Wheeling Nailers (25-17-5-0, 55 Pts.) vs. Brampton Beast (27-15-2-3, 59 Pts.)
(25-17-5-0, 55 PTS, 5th North, T-8th East)
162 GF, 142 GA
PP: 19.6% (43-for-219), 9th
PK: 76.4% (149-for-195), 27th
26-D-Kevin Schulze (7 goals, 31 assists, 38 points in 43 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (17 goals, 15 assists, 32 points in 46 games)
11-F-Cody Wydo (16 goals, 16 assists, 32 points in 46 games)
9-F-Christian Hilbrich (13 goals, 18 assists, 31 points in 47 games)
7-F-Gage Quinney (9 goals, 21 assists, 30 points in 27 games)
14-F-Tyler Currier (11 goals, 18 assists, 29 points in 48 games)
29-G-Sean Maguire (9-6-3 record, 2.75 GAA, .906 Sv% in 19 games)
(27-15-2-3, 59 PTS, 4th North, 5th East)
170 GF, 165 GA
PP: 20.1% (34-for-169), 8th
PK: 85.6% (166-for-194), 2nd
97-F-David Vallorani (22 goals, 33 assists, 55 points in 47 games)
61-F-David Pacan (27 goals, 24 assists, 51 points in 42 games)
13-F-Brandon Marino (12 goals, 29 assists, 41 points in 47 games)
17-F-Brandon MacLean (17 goals, 19 assists, 36 points in 38 games)
14-F-Chris Leveille (9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points in 45 games)
25-D-Jordan Henry (6 goals, 17 assists, 23 points in 46 games)
31-G-Zachary Fucale (18-8-2 record, 2.97 GAA, .901 Sv% in 31 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Nailers 3, Beast 3
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 2, Beast 1
All-Time Series: Nailers 13, Beast 6
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 5, Beast 3
Tip Your Hat
The Wheeling Nailers finished up their trip to Boise, Idaho on Saturday night, but were unable to come away with back-to-back wins, as they suffered a 5-1 defeat to the Idaho Steelheads, who were victorious in two of three games. After a scoreless first period, it was the Nailers who lit the lamp first, as Gage Quinney roofed a shot from the right circle, off of a pass from Tyler Currier. The Steelheads had a quick answer, as Anthony Luciani knotted the contest 47 seconds later. Luciani then put Idaho ahead with 3:22 remaining in the middle frame, burying a shot on a 2-on-1 rush. The game was played closer than the final score indicated, but the home team did pull away in the third period, as David Glen, Luciani, and Bryce Van Brabant all found the back of the net. Luciani also assisted on Glen’s tally, giving him three goals and four points on the night. Landon Bow made 30 saves in the win, beating Doug Carr, who was busy turning aside 33 shots in the defeat.
The Brampton Beast enter the week having won six consecutive games, as they currently rank fourth in the North Division with 59 points. Last weekend, Brampton put together three straight strong performances, sweeping a home-and-home series against the Toledo Walleye, 3-1 and 5-4, before spanking the Indy Fuel, 7-4. In the second win against the Walleye, which was achieved at Huntington Center, defenseman Jordan Henry tallied two goals and an assist, and David Pacan had a four-point night with one goal and three assists, but the hero of the night was Mathieu Gagnon, who potted the deciding goal in overtime. The following day at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, five different players acquired multiple points, including David Ling (two goals, one assist) and Chris Leveille (two goals). Zachary Fucale was the winning netminder in the tilts on Friday and Sunday, while Andrew D’Agostini snagged the middle game on Saturday.
The Goal is to Score More
When the offenses are clicking, the Nailers and Beast can be two of the more dangerous teams, and that usually leads to success, as the two teams are eight and 12 games over the .500 mark respectively. Wheeling’s offense ran into a bit of a rough patch in Idaho, as it was limited to five goals in three games. However, the Nailers still rank 11th in the ECHL with 3.45 goals per game, which includes a 4.60 goals per game average in their 25 wins. Brampton has been explosive, especially as of late, as it has scored at least four goals in five of six games on its current winning streak, and is tenth in the league with a 3.62 goals per game average. Both teams have six players on their current rosters who have reached double digits in goals, as David Pacan leads the Beast with 27, while Jordan Kwas and Garrett Meurs have 17 each to pace Wheeling. Five of the six games played between the two sides have seen the winning club score at least four goals.
Draft Picks Patrol the Crease
The starting netminders for Wednesday’s game are expected to be Sean Maguire for Wheeling and Zachary Fucale for Brampton. That will lead to a showdown of former National Hockey League draft picks, as Maguire was chosen in the fourth round (113th overall) by Pittsburgh in 2012, while Fucale was picked in the second round (36th overall) by Montreal in 2013. Both are playing in their first season at the ECHL level, as Maguire is a rookie and Fucale spent the 2015-16 campaign with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. The two have turned in winning records to this point in the season, with Sean going 9-6-3 and Zach posting an 18-8-2 mark. Maguire is the lone player on the Nailers active roster with an NHL contract, while the Beast have Fucale, Connor Crisp, and Dalton Thrower under NHL deals. Prior to Maguire, the last Pittsburgh draft pick to play in goal for Wheeling was Patrick Killeen in 2012-13. Fucale is the first Montreal draft pick to stand in the crease for Brampton. Prior to the Beast, the Canadiens were affiliated with the Nailers, and the last Montreal draft pick to protect the cage in Wheeling was Mike Condon in 2013-14.
Three Timely Games Ahead
Wednesday night marks the seventh of 11 head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Beast this season, as well as the fourth of six battles at WesBanco Arena. This is a big week for Wheeling and Brampton, who are separated by four points in the North Division Standings, and will play each other three times over the course of the next six days. So far, the season series has been played to a draw, with each team coming away victorious on three occasions. The most recent of those games took place in West Virginia on January 28th, when Sean Maguire twirled a 25-save masterpiece in a 4-0 triumph for the Nailers. Home teams have had the advantage in the first six contests, having gone 4-1-1, with Wheeling earning the lone regulation win on enemy ice and Brampton prevailing in overtime on Opening Night. Two of the three games this week will be played in Wheeling, and will then be followed by one tilt in each building during the final two weeks of the campaign. The leading scorers in the set are David Vallorani and Luke Pither for the Beast (nine points) and Kevin Schulze for the Nailers (seven points).