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Nailers at Fuel Game Day Snap Shot, Jan. 4

Friday, January 4th
Nailers at Fuel Game Day Snap Shot, Jan. 4

WHEELING NAILERS(16-14-2-0, 34 PTS, T-4th Central, T-9th West)113 GF, 101 GAPP: 22.2% (30-for-135), 3rdPK: 83.6% (122-for-146), 15th

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

27-F-Zac Lynch (9 goals, 18 assists, 27 points in 32 games)4-F-Alex Rauter (7 goals, 15 assists, 22 points in 25 games)10-F-Troy Josephs (14 goals, 6 assists, 20 points in 15 games)9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (6 goals, 13 assists, 19 points in 27 games)12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points in 25 games)23-F-Michael Phillips (8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points in 32 games)31-G-Jordan Ruby (3-1-1 record, 2.77 GAA, .903 Sv% in 6 games)

INDY FUEL(17-15-0-0, 34 PTS, T-4th Central, T-9th West)107 GF, 113 GAPP: 15.2% (21-for-138), T-19thPK: 83.3% (115-for-138), 17th

NHL Affiliate: Chicago BlackhawksAHL Affiliate: Rockford IceHogs

24-F-Josh Shalla (12 goals, 17 assists, 29 points in 29 games)22-F-Ryan Rupert (9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points in 32 games)10-F-Kevin Dufour (16 goals, 10 assists, 26 points in 30 games)13-F-Olivier Labelle (11 goals, 15 assists, 26 points in 30 games)20-F-Matt Rupert (14 goals, 11 assists, 25 points in 32 games)17-D-Alex Brooks (3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points in 29 games)30-G-Matt Tomkins (13-10-0 record, 3.19 GAA, .906 Sv% in 24 games)

Head-to-HeadSeason Series: Nailers 2, Fuel 2Season Series at Indiana Farmers Coliseum: Fuel 1, Nailers 0All-Time Series: Nailers 9, Fuel 9All-Time Series at Indiana Farmers Coliseum: Fuel 5, Nailers 4

Road Teams Continue to RollThe Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye played the fourth game of their season series on Thursday night, and for the fourth time in a row, it was the road team who celebrated a victory. Toledo netted the lone goal in the first period, as Greg Wolfe battled through a check to convert on a power play. The Nailers pulled even at the 1:19 mark of the middle frame, when Renars Krastenbergs tipped Aaron Titcomb's point shot into the top of the cage. Special teams played a big part in the contest, as the Walleye converted on three of four chances with the man advantage, while also collecting a 4-on-4 marker. Matt Register, Shane Berschbach, Jordan Topping, and TJ Hensick built a 5-1 lead for the visitors, before Troy Josephs' one-timer from the right circle brought Wheeling back within three. Hensick added an empty netter late, as Toledo prevailed, 6-2. Kaden Fulcher made 33 saves in the win for the Walleye, defeating John Muse, who had 16 stops for the Nailers.

Komets Shoot Through IndyThe Indy Fuel suffered their third loss in four games to their in-state rivals, the Fort Wayne Komets, on Thursday night. Justin Hodgman got Fort Wayne going right out of the gates, scoring 1:36 into the contest. The Fuel knotted the score in the opening minutes of the middle stanza, as Logan Nelson connected for an unassisted tally. Despite a 15-14 shots advantage for Indy, the rest of the second period belonged to the Komets, who got an even strength goal and a power play marker from J.C. Campagna to skate ahead, 3-1. Mason Baptista tacked on one more insurance goal in the third period for Fort Wayne, who got 33 saves from Zachary Fucale in his return after playing for Team Canada in the Spengler Cup. Matt Tomkins turned away 36 of 40 shots in the losing effort for the Fuel.

Tight Standings for Divisional WeekendAll six Central Division clubs will be playing divisional match-ups both Friday and Saturday nights, as big points will be on the line. Cincinnati and Toledo are separated by just one point at the top of the group, while Fort Wayne, Wheeling, Indy, and Kalamazoo have four points separating themselves from third place to sixth place. The Nailers and Fuel will clash on Friday with fourth place at stake, as both squads enter play with 34 points. The winning club could even make the climb up to third, with the Komets visiting the Cyclones. Despite being two games over .500 overall, Wheeling has struggled against the Central Division this season, posting a 5-11-1 record in 17 tilts. The Nailers will play within the division in four of their next five games, and 65% of the remaining schedule (26 of 40 games) is against Central Division foes.

Trends Telling the StoryGreg Wolfe's opening goal en route to a Toledo win made for 15 consecutive games involving the Nailers in which the team scoring first went on to earn the victory. 24 of Wheeling's 32 games have been decided in favor of the team that lights the lamp first, which is a 75% success rate - 1.5% higher than the league average. Florida and Tulsa are both unbeaten in regulation when scoring first, while Atlanta is the only team in the ECHL with a losing record when taking a 1-0 lead. Another stat that played a key role in deciding a winner on Thursday was special teams, as the Walleye went 3-for-4 on the power play, while the Nailers were 1-for-4. The team that has won the power play battle has been victorious in 17 of 20 matches, which amounts to an .850 winning percentage. Power play goals have been tied 12 times, including seven games in which a goal wasn't scored with a man advantage.

Looking to Split in Their RinkFriday night marks the fifth of 11 head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Fuel this season, as well as the second and final battle at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Indy came out on top 5-2 in its lone home match of the set last Thursday, after Wheeling won two of three tilts at WesBanco Arena. The Nailers have earned one win in Indianapolis during each of the Fuel's first four years in the ECHL, and will need a win on Friday to make it five straight. All four games thus far this season have been decided by at least two goals, including a couple of four-goal decisions in Wheeling's favor. Zac Lynch is the active leader in the set for the Nailers with five points, while Indy has received four goals from Kevin Dufour and five points from former Nailer Josh Shalla. The Fuel will play two games in Nail City next weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

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