Last WeekWednesday, December 12th: Allen Americans 1 @ WHEELING NAILERS 3Although the players on the ice were significantly different than the ones that played in the 2016 Kelly Cup Final, Wednesday's win was still very satisfying for the Wheeling Nailers and their fans, as they defeated the Allen Americans, 3-1. Wheeling's Yushiroh Hirano and Allen's Zach Pochiro exchanged goals in the opening two periods, before the Nailers scored twice in the final frame to go ahead for good. Nick Saracino snapped the 1-1 deadlock on the power play, and Kevin Spinozzi followed 2:14 after that. Jordan Ruby made 26 saves to earn his third win in as many starts.
Friday, December 14th: WHEELING NAILERS 3 @ Kalamazoo Wings 4 (overtime)Resiliency was the name of the game on Friday for the Nailers, who overcame a pair of deficits and nearly skated away with a win. After falling behind 2-0 in the opening six minutes of play, Wheeling battled back to even the score, as Kevin Spinozzi slammed home a shot from the top of the left circle, and Cedric Lacroix turned the tables on Kalamazoo with a shorthanded goal. The Wings regained the lead in the late stages of period two, but the Nailers got a key goal with 6:32 left in regulation from Michael Phillips to gain a point and force overtime. However, the extra point went to the Wings, as former Nailer Reid Gardiner ended the contest at the 1:28 mark of the bonus session.
Saturday, December 15th: Norfolk Admirals 1 @ WHEELING NAILERS 5One of the most anticipated goals of the season took just 2:19 to occur on Saturday night, as Zac Lynch's shorthanded marker sent tons of stuffed animals onto the ice at WesBanco Arena. That was far from the only celebration of the night for the home team, as Cam Brown dented the twine a pair of times, en route to his second four-point game in seven days. Kevin Spinozzi and Yushiroh Hirano joined in on the fun, as the Nailers put up five goals on 44 shots against the Norfolk Admirals. Matt O'Connor earned the win with 37 saves in his return to the crease.
Sunday, December 16th: Fort Wayne Komets 3 @ WHEELING NAILERS 6The week concluded just how it started for the Nailers, who extended their home winning streak to four games, while extending their point streak to six games, thanks to a 6-3 triumph over the Fort Wayne Komets. Most of the offense came during the opening stanza, when Wheeling jumped out to a 4-2 lead on tallies by Nick Saracino, Cam Brown, and Renars Krastenbergs (2). The Komets trimmed the margin down to one during the second period, but Brown's insurance strike with 6:10 remaining in the third period helped put the visitors away. Zac Lynch tacked on an empty netter, while Matt O'Connor stopped 35 of 38 shots to improve to 4-1-0 in his last five decisions.
This WeekWednesday, December 19th, Friday, December 21st, Saturday, December 22nd: WHEELING NAILERS @ Norfolk Admirals, all 7:00 p.m.Season series bragging rights will be on the line this week, as the Nailers travel to Norfolk Scope to face the Admirals three times, closing out their five-game season set. Both teams have earned one win on home ice, as Norfolk opened the year with a 5-3 victory, before Wheeling answered with a 5-1 triumph last Saturday. The teams have been headed in opposite directions as of late, as the Nailers have earned points in six straight games, pulling to within one point of a tie for third place in the Central Division, while the Admirals have lost six straight matches, falling into fifth place in the South Division. The home team has won ten of 14 tilts between the two clubs since Norfolk returned to the ECHL in 2015.
Notes- Saturday's teddy bear toss goal by Zac Lynch was Wheeling's fastest in the last seven seasons, besting Morgan Ellis' 2014 mark by 1:37.- The Nailers have killed off 21 off 22 opposition power plays in the last four games, while scoring three shorthanded goals in the last seven contests.- Sunday's game was Dan Fick's 217th game as a Nailer, pulling him into a fourth place tie for the most in club history, along with 2016 Eastern Conference Champion teammate Paul Cianfrini.- Cam Brown and Nick Saracino have both posted points in seven straight games, recording 18 and 15 points respectively, which are the highest totals in the ECHL this month.- After starting the season 1-5-0, Wheeling has gone 11-6-2 in its last 19 games, climbing above .500 for the first time this year.- The Nailers have scored three or more goals in 14 of their last 16 games, while holding the opposition to less than three goals on nine occasions during that span.
Central Division Standings1. Cincinnati Cyclones 18-5-2-1, 39 pts.2. Toledo Walleye 17-5-2-0, 36 pts.3. Kalamazoo Wings 13-11-0-1, 27 pts.4. Fort Wayne Komets 13-11-0-1, 27 pts.5. WHEELING NAILERS 12-11-2-0, 26 pts.6. Indy Fuel 13-12-0-0, 26 pts.
Team LeadersGoals: Troy Josephs- 12Assists: Cam Brown- 19Points: Nick Saracino- 29Penalty Minutes: Cedric Lacroix- 78Plus/Minus: Nick Saracino- +13Wins: John Muse & Matt O'Connor- 4Goals Against Average: Matt O'Connor- 2.86Save Percentage: Matt O'Connor- .903
Next Big Promotional NightsMonday, December 31st - New Year's Eve & Star Wars NightSaturday, January 12th - Nickelodeon Night Featuring SpongeBob & Patrick, Scout Night
Next Five Home GamesMonday, December 31st vs. Reading Royals, 6:05 p.m.Thursday, January 3rd vs. Toledo Walleye, 7:05 p.m.Friday, January 11th vs. Utah Grizzlies, 7:05 p.m.Saturday, January 12th vs. Indy Fuel, 7:05 p.m.Sunday, January 13th vs. Indy Fuel, 3:05 p.m.