Last WeekTuesday, November 13th: Toledo Walleye 2 @ WHEELING NAILERS 1The Wheeling Nailers played in front of their first sellout crowd of the season on Tuesday morning, which was the first of their two Education Day games. Despite all of the excitement with over 5,000 local students in the arena, Tuesday's game was the lone defeat of the week for Wheeling, who saw an 11-game morning point streak come to an end against the division leading Toledo Walleye. Troy Josephs scored the lone goal of the day for the Nailers and John Muse made 21 saves, but Toledo's Kevin Tansey netted the deciding marker on the man advantage at the 3:33 mark of the third period for a 2-1 Walleye win.
Friday, November 16th: WHEELING NAILERS 4 @ Jacksonville Icemen 1For the first time in team history, the Nailers visited Jacksonville, Florida, and Friday night was a joyous occasion, as Wheeling opened its three-game road trip with a 4-1 triumph against the Jacksonville Icemen. Troy Josephs had a terrific evening for the Nailers, recording his second career hat trick and first natural hat trick (three straight goals), opening up a 3-0 lead. Nick Saracino assisted on all three of Josephs' strikes, while Zac Lynch tacked on a late insurance goal, drawing an assist from John Muse, who backstopped the win with 36 saves.
Saturday, November 17th: WHEELING NAILERS 4 @ South Carolina Stingrays 1The end results were identical on Friday and Saturday, as the Nailers picked up their second win of the weekend with a 4-1 victory in their first visit to North Charleston Coliseum since the 2016 Eastern Conference Final. Three Wheeling skaters had standout performances, starting with Winston Day Chief, whose power play goal opened the scoring in the middle frame. Day Chief had three points on the night, as did Alex Rauter, who notched a shorthanded tally in the third. Defenseman Kevin Spinozzi had the most productive game with four points (1G, 3A), and Matt O'Connor earned his first win as a Nailer, turning away 30 of the 31 shots he faced.
Sunday, November 18th: WHEELING NAILERS 5 @ Greenville Swamp Rabbits 4 (overtime)The final game of the trip was the one that featured the most adversity for Wheeling, as the visitors had to overcome 2-0 and 4-3 deficits, before rallying to earn their third consecutive victory. The Nailers scored three times in the second period, as Alex Rauter started the comeback, and Troy Josephs found the back of the net twice. Michael Phillips helped guarantee Wheeling a point with his power play goal in the final six minutes, and Nick Saracino secured the second point, stashing home his own rebound at 2:42 of overtime for the 5-4 triumph. The Nailers were 3-for-4 on the man advantage, and John Muse snagged his second win of the week with 20 saves.
This WeekWednesday, November 21st: Reading Royals @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.Before filling up with turkey and stuffing, the Nailers will try to fill their plates with two points on Wednesday night, as they welcome the Reading Royals to town for a Thanksgiving Eve showdown. Wheeling and Reading split a two-game series at Santander Arena during the final weekend of October, with the Nailers winning the opener, 3-2, and the Royals taking the second tilt, 5-2. Reading has had a unique start to the season, as its seven overtime games are tied for the most in the ECHL. However, the Royals have only won one of those matches, giving them a 5-4-6 record, which is good for fourth place in the North Division. Reading is winless in six straight games (0-3-3).
Saturday, November 24th: Toledo Walleye @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.The Nailers will have a chance to avenge their Education Day defeat 11 days later, as the Toledo Walleye make their return to WesBanco Arena on Saturday night. Wheeling is in search of its first victory of the season against a Central Division opponent, and nothing would make a bigger statement than knocking off the top dogs. Toledo has won ten straight games, and enters the week with the best points percentage in the ECHL, having gone 11-1-1. The Walleye won a pair of 2-1 decisions last week, edging Wheeling on Tuesday and Fort Wayne on Saturday, improving their divisional record to 7-0-1.
Sunday, November 25th: Cincinnati Cyclones @ WHEELING NAILERS, 3:05 p.m.Winning hockey has been a theme in Ohio to start the 2018-19 season, as the Cincinnati Cyclones are also off to a hot start, earning points in 12 of 15 games to go 10-3-2 for 22 points and a second place position in the Central Division. The Cyclones have gotten the better of the Nailers twice thus far this season, collecting identical 4-1 wins at U.S. Bank Arena. Wheeling will look to get on the board in the season set on Sunday with its first home clash against its closest geographical opponent. Last week, Cincinnati earned three wins, including the most lopsided game of the young year - a 9-0 thumping of Greenville on Tuesday morning.
Notes- The only previous time that Wheeling won three games in three days in three different road cities was February 10-12, 1995, when the Thunderbirds beat Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke.- Sunday's victory at Greenville was the 400th road win in team history.- The Nailers scored shorthanded goals on Friday and Saturday, giving them three on the season.- All three wins last week also resulted in season series wins, while improving Wheeling's record to 4-1-1 against the South Division.- Troy Josephs' natural hat trick was Wheeling's first since Johnny Daniels scored three goals in 57 seconds on March 11, 2017.- Yushiroh Hirano picked up his first career point with an assist on Tuesday, then scored his first career goal on Saturday.- Josephs and Nick Saracino recorded their 50th career points on Friday, while Dan Fick's three-point day on Sunday helped him eclipse 50 career points.
Central Division Standings1. Toledo Walleye 11-1-1-0, 23 pts.2. Cincinnati Cyclones 10-3-2-0, 22 pts.3. Indy Fuel 7-7-0-0, 14 pts.4. WHEELING NAILERS 5-6-1-0, 11 pts.5. Fort Wayne Komets 5-8-0-0, 10 pts.6. Kalamazoo Wings 4-7-0-1, 9 pts.
Team LeadersGoals: Troy Josephs- 11Assists: Kevin Spinozzi- 7Points: Troy Josephs- 14Penalty Minutes: Cedric Lacroix- 52Plus/Minus: Alex Rauter- +4Wins: John Muse- 4Goals Against Average: Matt O'Connor- 2.65Save Percentage: John Muse- .901
Next Big Promotional NightsWednesday, November 21st- Marvel Super Hero Night - Special Jerseys, Meet Marvel Characters, $2 BeersSaturday, December 15th- NailerMania - Wrestling Legend Mick Foley, Teddy Bear Toss, Wear Your Ugly SweaterFamily Four Packs are available for Marvel Super Hero Night and NailerMania. Fans can get four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald's meal vouchers for $60.
Next Five Home GamesWednesday, November 21st vs. Reading Royals, 7:05 p.m.Saturday, November 24th vs. Toledo Walleye, 7:05 p.m.Sunday, November 25th vs. Cincinnati Cyclones, 3:05 p.m.Friday, November 30th vs. Indy Fuel, 7:05 p.m.Saturday, December 1st vs. Kalamazoo Wings, 7:05 p.m.