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Nailers vs. Royals Game Day Snap Shot, Jan. 26

Saturday, January 26th
Nailers vs. Royals Game Day Snap Shot, Jan. 26

WHEELING NAILERS(20-19-2-0, 42 PTS, 5th Central, T-8th West)144 GF, 134 GAPP: 21.9% (39-for-178), 2ndPK: 82.3% (153-for-186), 19th

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

27-F-Zac Lynch (12 goals, 29 assists, 41 points in 41 games)10-F-Troy Josephs (20 goals, 13 assists, 33 points in 24 games)9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (11 goals, 19 assists, 30 points in 36 games)4-F-Alex Rauter (9 goals, 21 assists, 30 points in 34 games)12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (12 goals, 13 assists, 25 points in 34 games)23-F-Michael Phillips (9 goals, 16 assists, 25 points in 41 games)30-G-Matt O'Connor (8-4-1 record, 2.86 GAA, .904 Sv% in 14 games)

READING ROYALS(17-14-3-5, 42 PTS, T-5th North, T-9th East)118 GF, 124 GAPP: 17.7% (26-for-147), 13thPK: 78.8% (108-for-137), 24th

NHL Affiliate: Philadelphia FlyersAHL Affiliate: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

3-F-Chris McCarthy (9 goals, 29 assists, 38 points in 39 games)14-F-Adam Schmidt (12 goals, 16 assists, 28 points in 39 games)21-F-Frank DiChiara (11 goals, 10 assists, 21 points in 38 games)29-F-Jack Riley (5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points in 34 games)25-D-Nick Luukko (4 goals, 11 assists, 15 points in 39 games)16-F-Alex Roos (7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points in 22 games)30-G-Andrew D'Agostini (3-0-1 record, 2.07 GAA, .934 Sv% in 5 games)

Head-to-HeadSeason Series: Nailers 3, Royals 2Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 1, Royals 1All-Time Series: Royals 98, Nailers 79All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Royals 44, Nailers 43

Almost a Case of Last Goal WinsThe Wheeling Nailers and Brampton Beast played a high-scoring game that went right down to the final buzzer on Friday night. Brampton's Erik Bradford opened the scoring with back-to-back goals in the first period, but the Nailers were able to pull even on shots from the left side by Alec Butcher and Yushiroh Hirano. The Beast had a quick response, as they regained the lead 59 seconds later on a snipe under the crossbar from David Vallorani. Nathan Todd and Daniel Ciampini extended the Brampton advantage, before Wheeling rallied back to within one on tallies by Zac Lynch and Troy Josephs. The deciding goal was scored with 2:43 remaining, as Anthony Beauregard twirled in a shot from the left circle, which made for a 6-4 score at the time. The final ended up 6-5, as Butcher potted his second of the night into the top of the cage.

An Extra Day of All-Star BreakThe Reading Royals got an extra day to relax during the All-Star Break, as they will take the ice for the first time since last Saturday, when the Nailers were victorious, 4-3 at Santander Arena. Josh MacDonald recorded the opening goal for Reading, which ultimately created Wheeling's second comeback win against the Royals this season. The home squad also took a lead in the second period, when Tyler Brown netted his first marker of the season with a drive down the right side. However, the rest of the middle frame belonged to the Nailers, who pulled ahead on strikes by Cedric Lacroix, Renars Krastenbergs, and Troy Josephs. The contest became tied in the third period, before Josephs converted on a shorthanded breakaway with 7:23 remaining to put Wheeling into the win column. The loss was the fifth in a row for Reading.

Playing by the RulesOnly one penalty was called against the Nailers in Friday night's game, and it came from a fight, as Renars Krastenbergs dropped the gloves for the first time in his career, challenging Austin McEneny. Of course, that meant that Wheeling didn't have to kill a single minor in the contest, while it posted a 1-for-4 mark on the man advantage. That was the second time in as many seasons that the Nailers had a game without a penalty kill, as two fighting majors were the only penalties assessed to them on December 29, 2017 in Fort Wayne. The last time Wheeling wasn't awarded a power play in a match was March 7, 2018 at home against Worcester. The team that did not have a man advantage won all three of those contests. The Nailers enter Saturday with at least one power play goal in five straight tilts.

Fresh Legs in the CreaseBoth anticipating starting goaltenders on Saturday will be hungry to return to the crease, and put forth a strong performance for their teams. For Wheeling, Matt O'Connor makes his first start since January 12th, when he made 21 saves on 23 shots in a 3-2 victory over the Indy Fuel. WesBanco Arena has treated O'Connor very well as of late, as he has won each of his last four home starts to go 4-1-1 in Nail City this season. The Royals will turn to Andrew D'Agostini for the first time since January 5th, when he stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced, but suffered a 2-1 overtime defeat at Manchester. That was just the second game of the month for D'Agostini, who shared a shutout with Callum Booth the previous night. When the Nailers traveled to Reading last weekend, they faced Branden Komm, who was playing in just his fourth game between the AHL and ECHL since early November. These will be the sixth and seventh goaltenders to play in the season series.

A New King Against the RoyalsSaturday night marks the sixth of head head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Royals this season, as well as the third of four battles at WesBanco Arena. After falling behind 2-1 in the set, Wheeling has stormed into the lead, earning a 4-0 home triumph on New Year's Eve, before edging Reading 4-3 on the road last Saturday. The Nailers can guarantee themselves at least a split in the set with one more victory. Last Saturday's hero was Troy Josephs, who tallied two goals, including the game winner, giving him the lead in the series with four goals, three assists, and seven points in five games. Last season, Troy posted five points in six games against the Royals, raising his career totals to 12 points in 11 clashes. Reading is led by Chris McCarthy's six points. The Royals will make their final visit to Wheeling on February 13th.

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