Last WeekFriday, January 25th: Brampton Beast 6 @ WHEELING NAILERS 5The start of Friday night's game was a sign of things to come during the weekend, as the first of 31 goals was scored 3:30 into the contest by Brampton's Erik Bradford. After falling behind by two, Alec Butcher and Yushiroh Hirano drew the score even for the Nailers in the middle frame. Wheeling was never able to take a lead on the Beast, as the visitors responded quickly to ultimately pull ahead, 5-2. Zac Lynch, Troy Josephs, and Butcher attempted another comeback for Wheeling in the third period, but Anthony Beauregard's goal with 2:43 remaining was the difference in a 6-5 Brampton win.
Saturday, January 26th: Reading Royals 6 @ WHEELING NAILERS 5 (shootout)The first period of Saturday's clash with Reading looked like a blast from the past, as the two clubs exploded for seven goals in just over 17 minutes of action. Yushiroh Hirano and Cedric Lacroix put the Nailers ahead 2-0, but the Royals countered with four goals to take a 4-3 lead into the intermission. Michael Phillips' second marker of the night knotted the score, then Lacroix's second put Wheeling in the lead. However, Reading's Alex Roos forced overtime with 5:53 left in regulation, and the Royals prevailed on Chris McCarthy's strike in the third round of the shootout.
Sunday, January 27th: Fort Wayne Komets 5 @ WHEELING NAILERS 4The weekend concluded with the first of four straight divisional games for the Nailers, who hosted the Fort Wayne Komets. The two sides exchanged tallies in the first period, with Alex Rauter lighting the lamp for Wheeling. Cedric Lacroix gave the Nailers their first lead of the day in the middle stanza, but Fort Wayne responded with two goals, including the go-ahead marker by former Nailer J.C. Campagna. The Komets built a 5-2 lead in the third period, before Wheeling rallied to within a goal, thanks to Yushiroh Hirano and Zac Lynch. The Nailers came close to an equalizer, but fell short in a 5-4 final.
This WeekFriday, February 1st: Indy Fuel @ WHEELING NAILERS, 7:05 p.m.While there are only two games on the schedule this weekend, both carry great significance, starting on Friday night, when the Indy Fuel visit WesBanco Arena. Indy is currently tied for third place in the Central Division with Fort Wayne, holding a four-point lead over the Nailers. Last week, the Fuel picked up back-to-back wins over the Komets and Wings, before Kalamazoo exacted some revenge on Saturday night. Indy continues to be red hot at home (4-0-2 in the last seven) and pretty chilly on the road (1-4-1 in the last six), and Wheeling will hope to keep that trend going, while building on a 4-1-0 record at home in the season series. The Nailers swept a two-game set from the Fuel on January 12th and 13th.
Saturday, February 2nd: Kalamazoo Wings @ WHEELING NAILERS, 8:05 p.m.Two teams with nearly identical records will clash on Saturday night, as the Nailers battle the Kalamazoo Wings. Wheeling leads Kalamazoo by one point in the Central Division, but the Wings have been playing well as of late, going 5-2-1 in their last eight games. Last week, Kalamazoo posted a 2-1-0 record, edging Rapid City in overtime on Friday, before splitting with the Fuel. The Nailers are looking for their first win of the season against the Wings, who have come out on top four times. Former Wheeling forward Reid Gardiner has been a big reason for Kalamazoo's success, scoring five goals in three games.
Notes- Cedric Lacroix, Michael Phillips, and Alex Rauter all reached double digits in goals last weekend, giving the Nailers nine players with at least ten goals this season.- Wheeling has scored at least one power play goal in seven consecutive games.- Yushiroh Hirano and Michael Phillips lead all ECHL rookies with seven power play goals each.- The Nailers lead the league in power play goals (42) and shorthanded goals (13).- Zac Lynch and Yushiroh Hirano are both on eight-game point streaks.
Central Division Standings1. Cincinnati Cyclones 27-8-3-3, 60 pts.2. Toledo Walleye 26-10-3-3, 58 pts.3. Indy Fuel 22-19-2-1, 47 pts.4. Fort Wayne Komets 22-17-1-2, 47 pts.5. WHEELING NAILERS 20-20-2-1, 43 pts.6. Kalamazoo Wings 20-20-0-2, 42 pts.
Team LeadersGoals: Troy Josephs- 20Assists: Zac Lynch- 32Points: Zac Lynch- 45Penalty Minutes: Cedric Lacroix- 131Plus/Minus: Nick Saracino- +17Wins: Matt O'Connor- 8Goals Against Average: Matt O'Connor- 3.04Save Percentage: Matt O'Connor- .898Shutouts: John Muse & Matt O'Connor- 1
Next Big Promotional NightSaturday, February 16th - Country Roads
Next Five Home GamesFriday, February 1st vs. Indy Fuel, 7:05 p.m.Saturday, February 2nd vs. Kalamazoo Wings, 8:05 p.m.Tuesday, February 5th vs. Cincinnati Cyclones, 7:05 p.m.Wednesday, February 13th vs. Reading Royals, 7:05 p.m.Friday, February 15th vs. Brampton Beast, 7:05 p.m.