Last WeekWednesday, February 13th: Reading Royals 2 @ WHEELING NAILERS 5The Wheeling Nailers started an important three-game homestand with a Wednesday tilt against the Reading Royals. The teams played to a 2-2 tie into the early stages of the third period, with Renars Krastenbergs and Kevin Spinozzi tallying the goals for the Nailers. At the 5:19 mark of the final frame, Dan Fick put Wheeling ahead for good, following a battle behind the net by Alex Rauter, then a perfect pass from Trevor Yates. Alec Butcher added an insurance goal, and Cam Brown put the finishing touches on the 5-2 victory with an empty netter. Jordan Ruby played a huge role in the win, making a career-high 43 saves.
Friday, February 15th: Brampton Beast 4 @ WHEELING NAILERS 5 (overtime)Both teams led by two goals during Friday's game, which ultimately needed overtime to decide a winner. The Beast got off to the quick start, scoring twice in the opening 5:30 of play. The Nailers rallied back to tie things up in the second period, as Renars Krastenbergs and Cedric Lacroix both lit the lamp. Wheeling carried that momentum into the third, as Alec Butcher put the team in front for the first time, and Lacroix followed with his second of the night. However, Brampton came up with a late surge, which included the tying goal in the last ten seconds. Overtime needed one shot to be decided, and that shot came from Butcher, as he buried a wide open shot in front of the net for his first career game winner.
Saturday, February 16th: Brampton Beast 2 @ WHEELING NAILERS 0After nine combined goals were scored on Friday, the Nailers and Beast took a more defensive approach in Saturday's rematch. The contest stayed scoreless until the 9:41 mark of the middle frame, when David Vallorani found the twine seven seconds into a Brampton power play. The 1-0 score held up until the closing minute of regulation, when Nathan Todd tossed in an empty netter for a 2-0 final. Etienne Marcoux made 23 saves for the shutout, while Jordan Ruby also played well between the pipes, turning away 22 of 23 shots for Wheeling.
Sunday, February 17th: WHEELING NAILERS 6 @ Fort Wayne Komets 5 (shootout)The biggest game of the week was Sunday, as the Nailers faced Fort Wayne with key divisional points on the line. After allowing the first goal, Wheeling put forth a huge rally, scoring four straight goals to build a 4-1 lead. Trevor Yates and Alec Butcher tallied 1:09 apart from each other in the first period, then Robbie Hall and Cedric Lacroix extended the advantage in the middle stanza. Zac Lynch collected what turned out to be a big goal in the third, as the Komets put four on the board to force overtime and eventually a shootout. Butcher was the hero in round three for the Nailers, as he secured the win on the final shot of the day. Jordan Ruby got the win in goal, making 42 saves during the game, then another two in the shootout.
This WeekThursday, February 21st: WHEELING NAILERS @ Cincinnati Cyclones, 7:35 p.m.Only one game is on the schedule this week for the Nailers, as they face the Cyclones at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday. Wheeling is 1-0-1 in its last two tilts against Cincinnati, coming back for a 3-2 win on November 25h, then earning a point in a 2-1 overtime defeat on February 5th. The Cyclones own the best overall record in the ECHL, as well as the top home mark, having lost in regulation just once this year on their home ice. Last week, Cincinnati won four games in five days, blanking Indy 5-0, sweeping a home-and-home set with Toledo 2-1 and 5-2, then rallying to edge Adirondack 5-4 in overtime. The Cyclones are 13-2-0 in their last 15 games.
Notes- The team that has allowed the tying goal has won ten of 12 overtime games involving the Nailers, including both last week.- Jordan Ruby set a career high with 43 saves on Wednesday, then made another 42 on Sunday, finishing the week by denying the opposition 131 times.- Jordan Ruby became the first goaltender since Eric Hartzell in March of 2015 to start all games in a stretch of four games in five days. Both netminders turned in 3-1-0 records.- Winston Day Chief collected his 200th career point on Wednesday, before appearing in his 300th professional game on Friday.- Robbie Hall scored his first ECHL goal on Sunday.
Central Division Standings1. Cincinnati Cyclones 36-9-3-3, 78 pts.2. Toledo Walleye 30-13-4-3, 67 pts.3. Kalamazoo Wings 26-21-1-2, 55 pts.4. Fort Wayne Komets 23-18-3-5, 54 pts.5. WHEELING NAILERS 24-23-5-1, 54 pts.6. Indy Fuel 25-24-2-1, 53 pts.
Team LeadersGoals: Troy Josephs- 21Assists: Zac Lynch- 37Points: Zac Lynch- 52Penalty Minutes: Cedric Lacroix- 174Plus/Minus: Nick Saracino- +17Wins: Matt O'Connor & Jordan Ruby- 8Goals Against Average: Jordan Ruby- 2.65Save Percentage: Jordan Ruby- .917Shutouts: John Muse & Matt O'Connor- 1
Next Big Promotional NightSaturday, March 2nd - Pittsburgh Penguins Night
Next Five Home GamesSaturday, March 2nd vs. Cincinnati Cyclones, 7:05 p.m.Sunday, March 3rd vs. Fort Wayne Komets, 3:05 p.m.Tuesday, March 12th vs. Indy Fuel, 10:45 a.m.Friday, March 22nd vs. Indy Fuel, 7:05 p.m.Friday, March 29th vs. Fort Wayne Komets, 7:05 p.m.