featuring a Nailers Sunglasses Giveaway for the 8:05 face-off against the Fort Wayne Komets. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.