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Nailers vs. Royals Game Day Snap Shot, Dec. 31

Monday, December 31st
Nailers vs. Royals Game Day Snap Shot, Dec. 31

WHEELING NAILERS(15-13-2-0, 32 PTS, T-4th Central, T-10th West)107 GF, 95 GAPP: 21.8% (27-for-124), 3rdPK: 84.8% (117-for-138), 10th

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

27-F-Zac Lynch (9 goals, 15 assists, 24 points in 30 games)4-F-Alex Rauter (6 goals, 15 assists, 21 points in 23 games)10-F-Troy Josephs (12 goals, 6 assists, 18 points in 13 games)5-D-Dan Fick (3 goals, 15 assists, 18 points in 30 games)23-F-Michael Phillips (8 goals, 9 assists 17 points in 30 games)9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points in 25 games)1-G-John Muse (4-5-0 record, 2.98 GAA, .892 Sv% in 9 games)

READING ROYALS(15-8-2-5, 37 PTS, T-3rd North, T-4th East)104 GF, 100 GAPP: 18.6% (22-for-118), 10thPK: 78.1% (82-for-105), 25th

NHL Affiliate: Philadelphia FlyersAHL Affiliate: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

3-F-Chris McCarthy (8 goals, 23 assists, 31 points in 30 games)86-F-Josh MacDonald (15 goals, 11 assists, 26 points in 30 games)14-F-Adam Schmidt (9 goals, 15 assists, 24 points in 30 games)21-F-Frank DiChiara (8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points in 29 games)29-F-Jack Riley (5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points in 25 games)25-D-Nick Luukko (4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points in 30 games)1-G-Callum Booth (5-1-1 record, 3.11 GAA, .889 Sv% in 7 games)

Head-to-HeadSeason Series: Royals 2, Nailers 1Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Royals 1, Nailers 0All-Time Series: Royals 98, Nailers 77All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Royals 44, Nailers 42

A Little Bit of EverythingThe Wheeling Nailers and Kalamazoo Wings played a wild game on Friday night, as the two teams combined for 11 goals and 106 penalty minutes. Kalamazoo built an early advantage, scoring three times in the first period and once in the second to go ahead 4-1. The Nailers got their opening goal on a late first period power play, courtesy of Alex Rauter. With less than three minutes left in the middle frame, Wheeling received another man advantage, and made it pay off with a big gamble. The Nailers pulled their goaltender for a 6-on-4, allowing Michael Phillips to light the lamp. That gave the visitors a jolt, as Mark Petaccio scored 47 seconds later, and Phillips knotted the contest 22 seconds after that. Cedric Lacroix put Wheeling in the lead at the 7:49 mark of the third period, but former Nailer Reid Gardiner ruined the fun, tying the game for Kalamazoo with 5:50 left, then netting the game winner on a power play with 9.5 seconds on the clock, as the Wings prevailed, 6-5 on home ice.

The Dogs Have Their DayThe Reading Royals took aim at back-to-back wins over the Newfoundland Growlers on Saturday night, and the tilt started out strong for the home side, as Joe Houk and Adam Schmidt scored 55 seconds apart from each other during the opening five minutes of play. Newfoundland put together a late rally to square the game before the first intermission, as Zach O'Brien and Alex Gudbranson found the back of the net. Alex Roos put the Royals back on top at the 6:26 mark of the second stanza, but once again, the Growlers had an answer, as Marcus Power connected during the final minute of the period. The third period and overtime weren't able to decide a winner, so a shootout was necessary. Frank DiChiara and Sam Babintsev exchanged goals in round one, before Callum Booth and Michael Garteig shut down the shooters in rounds two, three, and four. Power turned out to be the hero in the fifth round, as he put Newfoundland into the win column, following Garteig's denial of Jack Riley for the 4-3 final.

Our New Year's TraditionNew Year's Eve hockey in Downtown Wheeling has been a staple since the Thunderbirds arrived on the scene in 1992. This season will be the 25th time in 27 years that Wheeling plays a home game on December 31st, with the two exceptions being 2010 (4-1 win at Gwinnett) and 2014 (off day). The Nailers and Thunderbirds have combined to go 14-7-4 on the final day of the calendar year, which of course means a 13-7-4 mark at WesBanco Arena. Last year, Wheeling fell 3-2 to the Indy Fuel, but was victorious in 2016 with a 5-2 decision against the Elmira Jackals. Reading has been the opponent twice on New Year's Eve, and the Royals spoiled the party both times in 2011 and 2013. There has been one hat trick on New Year's Eve, and it was actually a four-goal game by Darren Schwartz in 1998 against the Roanoke Express. The Wheeling Hockey Hall of Famer and ECHL Hall of Famer will be at the game on Monday evening.

Rookies Rising to the OccasionAs top players get promoted to the American Hockey League, the Nailers look for more players to continue to raise their games, and on Friday night in Kalamazoo, it was the rookies who took the stage in a big way. Alex Rauter had the best performance of his young professional career, tallying four points with a goal and three assists. Michael Phillips also set season and career highs for himself, notching three points with two goals and one assist. Mark Petaccio was playing in his second career ECHL game, and he quickly made his way onto the scoresheet with a goal, becoming the tenth different Wheeling player to score his first ECHL goal this year. Cedric Lacroix also turned on the red light, while Yushiroh Hirano and Renars Krastenbergs factored in with helpers, giving Nailers rookies 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) on the night. By league standards, Wheeling currently has 16 rookies on its 23-man roster.

They're Here for the HolidaysMonday night marks the fourth of eight head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Royals this season, as well as the second of four battles at WesBanco Arena. Reading's last visit to town came on Thanksgiving Eve, which was also Marvel Super Hero Night, and the Royals activated their powers in a 5-1 triumph. Prior to that, the two historical rivals split a weekend set in Pennsylvania, with Wheeling earning its first win of the year, 3-2 in a shootout. Both teams have a former member of the opposition on their rosters, as John Muse is expected to make his fourth start against Reading, while Tyler Bird started the year with the Nailers, and has since posted one assist in four games with the Royals. Wheeling is hoping to end an eight-game point streak for Reading in Nail City, with the last home regulation win for the Nailers having taken place on November 11, 2016. The next clash between these foes will be January 19th in Reading to close out a three-game road trip for Wheeling.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Bloomington Bison
Wheeling Nailers
Saturday, November 2nd
Bloomington Bison @ Wheeling Nailers
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EDT
WesBanco Arena
Bloomington Bison
BLM Bloomington Bison
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
Wheeling Nailers
Friday, November 8th
Trois-Rivières Lions @ Wheeling Nailers
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EST
WesBanco Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
TR Trois-Rivières Lions
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
Wheeling Nailers
Saturday, November 9th
Trois-Rivières Lions @ Wheeling Nailers
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EST
WesBanco Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
TR Trois-Rivières Lions
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena

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