(24-17-4-0, 52 PTS, T-2nd North, T-4th East)
161 GF, 142 GA
PP: 21.2% (39-for-184), 1st
PK: 81.0% (145-for-179), 20th
11-F-Cody Wydo (17 goals, 24 assists, 41 points in 34 games)
24-F-Reid Gardiner (24 goals, 16 assists, 40 points in 40 games)
21-F-Cam Brown (12 goals, 27 assists, 39 points in 40 games)
23-F-Garrett Meurs (15 goals, 21 assists, 36 points in 38 games)
8-F-Nick Sorkin (6 goals, 30 assists, 36 points in 43 games)
26-D-Kevin Schulze (4 goals, 17 assists, 21 points in 32 games)
29-G-Adam Morrison (8-7-1 record, 2.75 GAA, .912 Sv% in 17 games)
(25-14-3-1, 54 PTS, 1st North, 3rd East)
162 GF, 126 GA
PP: 18.6% (37-for-199), 9th
PK: 85.2% (155-for-182), 5th
10-F-Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman (21 goals, 20 assists, 41 points in 42 games)
16-F-Zac Lynch (19 goals, 17 assists, 36 points in 42 games)
23-D-Colton Saucerman (3 goals, 29 assists, 32 points in 42 games)
24-F-Michael Doherty (11 goals, 14 assists, 25 points in 39 games)
21-F-Spencer Watson (8 goals, 15 assists, 23 points in 25 games)
25-F-Matt Schmalz (13 goals, 9 assists, 22 points in 32 games)
1-G-Charles Williams (14-6-3 record, 2.52 GAA, .920 Sv% in 25 games)
Head to Head
Season Series: Monarchs 2, Nailers 1
Season Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 1, Monarchs 1
All-Time Series: Nailers 3, Monarchs 3
All-Time Series at WesBanco Arena: Nailers 3, Monarchs 1
First One of the Month
The Wheeling Nailers nearly made it through the entire month of January without suffering a regulation loss on home ice, but with two contests left, their seven-game home point streak came to an end on Saturday night. Wheeling fell behind 2-0, before rallying back to square the score in the latter stages of the first period. Cody Wydo got the first strike for the Nailers, tipping in a pass from Reid Gardiner at the top of the crease. The goal extended Wydo's point streak to five games and Gardiner's to seven games. Nine seconds later, Nick Sorkin got the equalizer, slipping in a shot from the left side. Wheeling dominated the play during the first two stanzas, outshooting Manchester, 39-11, but trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes. The Monarchs tacked on a couple of insurance markers in the third period, as the Nailers fell, 5-2.
An Opportunistic Bunch
The Manchester Monarchs were held to just 22 shots on goal in Saturday night's game, but they scored on five of those attempts, earning their 15th road win of the season, while continuing to hold onto first place in the North Division. Spencer Watson picked up both tallies in the first period, breaking through into the slot for his first one, then snapping in a shot from the left side for goal number two. The Nailers quickly pulled even, but with 12:26 left in the middle frame, Jake Wood's first goal in a Manchester uniform was a big one, as he put his team back in front. 12 seconds into the third period, Michael Doherty scored on the power play, and the Monarchs rode that early momentum, with Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman capping things off later in the stanza. Charles Williams returned from the AHL with a 43-save performance, keeping his club in the game early, then delivering the victory.
Setting a New Record
History was made on Saturday night, as the Nailers and Monarchs had a 16-second span for the ages, as the two teams combined to score three goals. Manchester's Spencer Watson started the run at the 16:01 mark of the first period. That was followed seven seconds later by Wheeling's Cody Wydo, and nine seconds after that by Nick Sorkin of the Nailers. The three goals in 16 seconds set a new ECHL record, breaking the previous mark by two seconds. Current Wheeling forward Garrett Meurs was involved in the previous record-setting performance, as he scored twice in four seconds (which is the ECHL record) with the Fort Wayne Komets, following a goal by the Colorado Eagles. Saturday's performance missed tying the NHL record by one second. The New York Rangers and Minnesota North Stars scored three goals in 15 seconds during the 1982-83 season.
The Schedule Lightens Up
An incredibly busy stretch of 17 games in 31 days comes to an end for the Nailers on Sunday afternoon, as they play the fourth of seven consecutive home contests. Wheeling has already guaranteed itself a winning record during the run, having gone 8-6-2 in the first 16 matches. Rest will be a key component for the Nailers as they play down the stretch, and they will get help from the schedule, as this game completes the second to last set of three games in three days. Wheeling is playing its sixth divisional game over the course of the last two weeks, and is hoping to finish over .500, entering with a 2-2-1 mark. The next eight games will all be played outside of the North Division, before a vital stretch closes the regular season with 14 of 20 tilts against divisional foes. Sunday is the 46th game of the season for the Nailers, trailing only the Atlanta Gladiators, who take the ice for the 47th time.
Road Team Steals One
Sunday afternoon marks the fourth of six head-to-head meetings between the Nailers and Monarchs this season, as well as the third of four battles at WesBanco Arena. On Saturday night, Manchester became the first road squad to collect a victory in the three years that the teams have clashed, as it won 5-2 in Wheeling, ending a three-game winning streak for the Nailers at home in the set. The two teams entered Saturday's tilt with first place in the North Division on the line, and Wheeling will attempt to pull even with Manchester for the top spot, looking for its ninth win in January. Despite being held off of the scoresheet on Saturday, Justin Agosta of the Monarchs remains the leading scorer with five points in three games, while three different Wheeling players have four points. The Nailers will make their final trip to New Hampshire on February 28th, before hosting the Monarchs in their final regular season home game on March 31st.