Wed. 3/21 Worcester Railers 0 @ WHEELING NAILERS 1 (shootout)
Shootout: Gardiner- N, Brown- N, Wydo- N, Francis- Y, Morrison- 4/4
Fri. 3/23 Brampton Beast 3 @ WHEELING NAILERS 4
Wydo (Gardiner, Abt)
Francis (Josephs, Spinozzi)
Sat. 3/24 Cincinnati Cyclones 3 @ WHEELING NAILERS 2 (overtime)
Brown (Schulze, Francis)
Francis (Sorkin, Tiffels)
Last week, the Wheeling Nailers put together a strong showing, as they earned five out of six possible points, by going 2-0-1 in three home games. On Wednesday night, Wheeling's Adam Morrison and Worcester's Mitch Gillam put on a show in their respective goal creases, holding the two teams scoreless through regulation and overtime. The tie was finally broken in the fourth round of the shootout, when Chris Francis delivered the victory for the Nailers. On Friday night, Wheeling fell behind the Brampton Beast, 2-0, but Cody Wydo and Ayrton Valente dented the twine during the last two minutes of the opening stanza, creating a 2-2 deadlock. Francis and Brampton's Jordan Henry scored in the middle frame, before Kevin Spinozzi netted the game winner at the 29-second mark of the third period, as the Nailers were victorious, 4-3. On Saturday night, Wheeling and the Cincinnati Cyclones both had a one-goal lead, as overtime was necessary to snap a 2-2 draw. Cam Brown and Francis tallied in regulation for the Nailers, but Brandon McNally picked up the goal in overtime, lifting Cincinnati to the 3-2 road win.
The magic number for the Nailers to clinch a playoff spot is now nine points. Any combination of points gained by Wheeling and lost by Worcester equaling nine will punch the 15th ticket to the postseason in team history. Adam Morrison recorded his first shutout as a Nailer on Wednesday, improving his record to 14-5-2 in his last 21 decisions. Wednesday's 1-0 shootout win was Wheeling's third in team history, and first since December 27, 2002. The Nailers have faced the Railers in all three of their shootouts this season. In Friday's win, Ayrton Valente and Kevin Spinozzi both tallied the first goals of their professional careers. Friday was also the fifth time that Wheeling erased a two-goal deficit in a win, and the fifth time the Nailers won a one-goal game in regulation. Nick Sorkin recorded his 100th career assist on Valente's strike. Wheeling has guaranteed itself a winning record for the tenth year in a row and 20th time in 26 seasons all-time, and it also reached the 20-win plateau at WesBanco Arena for the eighth time in the last ten years.
Tue. 3/27 Cincinnati Cyclones @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05
Fri. 3/30 WHEELING NAILERS @ Toledo Walleye, 7:15
Sat. 3/31 Manchester Monarchs @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05
This week, the Wheeling Nailers will close out the home portion of their regular season, while mixing in one road contest, facing off against three teams who are on the inside of the Kelly Cup Playoff Picture. On Tuesday night, the Nailers will clash with the Cincinnati Cyclones for the second game in a row, after the Cyclones edged Wheeling, 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. Cincinnati has won four of five matches against the Nailers this season, but Wheeling has earned points in all three of its home games. The Cyclones are currently in third place in the Central Division, leading Kalamazoo and Kansas City by five points each. On Friday night, the Nailers will travel to Toledo, looking to gain a split in their six-game season series against the Walleye. Toledo is on its way to a fourth straight division title, and with 99 points, is in contention for its third Brabham Cup in the last four seasons. On Saturday night, Wheeling goes to battle against a team it could see in the playoffs, as the Manchester Monarchs travel to WesBanco Arena. Manchester leads the North Division with 85 points, but the Nailers have performed well against the Monarchs, winning three of the first five head-to-head meetings. Keeping an eye on teams around Wheeling in the standings, Reading hosts Manchester twice, then finishes up the week at Adirondack. Worcester hosts Brampton twice, while playing Adirondack once at home and once on the road.
Upcoming Home Games/Promotions
Tue. Mar. 27- Two for Tuesday (2 tickets for $22)
Sat. Mar. 31- Fan Appreciation Night, Trading Card Set Giveaway (first 2,500 fans), Post Game Autograph Session (full team), Diamond Ring Giveaway for one lucky fan, Prizes Throughout the Game, Family Four Pack (4 tickets, 4 hats, 4 McDonald's Meal Vouchers for $56)
Goals: 27, Reid Gardiner
Assists: 45, Nick Sorkin
Points: 56, Cody Wydo
Penalty Minutes: 126, Dan Milan
Plus/Minus: +12, Riley Bourbonnais
Wins: 16, Adam Morrison
Goals Against Average: 3.09, Adam Morrison
Save Percentage: .907, Adam Morrison
Shutouts: 1, Adam Morrison
North Division Standings
1. Manchester Monarchs 40-21-3-2, 85 pts.
2. Adirondack Thunder 38-22-3-4, 83 pts.
3. Reading Royals 35-23-8-0, 78 pts.
4. WHEELING NAILERS 33-25-8-1, 75 pts.
5. Worcester Railers 31-26-4-4, 70 pts.
6. Brampton Beast 26-31-6-4, 62 pts.