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Nailers vs. Fuel Game Day Snap Shot, Mar. 12

Monday, March 11th
Nailers vs. Fuel Game Day Snap Shot, Mar. 12

WHEELING NAILERS(27-25-6-2, 62 PTS, 5th Central, 9th West)208 GF, 200 GAPP: 21.0% (53-for-252), 4thPK: 80.4% (213-for-265), 23rd

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

27-F-Zac Lynch (15 goals, 38 assists, 53 points in 55 games)9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (15 goals, 33 assists, 48 points in 55 games)12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (15 goals, 23 assists, 38 points in 52 games)22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (16 goals, 19 assists, 35 points in 36 games)23-F-Michael Phillips (16 goals, 19 assists, 35 points in 60 games)14-F-Cedric Lacroix (18 goals, 15 assists, 33 points in 59 games)31-G-Jordan Ruby (10-6-3 record, 2.83 GAA, .912 Sv% in 21 games)

INDY FUEL(29-28-2-1, 61 PTS, 6th Central, 10th West)191 GF, 206 GAPP: 18.7% (47-for-251), 9thPK: 83.3% (215-for-258), 8th

NHL Affiliate: Chicago BlackhawksAHL Affiliate: Rockford IceHogs

22-F-Ryan Rupert (20 goals, 35 assists, 55 points in 59 games)24-F-Josh Shalla (26 goals, 25 assists, 51 points in 57 games)20-F-Matt Rupert (20 goals, 19 assists, 39 points in 58 games)28-F-Mathew Thompson (13 goals, 21 assists, 34 points in 53 games)26-F-Logan Nelson (13 goals, 19 assists, 32 points in 52 games)17-D-Alex Brooks (6 goals, 22 assists, 28 points in 56 games)30-G-Matt Tomkins (24-17-3 record, 3.13 GAA, .903 Sv% in 45 games)

Head-to-HeadSeason Series: Nailers 4, Fuel 4Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 4, Fuel 2All-Time Series: Nailers 11, Fuel 11All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 7, Fuel 5

One Shot for One Key PointThe Wheeling Nailers and Kalamazoo Wings had their game on Sunday afternoon come down to extra rounds of a shootout, as the two Central Division rivals played to a 3-3 deadlock in regulation and overtime. Kalamazoo's Zach Saar wasted little time in opening the scoring, but the Nailers responded in just over two minutes, with an equalizer from Cedric Lacroix. Later in the first period, Trevor Yates continued Wheeling's magical shorthanded season, tallying the team's 18th goal with a man disadvantage. Tanner Sorenson pulled the Wings even with a power play marker in the middle frame, before Michael Phillips and Sorenson exchanged goals in the third, sending the contest into bonus hockey. Wheeling dominated the overtime session, but was unable to snap the tie, leading to a shootout. The game was decided in round five, when Kyle Blaney converted for Kalamazoo, then Jake Hildebrand made a save on Yates' tying bid, as the Wings prevailed, 4-3.

Staying in the RaceThe Indy Fuel faced a pair of tough challenges over the weekend, as they entered Saturday night five points back of the final playoff spot in the Central Division, with tilts against Kalamazoo and Toledo staring them in the face. On Saturday, Indy and Kalamazoo played to a scoreless draw until the 3:47 mark of the third period, when Travis Brown broke through for the Fuel. Brown added another power play goal 1:58 later, which turned out to be the game winner, as Matt Tomkins' 22 saves preserved the 2-1 triumph for the visitors. Sunday's match wasn't as suspenseful, as Radovan Bondra put Indy on the board just 20 seconds after the opening face-off. Josh Shalla, Mathew Thompson, and Eric Schurhamer tacked on insurance tallies, and Tomkins was tremendous once again, denying all 29 shots he faced in the 4-0 shutout win.

Different Deadline ApproachesLast Thursday was the ECHL Trade Deadline, and while both Wheeling and Indy stood pat in the closing hours, the two clubs have each made moves to bolster their respective rosters. For the second time this season, the Nailers are turning to the NCAA ranks, hoping to find similar success to the production they have received from ten-goal scorer Alec Butcher. On Tuesday, Wheeling signed forward Conor O'Neil, who played four seasons at the University of Vermont. Indy has also brought in a player out of college, as Adrian College's Braden Hellems made his pro debut on Saturday night. Additionally, the Fuel made a few moves in the weeks prior to the deadline, acquiring defenseman Travis Brown from Wichita, defenseman Eric Schurhamer and forward Zeb Knutsen from Manchester, and forward Woody Hudson from Worcester.

We Like it Packed and LoudOver 4,000 fans are expected to be inside WesBanco Arena on Tuesday, and the Nailers could be in line for their second sellout of the 2018-19 season. Whether at home or on the road, large crowds have led to excellent results for Wheeling this season, as the team feeds off the energy of the fans. 16 of the first 60 games this season have seen attendance eclipse the 4,000-mark, and the Nailers have gone 10-5-1 in those contests, including a 3-2 victory over Indy on Nicklodeon Night, January 12th. The largest home and road crowds both took place against the same team. The Toledo Walleye edged the Nailers 2-1 in front of 5,167 fans on the first Education Day at WesBanco Arena. However, Wheeling got its revenge, taking down Toledo 5-2 in front of 8,301 fans at Huntington Center on March 1st.

Winner Takes Two LeadsTuesday morning marks the ninth of 11 head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Fuel this season, as well as the seventh of nine battles at WesBanco Arena. This clash will be significant for two reasons - the winner will finish the day in fifth place in the Central Division, while also taking a 5-4 lead in the season series. Indy earned the second road win of the set on February 1st, when Kevin Dufour broke a 2-2 tie at the 3:57 mark of overtime. That was the second straight game that required extra time, as Zac Lynch decided the January 13th contest at 1:02 of overtime. Lynch has been the most productive player in the first eight games, notching four goals and ten points. Dufour has since been traded to Manchester, giving sole possession of the Fuel team lead to Alex Brooks, who has four goals and eight points. Indy returns to town in ten days for a rematch on March 22nd.

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