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Nailers at Komets Game Day Snap Shot, Apr. 7

Sunday, April 7th
Nailers at Komets Game Day Snap Shot, Apr. 7

WHEELING NAILERS(31-30-6-4, 72 PTS, 6th Central, 10th West)237 GF, 235 GAPP: 20.0% (58-for-290), 5thPK: 81.0% (256-for-316), 20th

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

27-F-Zac Lynch (16 goals, 50 assists, 66 points in 66 games)9-F-Yushiroh Hirano (19 goals, 38 assists, 57 points in 66 games)12-F-Renars Krastenbergs (19 goals, 24 assists, 43 points in 61 games)23-F-Michael Phillips (18 goals, 24 assists, 42 points in 71 games)14-F-Cedric Lacroix (21 goals, 20 assists, 41 points in 70 games)22-D-Kevin Spinozzi (17 goals, 21 assists, 38 points in 43 games)30-G-Matt O'Connor (11-6-4 record, 2.97 GAA, .906 Sv% in 23 games)

FORT WAYNE KOMETS(35-26-4-6, 80 PTS, 3rd Central, 6th West)228 GF, 246 GAPP: 15.2% (43-for-282), 21stPK: 80.6% (250-for-310), 22nd

NHL Affiliate: Vegas Golden KnightsAHL Affiliate: Chicago Wolves

10-F-Brady Shaw (26 goals, 37 assists, 63 points in 67 games)25-F-Jake Kamrass (19 goals, 37 assists, 56 points in 66 games)88-F-Justin Hodgman (15 goals, 41 assists, 56 points in 49 games)27-F-Shawn Szydlowski (19 goals, 36 assists, 55 points in 59 games)15-F-J.C. Campagna (35 goals, 13 assists, 48 points in 62 games)71-D-Ryan Lowney (5 goals, 33 assists, 38 points in 71 games)34-G-Jiri Patera (First Professional Game)

Head-to-HeadSeason Series: Nailers 4, Komets 3Season Series at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum: Nailers 1, Komets 1All-Time Series: Komets 15, Nailers 14All-Time Series at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum: Komets 8, Nailers 6

Point 72 Before Game 72The Wheeling Nailers guaranteed themselves at least a .500 record for the 11th year in a row, as they earned a point in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Indy Fuel on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling battled back from three separate deficits to force extra hockey. Johnny Austin was the first Nailer to get on the scoreboard, as he answered Josh Shalla's 30th goal of the season with a wrist shot from the right point. The Fuel pulled ahead, 3-1 at the midway mark of the second period, but Wheeling tallied twice in a span of 28 seconds to pull even. Austin wired his second of the night off the post, then Alec Butcher tapped in a feed off the rush from Zac Lynch. A strike in the final seconds of the middle frame gave Indy another lead, but Winston Day Chief's tip-in of Yushiroh Hirano's wrister knotted things up, 4-4. Logan Nelson was the lone goal scorer in the shootout, as Indy's Chase Marchand and Wheeling's Matt O'Connor combined to go 4-for-5, after 39 and 41-save performances respectively.

Beat Them to Avoid ThemThe Fort Wayne Komets needed one win to avoid facing the Brabham Cup Champion Cincinnati Cyclones in the opening round of the playoffs, and they got that win against Cincinnati at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night. The Komets raced out to a 3-0 first period lead, as Ryan Lowney, Anthony Nellis, and Shawn Szydlowski all found the back of the net. Kyle Hope added to the advantage in the middle stanza with what turned out to be a large goal. That's because the Cyclones rallied back with three goals in a span of 2:44 to close the second period and start the third, making the score 4-3. Justin Hodgman helped his team breathe a sigh of relief by adding insurance with 2:28 remaining for a 5-3 final. Zachary Fucale made 37 saves in the win, knocking off Ty Rimmer, who stopped 17 shots for Cincinnati.

The West is SetFive of the eight match-ups in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs have been decided, while one other knows the teams and is just waiting to see which side gets home ice. In the Central Division, Cincinnati will face Kalamazoo, while Toledo and Fort Wayne clash for the fourth time in five years. In the Mountain Division, Tulsa earned the crown on Saturday, and will get to face Kansas City, while Idaho and Utah challenge each other. Newfoundland takes on Brampton in one North Division series, while Adirondack and Manchester are still fighting for second place. The Thunder need one point against Worcester to get the spot. In the South Division, South Carolina travels to Atlanta with the 16th and final playoff berth on the line. The Stingrays can get in with one point, while the Gladiators need a win in regulation. South Carolina could also jump Jacksonville, which would lead to an opening round clash with Orlando instead of Florida.

A Half-Century of AssistsZac Lynch appeared in his 200th professional game on Saturday night, and celebrated the occasion with two assists, as he set up Alec Butcher in the second period, then recorded the secondary helper for Winston Day Chief in the third. The second assist gave him 50 on the season, as he continues to add to his career high campaign with 66 points. Zac became just the second Nailer to dish out 50 assists in a season in the last 21 years, joining Eduard Pershin, who had 58 during the 2003-04 season. Since the start of the 1997-98 season, three different players (Sean Collins X2, Riley Brace, Nick Sorkin) reached 49, but came up short of the half-century mark. 23 of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native's assists have come on the power play, as he leads Wheeling with 25 points on the man advantage. While Lynch has secured the team lead in assists and points, Cedric Lacroix needs one goal to skate away with sole possession of the lead in that category.

Another Year Ends in the JungleSunday afternoon marks the eighth and final head-to-head meeting between the Nailers and Komets this season, as well as the third and final battle at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Thanks to a 6-4 comeback triumph last Friday at home, Wheeling is in search of its first season series win since 2014-15, which was also that last time the Nailers posted a winning road record in the set. This year's series has been a wild one, as the two teams have combined for 64 goals in seven games, while each team has earned at least one point in a game that it trailed by three. Five of the seven clashes have been decided by one goal. Yushiroh Hirano leads the way with 12 points for the Nailers, who have also gotten five goals from Zac Lynch. J.C. Campagna leads Fort Wayne in both categories, entering Sunday with seven goals and nine points. If Jiri Patera makes his pro debut, nine different goaltenders will have played in the set.

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