NAILERS GAMEDAY 2019-20
Royals Come Back for 6-4 Home Win
Myles Powell Dishes Out Three Assists for Wheeling

READING, PA- The Wheeling Nailers nearly earned their first road victory of the season on Saturday night, but the Reading Royals erased three separate deficits for a 6-4 comeback win at Santander Arena. Four different players found the back of the net for Wheeling, while Myles Powell dished out three assists.

The Nailers surrendered the first goal of the tilt, but rebounded to light the lamp twice and take the lead. Reading's marker came from Ralph Cuddemi, who stashed in a loose puck at the top of the crease. Wheeling tied things up on the power play, as Renars Krastenbergs sliced through the defense on the rush, before burying his shot along the ice. The Nailers utilized their speed again on their second goal, as Jan Drozg and Marc-Olivier Duquette flew into the zone on a 2-on-1 break. Drozg kept the puck to himself, swiping in a wrist shot from the right circle.

The offenses took control of the game in the second period, as the clubs combined to find the twine five times. Matthew Gaudreau of the Royals started the big run of goals with a left circle shot at the 4:30 mark. Blake Siebenaler answered 13 seconds later for Wheeling from the right point. Gaudreau struck again on a breakaway less than three minutes later, but the Nailers regained the lead on Alec Butcher's tally off a 2-on-1 break with Drozg. The final goal of the frame went to Reading, as Corey Mackin knotted things up by flipping in a backhander from the right side of the crease.

An unfortunate bounce led to Reading taking the final lead of the night at the 7:02 mark of the third period. Cuddemi smacked in a wobbling puck on the right side of the slot for his second of the evening. Brayden Low added one more tally for the 6-4 Royals win, as he flung in a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.

Trevor Gorsuch got the win in his season debut for Reading, making 20 saves on 24 shots. Jordan Ruby took the loss for the Nailers, stopping 35 of the 41 shots he faced.

Nailers Continue Home Success in 4-1 Win
Ryan Scarfo's Two Goals Bookend the Victory

WHEELING, WV- Home ice continues to produce wonderful results for the Wheeling Nailers, who earned their fifth straight victory at WesBanco Arena on Friday night. Ryan Scarfo tallied a pair of goals and Alex D'Orio made 21 saves for a 4-1 win over the Reading Royals in the first half of a home-and-home series.

The two teams got things going quickly, exchanging goals in the opening 2:56 of play. Wheeling was first on the board, as Ryan Scarfo grabbed the rebound of Blake Siebenaler's shot, and blasted his attempt inside the right post. The Royals responded when Hayden Hodgson grabbed a loose puck in the right corner, then danced his way to the middle, where he deposited a backhander.

The Nailers put forth a terrific effort in the second period, as they scored twice, while limiting Reading to two shots on goal. The go-ahead tally came on the man advantage, as Christopher Brown and Myles Powell executed a perfect passing play, with Brown, whipping in a wrist shot from the left circle. Just before the midway mark of the frame, Renars Krastenbergs lunged forward to chip the puck home from the left side of the crease on a goal that was set up by Jan Drozg and Cam Brown.

Wheeling's strong defense and goaltending kept the Royals at bay in the third, and Scarfo added the finishing touches on the 4-1 triumph with an empty netter.

Alex D'Orio earned the win for the Nailers, stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced. Kirill Ustimenko took the loss for Reading, making 25 saves on 28 shots.

Nailers Record One Point in Morning Contest at Toledo
Jan Drozg Tallies Two Points, Including Team-Leading Fifth Goal

TOLEDO, OH- Wednesday morning saw a back-and-forth tilt at Huntington Center, as the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye exchanged leads, and ultimately needed overtime to decide a winner. The decision went to the Walleye, as Tyler Spezia scored on his backhand at the 1:21 mark of the extra session for a 5-4 final. Jan Drozg was one of four goal scorers for the Nailers, and the only one with multiple points.

Both offenses were ready to go from the drop of the puck, as two goals went in for each squad. The first two tallies came in quick succession, as Abbott Girduckis opened the scoring with a left circle shot for Toledo, but Jan Drozg responded 29 seconds later, lifting in a rebound on the left side of the crease. The Walleye went ahead again on Justin Buzzeo's rebound goal at the 8:05 mark, but with 1:28 remaining in the stanza, the Nailers answered again, as Cam Brown tapped in a feed from Drozg, who made a steal in the right corner.

A successful penalty kill gave Wheeling a big lift in the second period, as the visitors took the lead with a shorthanded goal, then added another marker shortly after the minor expired. Steve Johnson put the Nailers ahead for the first time in the contest, as he skated the length of the ice, before sliding a backhander through Pat Nagle. 2:18 later, Ryan Scarfo broke behind the defense, then faked to his forehand for the tally. Toledo trimmed the margin to one with 4:09 remaining, when Marcus Vela swiped in a shot from the slot.

The top-ranked power play in the ECHL knotted the score in the third period, as Brandon Anselmini wired in a one-timer from the right point, which was set up by Troy Loggins. Drozg had a chance to win the game with a breakaway in the final 30 seconds, but came up empty, sending the 4-4 tilt to overtime.

Wheeling had an early chance to create a winner, but the puck went the other way, and Tyler Spezia cut across the slot with a successful backhander, lifting the Walleye to the 5-4 win.

Pat Nagle picked up the victory in goal for Toledo, making 28 saves on 32 shots. Alex D'Orio suffered the overtime defeat for the Nailers, despite stopping 22 of the 27 shots he faced.

