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Nailers vs. Wings Game Day Snap Shot, Feb. 2

Saturday, February 2nd
Nailers vs. Wings Game Day Snap Shot, Feb. 2

WHEELING NAILERS(20-20-3-1, 44 PTS, T-5th Central, T-9th West)155 GF, 148 GAPP: 22.2% (42-for-189), 3rdPK: 82.4% (159-for-193), 17th

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

27-F-Zac Lynch (13 goals, 32 assists, 45 points in 44 games)9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (13 goals, 22 assists, 35 points in 39 games)10-F-Troy Josephs (20 goals, 13 assists, 33 points in 27 games)4-F-Alex Rauter (10 goals, 23 assists, 33 points in 37 games)23-F-Michael Phillips (11 goals, 17 assists, 28 points in 44 games)28-D-Dane Birks (9 assists, 9 points in 39 games)1-G-John Muse (7-11-1 record, 3.40 GAA, .880 Sv% in 19 games)

KALAMAZOO WINGS(21-20-0-2, 44 PTS, T-5th Central, T-9th West)144 GF, 164 GAPP: 17.7% (32-for-181), 12thPK: 81.6% (155-for-190), 22nd

NHL Affiliate: Vancouver CanucksAHL Affiliate: Utica Comets

19-F-Reid Gardiner (21 goals, 23 assists, 44 points in 32 games)74-F-Tanner Sorenson (13 goals, 21 assists, 34 points in 26 games)24-F-Kyle Thomas (9 goals, 17 assists, 26 points in 32 games)7-D-Kyle Bushee (5 goals, 20 assists, 25 points in 42 games)18-F-Kyle Blaney (6 goals, 14 assists, 20 points in 34 games)17-D-Brandon Anselmini (1 goal, 15 assists, 16 points in 35 games)29-G-Jake Hildebrand (13-13-2 record, 3.67 GAA, .888 Sv% in 30 games)

Head-to-HeadSeason Series: Wings 4, Nailers 0Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Wings 1, Nailers 0All-Time Series: Wings 29, Nailers 27All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 15, Wings 13

Battled for a PointThe Wheeling Nailers earned a point for the second time during their season-long six-game homestand, as they and the Indy Fuel tussled their way to overtime in order to decide a winner. Wheeling's Alec Butcher scored the first goal of the evening, snapping in a shot from the slot, following a steal by Michael Phillips. With less than one minute remaining in the opening stanza, Mathew Thompson tied the match for the Fuel, before the visitors took the lead on a wrist shot by Robert Powers from the right circle. The lead lasted for just 30 seconds, before Winston Day Chief tapped in a feed from Aaron Titcomb. Goaltenders John Muse and Matt Tomkins stood tall during the third period, keeping the contest deadlocked, 2-2. At the 3:57 mark of overtime, Indy prevailed, as Kevin Dufour broke in alone, trickling a backhander in along the ice.

Stealing a Win in ToledoThe Kalamazoo Wings also went past regulation in their last game, as they traded blows with the Toledo Walleye. After a scoreless first period, Toledo took a 2-0 advantage on goals by TJ Hensick and Tyler Spezia. Tanner Sorenson put the Wings on the scoreboard during the final minute of the middle frame, before Tyler Ganly knotted things up at the 10:08 mark of the third period. Kalamazoo was forced to come from behind a second time, as Justin Kea put the Walleye back in front 1:24 after Ganly's equalizer. Kyle Thomas stepped up in a big way for the Wings, forcing overtime with a shorthanded strike during the final six minutes. The extra session was decided quickly, as it took Kyle Blaney just 21 seconds to beat Pat Nagle for the 4-3 Kalamazoo triumph. Jake Hildebrand made 32 saves in the win.

A Rare Positive Differential20 of the 27 teams in the ECHL have at least a .500 record, with everyone in the league having played at least 41 games. While that may sound like a strong number, the paths to those points have been rather unique. Six of the 20 clubs have negative goal differentials, one has an even goal differential, and one has scored one more goal than it has allowed. Despite having a record right at .500, with a mark of 20-20-4, the Nailers are on the positive side of the goal differential spectrum, as they have outscored their opponents 155-148 (+7). The Wings are one game over .500 at 21-20-2, but have the second largest goal differential in the negatives among those mentioned earlier, as they enter Saturday at -20. The best goal differential in the ECHL belongs to Florida (+72), who leads the league with 31 wins, while Greenville is in the basement in both wins (14) and goal differential (-61).

Time to Set the RecordOn Friday night, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins released defenseman Dan Fick from his professional tryout, returning him to the Nailers. During his time in the AHL, Fick appeared in one game, recording two penalty minutes and two shots on goal, as the Penguins were bested by the Hershey Bears, 5-3. That was the third career AHL match for Dan, who suited up in two games for the San Antonio Rampage in 2016-17. The Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota native has enjoyed a very successful career in Wheeling, and on Saturday night, he will make history, appearing in his 232nd game with the team, which will set a new record for the most all-time. Fick is currently tied with Stefan Brannare and Cliff Loya at 231 games. This will be the second record set against Kalamazoo in recent years, as Clark Donatelli broke Doug Sauter's record for wins by a head coach with a 4-1 home victory on March 13, 2015. Donatelli was the coach that first brought Dan to the Nailers.

Due to Beat ThemSaturday night marks the fifth of eight head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Wings this season, as well as the second of three battles at WesBanco Arena. Kalamazoo has gotten the upper hand against Wheeling thus far, winning each of the first four matches. However, all four have been extremely tight, with the last two being decided in overtime and in the final ten seconds of regulation. Both of those winning goals were scored by former Nailer Reid Gardiner, who has lit the lamp in all three tilts he has played against his old club. Gardiner's five goals are the most in the season series, while his teammate, Justin Taylor, has the points lead with seven. Taylor has missed eight straight games due to injury. Wheeling is led by Alex Rauter's five points and Michael Phillips' three goals. If the Nailers are looking to beat their 11th different opponent this season, with four other teams remaining on the docket.

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Saturday, November 2nd
Bloomington Bison @ Wheeling Nailers
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Trois-Rivières Lions @ Wheeling Nailers
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EST
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TR Trois-Rivières Lions
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Wheeling Nailers
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