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Nailers at Wings Game Day Snap Shot, Nov. 27

Tuesday, November 27th
Nailers at Wings Game Day Snap Shot, Nov. 27

WHEELING NAILERS(6-8-1-0, 13 PTS, 5th Central, 11th West)41 GF, 48 GAPP: 17.7% (11-for-62), 12thPK: 82.2% (60-for-73), 17th

NHL Affiliate: Pittsburgh PenguinsAHL Affiliate: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

13-F-Nick Saracino (4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points in 15 games)27-F-Zac Lynch (4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points in 15 games)22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points in 13 games)4-F-Alex Rauter (3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points in 10 games)5-D-Dan Fick (2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points in 15 games)23-F-Michael Phillips (2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points in 15 games)30-G-Matt O'Connor (2-2-1 record, 2.80 GAA, .891 Sv% in 5 games)

KALAMAZOO WINGS(4-10-0-1, 9 PTS, 6th Central, 13th West)38 GF, 61 GAPP: 13.8% (9-for-65), 22ndPK: 84.1% (58-for-69), 14th

NHL Affiliate: Vancouver CanucksAHL Affiliate: Utica Comets

93-F-Justin Taylor (10 goals, 3 assists, 13 points in 15 games)12-F-Chris Collins (5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points in 15 games)24-F-Kyle Thomas (3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points in 15 games)18-F-Kyle Blaney (3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points in 8 games)7-D-Kyle Bushee (1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points in 15 games)5-D-Ben Betker (1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points in 14 games)35-G-Ivan Kulbakov (0-1-0 record, 4.13 GAA, .833 Sv% in 1 game)

Head-to-Head2017-18 Season Series: Nailers 1, Wings 12017-18 Season Series at Wings Event Center: Wings 1, Nailers 0All-Time Series: Nailers 27, Wings 25All-Time Series at Wings Event Center: Wings 13, Nailers 12

Closing out the Homestand in StyleThe Wheeling Nailers finished a three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon, and in doing so, they saved the best for last, as they rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat the second place Cincinnati Cyclones. Cincinnati tallied both of its goals in the first period, before the Nailers started their comeback at the 11:43 mark of the middle frame. Nick Saracino won a battle for the puck along the wall, allowing him to set up Alex Rauter for a snipe from the bottom of the right circle. At the 1:10 mark of the third period, Saracino knotted the score himself, breaking behind the defense and stuffing a backhander through the goaltender's legs. With 4:10 left in the game, former Cyclone Winston Day Chief was the hero, as he tipped in Dan Fick's point shot, giving Wheeling the 3-2 victory. Matt O'Connor made 20 saves in the win, while the Nailers put three pucks behind previous ECHL Goaltender of the Week Jonas Johansson on 30 chances.

Ugly Third Extends Sour StreakThe Kalamazoo Wings were 20 minutes away from putting a five-game losing streak to bed on Saturday night, but a forgettable third period put Kalamazoo's season loss total into double digits. The Wings and Indy Fuel traded goals in the first period, with Zach Saar notching his second of the season for visiting Kalamazoo. Just over a minute into the middle stanza, Chris Collins gave the Wings a 2-1 lead - a lead they carried into the intermission. The third period was all Fuel, and before Kalamazoo could blink, Indy had scored five times in a span of less than five minutes, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 advantage. Former Nailer Josh Shalla provided the bookends to the surge, snatching his eighth and ninth goals of the season. Wade Murphy potted a late goal for the Wings, who fell 6-3. Kevin Lankinen stopped 30 shots in the win for the Fuel, while Jake Hildebrand was bested six times on 32 shots for Kalamazoo.

On the Board Against the DivisionIn a league where the majority of games are played within the division, those contests tend to be the ones that carry the most weight, making Wheeling's victory on Sunday that much more important. The Nailers earned their first win in six times against a Central Division foe with their triumph against the Cyclones, and thanks to Winston Day Chief's late goal in regulation, Cincinnati left town without any points in hand. Five of Wheeling's six games played within the division have come against Toledo and Cincinnati, who have opened up nine and eight-point leads respectively over third place Indy. The Nailers will look to extend their four-point lead over Kalamazoo for fifth place with two head-to-head games this week, while shortening a three-point gap up to fourth place Fort Wayne, who visits Nail City on December 7th and 16th. Sunday's win over the Cyclones was also Wheeling's first in eight games when trailing after two periods.

Bushee Joins 600 ClubKyle Bushee has had a long and successful professional career, serving as strong two-way defenseman in the ECHL, who has also earned some chances to perform at the AHL level. The 33-year old made his professional debut with the Cincinnati Cyclones at the end of the 2007-08 season, after finishing his collegiate career at Canisius College. Kyle went on to play in the ECHL with Johnstown, Wheeling, Elmira, and Toledo, before arriving in his home state to play with the Kalamazoo Wings in 2016. Earlier this season, the Otsego, Michigan native became the ninth player to appear in 600 career ECHL games, joining another former Wheeling player on that list, as former Thunderbird Louis Dumont ranks third with 771 games. Bushee appeared in 183 games over three seasons with the Nailers (2009-12), as he accumulated 17 goals, 48 assists, and 65 points.

Each Building Gets a Taste This WeekTuesday night marks the first of eight head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Wings this season, as well as the first of five battles at Wings Event Center. Wheeling and Kalamazoo split a brief two-game season set last year, with both clubs winning on home ice. The Wings rallied from a 5-2 deficit to prevail 6-5 in overtime in their home win, led by a four-goal outburst from defenseman Aaron Irving. The Nailers also scored six at home, blowing Kalamazoo away, 6-2. Wheeling has earned at least one point in nine of its last 12 games against the Wings, dating back to the start of the 2016-17 season. Kalamazoo has some familiar faces on its roster, led by the aforementioned Kyle Bushee. Forward Luke Sandler attended training camp with the Nailers twice, while 2017-18 leading scorer Reid Gardiner started the year with the Wings, but is currently on recall to the AHL's Utica Comets.

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