Last WeekFriday, December 7th: Fort Wayne Komets 5 @ WHEELING NAILERS 4Two seasons ago, the Wheeling Nailers rallied back from a four-goal deficit to defeat the Fort Wayne Komets, and they nearly achieved that feat again on Friday night. Fort Wayne flew out to a 4-0 lead in the first period, before Wheeling battled back with goals from Zac Lynch, Alex Rauter, and Nick Saracino in the middle frame. The biggest tally of the contest came 22 seconds after Saracino's, when Phelix Martineau drilled in the rebound of Jake Kamrass' shot for a 5-3 Komets advantage. Cam Brown trimmed the deficit to one, and the Nailers rang a shot off the post in the closing minutes, as Fort Wayne hung on for the 5-4 win.
Saturday, December 8th: WHEELING NAILERS 5 @ Toledo Walleye 2One of the most difficult places to win in the ECHL is Toledo, Ohio, but the Nailers were up for the challenge on Saturday night, taking two points home with them. The two sides exchanged goals in the first period, with Michael Phillips striking for Wheeling. The Walleye took their lone lead of the evening in the early stages of the middle stanza, before back-to-back power play goals by Cam Brown and Michael Phillips put the visitors ahead for good. Nick Saracino and Winston Day Chief tacked on insurance in the third period, while former Toledo goaltender Jordan Ruby made 28 saves to earn his first victory with the Nailers.
Sunday, December 9th: Indy Fuel 1 @ WHEELING NAILERS 5Riding the momentum of the previous night's triumph, the Nailers came out ready to run on Sunday afternoon, as they smacked down the Indy Fuel for the second week in a row. Nick Saracino and Cam Brown turned in phenomenal individual performances, as Saracino posted a five-point game, while Brown dished out four assists, helping build a 5-0 lead on home ice. Joining in on the fun were Yushiroh Hirano, who scored his first goal at WesBanco Arena, and Craig Skudalski, who netted his first career goal in the ECHL. Once again, Jordan Ruby was solid between the pipes, turning away 29 of 30 shots for his second straight win.
This WeekWednesday, December 12th: Allen Americans @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.Fans in Wheeling have been waiting for this game for over two seasons, since the Nailers and Americans clashed in the 2016 Kelly Cup Final. However, only four players remain from that series - Wheeling's Dan Fick and Allen's Spencer Asuchak, David Makowski, and Casey Pierro-Zabotel. The Americans are a far cry of what they were then, as they are off to their worst start in their ten-year history, going 6-18-2 in 26 games. Allen's struggles have been on both sides of the puck, as the team ranks 25th in goals scored and last in goals against. Makowski and Pierro-Zabotel are joined by Mike Gunn as the three former Nailers currently playing for the Americans.
Friday, December 14th: WHEELING NAILERS @ Kalamazoo Wings, 7:30 p.m.Two big divisional points will be on the line Friday night, when the Nailers look for their first win in three tries against the Kalamazoo Wings. The two previous matches between the clubs were vastly different from each other, as Kalamazoo won a high-scoring 6-4 tilt at home, before defending its way to a 2-0 decision at WesBanco Arena. The Nailers and Wings are currently tied for fifth place in the Central Division, trailing Indy by three points for the fourth and final playoff spot. Last week, Kalamazoo posted a 2-1-0 record, beating Indy and Tulsa, before falling to Cincinnati.
Saturday, December 15th: Norfolk Admirals @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.The Wheeling Nailers and Norfolk Admirals will get to know each other quite well in the next two weeks, with four collisions on the slate. Saturday will be the lone visit to Wheeling for the Admirals, who lost all three of their road games against the Nailers last season. However, Norfolk has the lead in this year's set, thanks to a 5-3 victory on opening night. The Admirals started off the 2018-19 season strong with wins in eight of 11 games, but have struggled lately, dropping nine of their last 13 matches. Last week, Norfolk suffered three straight home losses at the hands of the Manchester Monarchs.
Sunday, December 16th: Fort Wayne Komets @ WHEELING NAILERS, 3:05 p.m.Nine days after their last meeting, the Nailers and Komets clash again at WesBanco Arena. Last Friday, the two teams battled for the first time this season, with Fort Wayne pulling out a 5-4 victory on the road. Similar to Wheeling, Fort Wayne posted a 2-1-0 record last week, as it lost 5-2 at home to Indy, before snagging a 3-2 overtime win against Tulsa. Phelix Martineau scored both game winning goals for the Komets, giving him three on the season. Former Nailer J.C. Campagna led Fort Wayne with two goals in last Friday's game, bringing his season total to a team-best 13.
Notes- Five different players recorded points in all three games last weekend - Cam Brown, Winston Day Chief, Zac Lynch, Michael Phillips, and Nick Saracino.- Michael Phillips accumulated five points on the power play, giving him the team lead with nine power play points on the season.- The Nailers scored at least one power play goal in all three games last weekend, going 6-for-12, as their season percentage (22.4%) climbed to the top spot in the ECHL.- Jordan Ruby stopped 73 of 77 shots, playing in eight of nine periods.- Nick Saracino's five-point game on Sunday was the second of his pro career, and the first by a Nailer since Adam Krause on December 16, 2016.- Cam Brown's four-assist game on Sunday was the first by a Nailer since Kevin Schulze on November 15, 2016.
Central Division Standings1. Cincinnati Cyclones 15-5-2-1, 33 pts.2. Toledo Walleye 15-5-2-0, 32 pts.3. Fort Wayne Komets 12-10-0-0, 24 pts.4. Indy Fuel 11-12-0-0, 22 pts.5. WHEELING NAILERS 9-11-1-0, 19 pts.6. Kalamazoo Wings 9-11-0-1, 19 pts.
Team LeadersGoals: Troy Josephs- 12Assists: Cam Brown- 14Points: Nick Saracino- 22Penalty Minutes: Cedric Lacroix- 72Plus/Minus: Troy Josephs- +6Wins: John Muse- 4Goals Against Average: John Muse- 2.98Save Percentage: John Muse- .892
Next Big Promotional NightSaturday, December 15th- NailerMania - WWE Hall of Famer 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, December 12th vs. Allen Americans, 7:05 p.m.Saturday, December 15th vs. Norfolk Admirals, 7:05 p.m.Sunday, December 16th vs. Fort Wayne Komets, 3:05 p.m.Monday, December 31st vs. Reading Royals, 6:05 p.m.Thursday, January 3rd vs. Toledo Walleye, 7:05 p.m.