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Nailers at Royals Game Day Snap Shot, Mar. 30

Saturday, March 30th
Nailers at Royals Game Day Snap Shot, Mar. 30

WHEELING NAILERS(30-29-6-2, 68 PTS, 6th Central, 10th West)227 GF, 222 GAPP: 20.5% (57-for-278), 5thPK: 80.5% (240-for-298), 21st

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

27-F-Zac Lynch (16 goals, 47 assists, 63 points in 62 games)9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (18 goals, 34 assists, 52 points in 62 games)12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (17 goals, 24 assists, 41 points in 57 games)14-F-Cedric Lacroix (21 goals, 18 assists, 39 points in 66 games)23-F-Michael Phillips (18 goals, 21 assists, 39 points in 67 games)22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (16 goals, 21 assists, 37 points in 39 games)31-G-Jordan Ruby (12-8-3 record, 2.81 GAA, .911 Sv% in 25 games)

READING ROYALS(30-26-4-6, 70 PTS, T-6th North, T-10th East)213 GF, 222 GAPP: 16.4% (42-for-256), 17thPK: 81.3% (183-for-225), 20th

NHL Affiliate: Philadelphia FlyersAHL Affiliate: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

3-F-Chris McCarthy (18 goals, 51 assists, 69 points in 68 games)86-F-Josh MacDonald (25 goals, 26 assists, 51 points in 58 games)14-F-Adam Schmidt (23 goals, 27 assists, 50 points in 68 games)21-F-Frank DiChiara (15 goals, 26 assists, 41 points in 67 games)23-F-Matt Pohlkamp (21 goals, 14 assists, 35 points in 64 games)25-D-Nick Luukko (8 goals, 21 assists, 29 points in 68 games)41-G-Jamie Phillips (23-11-3 record, 2.60 GAA, .904 Sv% in 38 games)

Head-to-HeadSeason Series: Nailers 4, Royals 3Season Series at Santander Arena: Nailers 2, Royals 1All-Time Series: Royals 99, Nailers 80All-Time Series at Santander Arena: Royals 54, Nailers 36

Biggest Comeback of the YearThe Wheeling Nailers had rallied from two-goal deficits to win three times this season, but on Friday night, they overcame a larger challenge, turning a 4-1 deficit into a 6-4 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets. Yushiroh Hirano opened the scoring for the Nailers, before Fort Wayne rattled off four straight markers by the midway mark of the second period. Wheeling's comeback was done in the blink of an eye, as the home team charged into the lead with four goals in 4:22. Zac Lynch struck first, breaking behind the defense, and shoveling in a backhander. Cedric Lacroix followed 2:01 later, tapping in a feed from Trevor Yates in the crease. The equalizer was scored 1:26 after that by Lucas Kohls, who was making his professional debut. Finally, Alec Butcher put the Nailers on top, redirecting Lynch's point shot. Winston Day Chief added an empty netter in the third, while Matt O'Connor matched Wheeling's season high with 43 saves. The Nailers handed Alex Dubeau his first regulation loss as a pro.

Their Surge Snatched SixThe Reading Royals surrendered the opening goal to Maine's Zeb Knutson on Friday night, but they were far from rattled, as they stormed back with six consecutive tallies to sink the Mariners, 6-2 at Santander Arena. Corey Mackin's first professional goal was the equalizer at the 8:22 mark of the first period, before the Royals turned to a pair of defensemen for a 3-1 lead, as Jacob Graves and Frank Hora dented the twine. Hora led all players with a +4 rating in the contest, while ultimately getting credit for the game winning strike. Michael Huntebrinker added one more goal in the middle frame, before Tyler Brown and Matt Pohlkamp applied the finishing touches in period three. Jamie Phillips made 36 saves, improving to 4-2-1 since being assigned to Reading from the AHL's Charlotte Checkers. Chris Nell was bested six times on 31 shots for Maine, before being replaced by Francois Brassard.

Loving Life in the 30'sConsistency has been a big part of Wheeling's game for the last decade, and on Friday night, the Nailers extended another note in the history books, as they earned their 30th victory of the season. This is the 11th consecutive year and 22nd time in 27 seasons that Wheeling has recorded at least 30 wins. Friday's triumph over Fort Wayne extended a second streak to 11 seasons, as the Nailers improved to 16-12-5 at WesBanco Arena, securing a winning record on home ice for the 24th time. There are still two more streaks that Wheeling is hoping reach 11 straight years - the Nailers need two more points to reach 70 and five points to guarantee a winning record for the season. On the other side of the ice, the Royals have a significant streak on the line, as they have qualified for the playoffs in nine consecutive campaigns, but currently sit three points back of Maine for the final position, with the Mariners holding two games in hand.

Milestones for the Young and the ExperiencedFour different players hit offensive milestones in Friday night's win for the Nailers, who scored at least five goals in a game for the 23rd time this season. The first player to reach a milestone was Phil Johansson, who had the lead assist on Yushiroh Hirano's opening tally. Johansson was one of two players who earned a point in his pro debut. The other was Lucas Kohls, whose first career point was the tying goal at the 17:59 mark of the second period. Between those two was Zac Lynch, whose second period marker was his 150th professional point. Lynch, who has a career high 63 points in 62 games, is on pace to appear in his 200th pro match on April 6th in the regular season home finale. Finally, Winston Day Chief capped off the scoring with his 100th career goal. Defenseman Jack Macnee is expected to make his pro debut on Saturday, while fellow blueliner Dan Fick is two games away from qualifying for veteran status next season.

Last One Out of DivisionSaturday night marks the eighth and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Royals this season, as well as the fourth and final battle at Santander Arena. Wheeling is in search of its third season series win against Reading in the last 12 years, as it carries a 4-3 edge into the tilt. That lead was gained in the last clash on February 13th, when five different players lit the lamp, while Jordan Ruby made 43 saves in a 5-2 triumph at WesBanco Arena. Chris McCarthy of the Royals is the leading scorer in the set, as he has 11 points in seven games. The Nailers are led by Cedric Lacroix's four goals and Zac Lynch's six points. This is Wheeling's final contest of the season outside of the Central Division. The Nailers have posted a 7-7-2 mark against the North Division and a 15-8-3 record against the Eastern Conference.

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