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Nailers vs. Cyclones Game Day Snap Shot

Saturday, March 24th
Nailers vs. Cyclones Game Day Snap Shot

WHEELING NAILERS(33-25-7-1, 74 PTS, 4th North, 6th East)227 GF, 224 GAPP: 19.5% (51-for-262), 3rdPK: 80.4% (209-for-260), 23rd

11-F-Cody Wydo (26 goals, 30 assists, 56 points in 52 games)24-F-Reid Gardiner (27 goals, 24 assists, 51 points in 52 games)8-F-Nick Sorkin (7 goals, 44 assists, 51 points in 63 games)23-F-Garrett Meurs (21 goals, 28 assists, 49 points in 55 games)21-F-Cam Brown (13 goals, 31 assists, 44 points in 49 games)26-D-Kevin Schulze (8 goals, 20 assists, 28 points in 41 games)31-G-Matt O'Connor (2-9-3 record, 4.17 GAA, .879 Sv% in 15 games)

CINCINNATI CYCLONES(35-27-3-0, 73 PTS, 3rd Central, T-5th West)202 GF, 197 GAPP: 20.7% (52-for-251), 2ndPK: 76.3% (161-for-211), 27th

12-F-Jesse Schultz (18 goals, 53 assists, 71 points in 65 games)5-D-Eric Knodel (13 goals, 31 assists, 44 points in 51 games)16-F-Shawn O'Donnell (17 goals, 23 assists, 40 points in 39 games)85-F-Daniel Muzito-Bagenda (15 goals, 25 assists, 40 points in 40 games)74-F-Brandon McNally (13 goals, 27 assists, 40 points in 64 games)15-F-Justin Vaive (28 goals, 10 assists, 38 points in 43 games)33-G-Jason Kasdorf (11-11-1 record, 3.09 GAA, .900 Sv% in 26 games)

Head to HeadSeason Series: Cyclones 3, Nailers 1Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 1, Cyclones 1All-Time Series: Cyclones 62, Nailers 61All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 33, Cyclones 27

Clutch Comeback Moves One Step CloserThe Wheeling Nailers picked up a hard-earned two points on Friday night, and in doing so, lowered their magic number to 12. Wheeling was forced to battle back from an early deficit, as the Brampton Beast took a 2-0 lead on a pair of deflection goals from Brandon Marino and Alex Foster. With less than two minutes remaining in the opening stanza, the Nailers staged a comeback, taking the contest into intermission tied, 2-2. Cody Wydo got Wheeling on the board at the 18:07 mark, and Ayrton Valente followed with a beautiful deke move on the left side as time ticked away. Chris Francis gave the Nailers their first lead of the night in the middle frame, but Jordan Henry answered for Brampton, creating a 3-3 deadlock. At the 29-second mark of the third period, Kevin Spinozzi put Wheeling ahead for good, and Adam Morrison was perfect on 19 shots in the stanza, giving him 37 saves overall in his 16th victory of the campaign - a 4-3 decision for the Nailers.

The Spirit of the Gladiators PrevailsThe Cincinnati Cyclones came less than two minutes away from securing a point on Friday night, but fell victim to the Atlanta Gladiators, who took a giant step closer to locking up a playoff spot in the South Division. The two sides exchanged goals less than a minute apart from each other in the first period, with Darby Llewellyn scoring for Atlanta and Jesse Schultz tallying for Cincinnati. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda put the Cyclones ahead 2-1 at the 5:52 mark of the middle stanza, only to see Davis Vandane tie things up with a strange goal at 18:35. The 2-2 deadlock stayed on the board as the last minute of the game approached, but with 1:03 to go, Phil Lane found Derek Nesbitt for the winning strike, lifting the Gladiators to the 3-2 triumph. Sean Bonar made 26 saves in the win, getting the better of Jason Kasdorf, who came up with 31 stops in the setback. Cincinnati will play its seventh game in nine days on Saturday, having gone 1-4-1 in the first six.

Make Way for the Young GuysA pair of rookie defensemen made their marks on Friday night's game, as Wheeling's young blueline continued its strong performance from Wednesday's shutout win, adding some important offensive punch. The Nailers were trailing 2-1 in the closing seconds of the first period, when Ayrton Valente picked up a loose puck on the left side, then proceeded to fake out the goaltender, tallying the first goal of his professional career. Then, with the score tied at three in the opening minute of the third stanza, Kevin Spinozzi rose to the occasion, sending Reid Gardiner on a rush, then banging in the rebound of Gardiner's initial attempt for his first tally as a pro. Four of the seven defensemen who have played in the two games for Wheeling this week are rookies, with three of the four notching their first career goals this month (Matt Abt was the other on March 9th).

That's a WinnerFor the tenth year in a row and the 20th time in team history, the Nailers will get to look at the final standings and see themselves with a winning record. Wheeling earned its 33rd victory and 74th point on Friday night, putting them just two points back of last year's final total with six games left on the regular season slate. Friday's triumph also helped the Nailers reach another significant number, as they notched their 20th win of the season at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling has won at least 20 home games in eight of the last ten campaigns, and 17 of 26 all-time. Home ice advantage has played a significant role in the 2017-18 season, as 12 of the 27 teams in the ECHL have collected at least 20 wins in front of their home fans, and there are four other teams within striking distance. The 12 currently with 20 or more are the top six teams in each conference's respective standings.

Back-to-Back with a Few Days OffSaturday night marks the fifth of six head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Cyclones this season, as well as the third of four battles at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling won the first match of the set, 4-2, in its home opener on October 21st, but Cincinnati has come out on top in each of the last three, including a 4-3 overtime decision in its last visit to the Friendly City on November 3rd. The two games at US Bank Arena were both decided by two goals, with the Cyclones prevailing 3-1 and 4-2. The Nailers will be looking to even the historical series at 62 wins each, as next year's division rivals will take the ice for the 124th time in regular season action. Both teams have one player with seven points thus far in the set - Cam Brown for Wheeling, and Justin Danforth for Cincinnati (currently in the AHL with Rochester). After two days off, the two teams will close out their season set on Tuesday in West Virginia.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Frosty Friday
Friday, February 23rd
Frosty Friday
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EST
WesBanco Arena
Fort Wayne Komets
FW Fort Wayne Komets
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena
Country Night
Saturday, February 24th
Country Night
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EST
WesBanco Arena
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena
Screen Time Sunday & Post Game Skate
Sunday, February 25th
Screen Time Sunday & Post Game Skate
Puck Drops:
4:10 PM EST
WesBanco Arena
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena

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