Wheeling Nailers (26-17-5-0, 57 Pts.) vs. Brampton Beast (27-16-2-3, 59 Pts.)
(26-17-5-0, 57 PTS, 5th North, T-8th East)
168 GF, 145 GA
PP: 20.0% (45-for-225), 9th
PK: 76.0% (152-for-200), 27th
26-D-Kevin Schulze (8 goals, 32 assists, 40 points in 44 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (11 goals, 26 assists, 37 points in 36 games)
11-F-Cody Wydo (19 goals, 16 assists, 35 points in 47 games)
17-F-Jordan Kwas (17 goals, 18 assists, 35 points in 44 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (17 goals, 15 assists, 32 points in 47 games)
14-F-Tyler Currier (11 goals, 20 assists, 31 points in 49 games)
29-G-Sean Maguire (10-6-3 record, 2.76 GAA, .908 Sv% in 20 games)
(27-16-2-3, 59 PTS, 4th North, T-5th East)
173 GF, 171 GA
PP: 20.7% (36-for-174), 8th
PK: 85.0% (170-for-200), 4th
97-F-David Vallorani (23 goals, 34 assists, 57 points in 48 games)
61-F-David Pacan (27 goals, 24 assists, 51 points in 43 games)
13-F-Brandon Marino (12 goals, 30 assists, 42 points in 48 games)
17-F-Brandon MacLean (17 goals, 20 assists, 37 points in 39 games)
14-F-Chris Leveille (10 goals, 19 assists, 29 points in 46 games)
25-D-Jordan Henry (6 goals, 17 assists, 23 points in 47 games)
30-G-Andrew D’Agostini (7-4-1 record, 3.29 GAA, .888 Sv% in 13 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 4, Beast 3
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 3, Beast 1
All-Time Series: Nailers 14, Beast 6
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 6, Beast 3
Big Contributions Lead to Six
The Wheeling Nailers faced a challenging task on Wednesday night, as they took the ice playing two men short of a full lineup, with both of those subtractions coming at forward. The remaining players thrived on their opportunity, and the team exploded for six goals in a 6-3 beating of the Brampton Beast. The goals came fast and furious, as the Nailers opened up a 4-1 lead in the first period. Michael Webster opened the scoring, and while Brampton responded with an equalizer, the home team stayed right on track, as Cody Wydo and Kevin Schulze put the team back on top less than three minutes later. A glass delay forced the final 2:28 of the stanza to be played after the ice was resurfaced, and that time period was when the fourth goal went in – Wydo’s second of the frame. Webster potted his second of the night with 5:24 remaining in the second period, making the score 5-1. The Nailers capped off their scoring at the 14:03 mark of the third, when Wydo completed his hat trick. Sean Maguire set a career high with 40 saves, improving to 8-1-2 at WesBanco Arena.
Three on One, Three on the Other
The Brampton Beast saw their team record six-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday night, when they took it on the chin, 6-3 against the Nailers. After surrendering the game’s first tally, Chris Leveille put Brampton on the scoreboard, as he applied pressure in the offensive end, and was ultimately awarded with a backhand goal. Wheeling powered ahead with each of the next four goals, before the Beast converted on a two-man advantage during the last minute of the second period, when David Vallorani potted a wrist shot from the right circle. Tim Billingsley was responsible for the last marker of the night, as he clobbered in a slap shot on a power play with 1:07 remaining. Strangely enough, Billingsley’s goal switched up the goaltender of record for Brampton. Zachary Fucale ended up with a no-decision, despite allowing three goals on eight shots, while Andrew D’Agostini got saddled with the loss, after coming up with 13 saves on 16 shots.
Keep Those Hats Flying
Headwear made its way onto the ice at WesBanco Arena for the third time this season, when Cody Wydo netted his third goal of the contest in Wednesday’s 6-3 Nailers win over the Brampton Beast. In addition to being the third hat trick at home for Wheeling, it was also the team’s fourth of the year overall. Josh Shalla was the first player to light the lamp three times, doing so against Kalamazoo on October 29th. Next up was Adam Krause against Fort Wayne on December 16th. Then, the road hat trick took place, thanks to Christian Hilbrich on January 15th at Kalamazoo. The Nailers have also been on the wrong side of two hat tricks this season, and both of those occurred this month. Matt Willows potted three strikes at WesBanco Arena for Reading on February 4th, and Anthony Luciani scored three in Idaho on February 11th. Wydo’s hat trick was the second of his career, as his first one took place last March 4th in Reading. In doing so, he became the first Wheeling player to score multiple hat tricks since Nick Petersen, who achieved the feat twice during the 2010-11 campaign.
A Margin That Goes in Our Favor
Three of the last four games involving the Nailers have been decided by three goals, with two of them going in favor of Wheeling and one going the other way. As odd of a stat as it may be, three-goal games have been very friendly to the Nailers during the 2016-17 campaign, as they have gone 11-2 in 13 games when the final difference on the scoreboard has been three. Wheeling has prevailed by more than three goals on four occasions, taking down an opponent by four goals once, six goals once, and seven goals twice. The most frequent gap in a regulation final score this season has been one, and the Nailers have posted a winning record with a 9-6 mark, not counting games that go past regulation, in which Wheeling is 2-5. The one differential that hasn’t played well in favor of the Nailers is two-goal games, as they are winless in five of those. 20 of Brampton’s 27 wins have been decided by two goals or fewer.
They Stuck Around for Another
Friday night marks the eighth of 11 head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Beast this season, as well as the fifth of six battles at WesBanco Arena. After dropping the season opener, 3-2 in overtime, Wheeling has rattled off three straight victories on home ice, with one each taking place in November, January, and February. The season series has taken a seesaw path, as Brampton took the first game, the Nailers won the next two, the Beast followed with two triumphs, and now Wheeling has climbed ahead with back-to-back wins. Last year, the road teams got the upper hand, coming out victorious in six of nine clashes, but this season, those numbers have flipped in the other direction, with the home club winning five of seven games. David Vallorani became the first player to reach double digits in points during the set, as he has 11 for Brampton, while Kevin Schulze leads the Nailers with nine points. The teams will face-off again in Canada on Monday.