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Nailers at Swamp Rabbits Game Day Snap Shot

Friday, October 13th
Nailers at Swamp Rabbits Game Day Snap Shot

WHEELING NAILERS2016-17:(34-30-8-0, 76 PTS, 5th North, 10th East)244 GF, 239 GAPP: 19.7% (66-for-335), 8thPK: 75.0% (204-for-272), 27th

11-F-Cody Wydo (30 goals, 30 assists, 60 points in 70 games)26-D-Kevin Schulze (13 goals, 47 assists, 60 points in 68 games)8-F-Nick Sorkin (14 goals, 43 assists, 57 points in 57 games)23-F-Garrett Meurs (25 goals, 30 assists, 55 points in 71 games)18-F-Hunter Fejes (18 goals, 20 assists, 38 points in 48 games)17-F-Kenny Ryan (13 goals, 20 assists, 33 points in 44 games)31-G-Sean Maguire (14-16-0 record, 3.20 GAA, .897 Sv% in 35 games)

GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITS2016-17:(40-26-5-1, 86 PTS, 2nd South, 5th East)251 GF, 252 GAPP: 16.1% (40-for-249), 12thPK: 82.1% (193-for-235), 6th

13-D-Joe Houk (16 goals, 31 assists, 47 points in 69 games)18-F-Joe Basaraba (21 goals, 25 assists, 46 points in 72 games)11-F-Bretton Cameron (20 goals, 24 assists, 44 points in 64 games)9-F-Allan McPherson (9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points in 30 games)24-F-Jack Nevins (11 goals, 13 assists, 24 points in 61 games)14-F-Curt Gogol (6 goals, 11 assists, 17 points in 37 games)30-G-Brandon Halverson (4-5-0 record, 3.43 GAA, .897 Sv% in 9 games)

Head to Head2016-17 Season Series: Swamp Rabbits 2, Nailers 02016-17 Season Series at Bon Secours Wellness Arena: Did Not PlayAll-Time Series: Swamp Rabbits 15, Nailers 10All-Time Series at Bon Secours Wellness Arena: Swamp Rabbits 6, Nailers 4

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the YearHockey season is officially here, as the Wheeling Nailers will begin their 26th season on Friday night, when they do battle with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. While the 2016-17 season ended earlier than Wheeling was hoping for, the team did post its ninth consecutive winning campaign, going 34-30-8, good for 76 points. As the 2017-18 season arrives, there are quite a few historical milestones that are very much within reach, including the team's 900th win, 2,000th point, 1,800th game, 500th win at WesBanco Arena, 6,000th goal, and 40,000th penalty minute. Wheeling enters the year with an all-time record of 889-726-46-113, which calculates to 1,937 points in the standings. As for opening night tilts, the Nailers have gone 12-11-2 in their previous 25 season openers, including a 4-0-2 mark in the last six. Wheeling has earned wins in two of its last three openers that have taken place on the road, including a 6-1 triumph over the then Greenville Road Warriors in 2011.

Back in the DanceThe Greenville Swamp Rabbits returned to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in 2016-17, following a two-year absense, as the club experienced an 18-point improvement over 2015-16. Greenville's 86-point performance was its third highest total since returning to the ECHL in 2010, as the team posted a 40-26-6 record. However, the Swamp Rabbits' run in the playoffs was a short one, as they opened with two victories, before dropping four straight decisions to the eventual Eastern Conference Champion South Carolina Stingrays. Brian Gratz is set to begin his third season as Greenville's head coach, after serving as the assistant under Dean Stork during the 2014-15 campaign. Gratz has a unique tie to Wheeling, as he appeared in two games between the pipes for the Nailers during the 2006-07 season, starting against Dayton and Cincinnati. His backup goaltender in both games was current Nailers Equipment Manager Bill Higgins. The Swamp Rabbits have lost their last three season openers, although this will be the first time since 2011 that Greenville opens on home ice.

Best Preseason in Some TimeThe 2017 preseason was a very successful one for the Nailers, who swept a pair of 5-4 contests from the Cincinnati Cyclones at WesBanco Arena. With their opening win on Friday, Wheeling ended a five-game preseason skid, doing so by prevailing in a six-round shootout. Nick Sorkin led the way that evening with two goals, while Garrett Meurs potted the deciding marker in the shootout. In Sunday's match, the Nailers didn't need any extra time, winning in regulation, thanks to two goals from Cody Wydo, including the game winner. Cam Brown and Reid Gardiner both collected four points during the exhibition slate, while Colin Stevens and Will King recorded one win each in the nets. This marks the first time in over nine years that Wheeling has earned two preseason wins. The Swamp Rabbits also went 2-0 in the preseason, winning road games against the Atlanta Gladiators and South Carolina Stingrays. Nick Betz led the way with three points for Greenville, whose wins were by identical final scores of 4-3.

Similar Southern SlateDespite playing in the same conference, Wheeling typically doesn't get to see many teams from the South Division over the course of a season. For the second straight year, the Nailers will take the ice against three teams from the South Division, totaling 11 games. Wheeling opens with two games in Greenville, visits Orlando for three tilts in February, and plays three games at home and three on the road against the Norfolk Admirals. Last season, the Nailers had a winning record against the North and Central Divisions, and a .500 mark against the Mountain Division, while finishing one game under .500 against the South Division. This year, Wheeling will get a significantly larger dose of its North Division foes, as exactly half of the schedule (36 of 72) features games against Adirondack, Brampton, Manchester, Reading, and Worcester. The Swamp Rabbits will get a good look at the North Division early, as five of their first six games will be played against the Nailers, Thunder, and Monarchs. Greenville has contests scheduled against teams from all four divisions, led by 55 against the South Division. The Swamp Rabbits have 18 and 16-game stretches made up exclusively with divisional tilts.

It's Been Three Whole YearsFriday night marks the first of two head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Swamp Rabbits this season, with both contests schedule to take place at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Greenville has been a foreign place for Wheeling in recent seasons, as the Nailers last visited "The Well" during the second round of the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Wheeling won two of three road games during that series, but dropped all three decisions at home, falling to the Road Warriors in six games. Despite not playing in the Palmetto State, Wheeling and Greenville have clashed during the last three years, with Greenville coming out on top in six of the eight tilts at WesBanco Arena. South Carolina has been a friendly state for the Nailers recently, as they have won seven of their last nine road playoff games against Greenville and the South Carolina Stingrays, while winning four of their last six regular season games at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The season series has changed hands in four straight seasons, with Wheeling winning in 2013-14 and 2015-16, while Greenville got the upper hand in 2014-15 and 2016-17. The Nailers have come out on top in four of the seven season sets since Greenville relocated from Johnstown in 2010.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Faith & Family Night
Sunday, March 3rd
Faith & Family Night
Puck Drops:
4:10 PM EST
WesBanco Arena
Cincinnati Cyclones
CIN Cincinnati Cyclones
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena
Education Day
Tuesday, March 19th
Education Day
Puck Drops:
10:45 AM EDT
WesBanco Arena
Indy Fuel
IND Indy Fuel
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena
Frosty Friday
Friday, March 22nd
Frosty Friday
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EDT
WesBanco Arena
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena

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