Wheeling's Win Streak Snapped by Wings
Marc-Olivier Duquette Nets First Pro Goal for Nailers

KALAMAZOO, MI- The Wheeling Nailers nearly battled back from an early three-goal deficit at Wings Event Center on Saturday night, but in the end, the Kalamazoo Wings got a big offensive attack and a stellar performance from their goaltender. Renars Krastenbergs and Marc-Olivier Duquette lit the lamp for Wheeling, who poured 46 shots on goal in a 7-2 setback.

Kalamazoo got off to a fast start, scoring three times in the opening 10:06 of play. All three tallies featured sharp passing plays with three different players. On the first goal, Zach Diamantoni backhanded the puck through the slot to Luke Sandler, who connected with a backhander from the right side. 2:21 later, Yannick Veilleux drilled in a shot from high in the slot, which was set up by Justin Taylor. Finally, Boston Leier drifted in on the right side to pot a cross-ice pass by Matt Van Voorhis.

The Nailers attempted to battle back in the early stages of the second period, as they briefly trimmed the deficit to one. Renars Krastenbergs slammed in a one-timer from Yushiroh Hirano at the 15-second mark, then Marc-Olivier Duquette floated in his first professional goal from the left point. However, the Wings answered back with two goals of their own, making the score 5-2. Kyle Blaney tapped in the rebound of Dylan Sadowy's shot off the post, and Zach Diamantoni redirected in Zach Frye's feed on the right side of the crease.

Aaron Thow and Sadowy tacked on power play goals in the third period, putting the finishing touches on Kalamazoo's 7-2 win.

Jake Kielly earned the victory in goal for the Wings, turning away 44 of the 46 shots he faced. Jordan Ruby suffered the defeat, making 22 saves on 29 shots.

Nailers Sweep Four-Game Homestand
D'Orio Denies 35, Wheeling Scores Three in 2:41

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers had a tremendous first homestand of the season, as they won all four games at WesBanco Arena. On Saturday night, Wheeling scored three goals in a span of 2:41 in the second period, and Alex D'Orio made 35 saves, as the Nailers defeated the Reading Royals, 3-1. Jan Drozg netted the deciding goal for the second straight contest.

The Royals picked up the lone goal of the first period at the 10:47 mark. Ralph Cuddemi picked up a loose puck on the left side of the crease, and proceeded to tuck it into the net.

Wheeling turned things around in a big way during the middle frame, starting with a successful penalty kill, which led to a goal in a matter of 16 seconds. Nick Saracino delivered a perfect pass to Myles Powell, who tapped in the feed on the right side of the crease. 15 seconds later, the Nailers took the lead. Cam Brown's pass bounced off of Jan Drozg and into the net. The original call was no goal, but the first overturned video review in WesBanco Arena history gave Wheeling the answer it was looking for. 2:26 after that, another puck found the back of the net, as Christopher Brown tipped home Yushiroh Hirano's center point wrist shot on the power play.

Reading turned up its pressure in the third period, but Alex D'Orio and the Nailers defense didn't budge, keeping the door shut to punctuate the 3-1 victory.

Alex D'Orio was phenomenal in goal for Wheeling, earning his third straight win with 35 saves on 36 shots, including 16 stops in the third. Felix Sandstrom took the loss for the Royals, allowing three goals on 21 shots.

Nailers Win With Another Dramatic Ending
Drozg Scores Twice, Including Game Winner in Final Three Minutes

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers kept their home fans on the edges of their seats for the third game in a row, and once again, those fans came out of their seats thanks to a late winning goal. Jan Drozg's second goal of the night snapped a 4-4 deadlock with 2:33 remaining, as the Nailers erased a 4-2 deficit with four straight strikes to take down the Tulsa Oilers, 6-4 at WesBanco Arena.

The game got off to an electric start, as the two teams exchanged goals in the opening two minutes of play. Wheeling was first on the board at the 18-second mark. Alec Butcher battled the puck over the blueline for Cam Brown, who sliced his way into the slot, where he ripped a shot into the top-right corner of the cage. J.J. Piccinich knotted the score 1:36 later for the Oilers, as he batted in a loose puck on the right side of the crease.

Period two started in similar fashion, as both sides lit the lamp in the first five minutes. Christopher Brown breezed past a defender for a goal in the right circle, before Robby Jackson squared the match by ringing a shot in off the crossbar. Tulsa then collected back-to-back markers to build a two-goal lead, as Adam Pleskach tipped in a Jared Thomas feed, then Miles Liberati stepped in to drive home a loose puck on a power play. Jan Drozg brought the Nailers within one, roofing a centering pass from Nick Saracino.

Wheeling drew even at the 11:46 mark of the third period, when Myles Powell drove down the left side, then shoveled a backhander into the right side of the net. With 2:33 left, Drozg put the Nailers ahead for good with his second of the night, snapping in a shot from the left side of the slot. Yushiroh Hirano added a power play marker into an empty net, applying the finishing touches on a 6-4 comeback triumph for Wheeling.

Alex D'Orio had his busiest evening of the early season, as he stopped 37 of the 41 shots he faced to earn the victory for the Nailers. Olle Eriksson Ek took the loss for Tulsa, surrendering five goals on 26 shots.

Nailers Get More Last Minute Magic in 4-3 Win
Hirano's Second of the Day Gives Wheeling Weekend Sweep of Indy

WHEELING, WV- For the second day in a row, the Wheeling Nailers saved the best for last, and came away with a remarkable 4-3 home triumph over the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Yushiroh Hirano netted his second goal of the day with 26 seconds remaining in the third period, giving Wheeling a sweep of the two-game weekend set.

The Fuel got off to a fast start, scoring twice in the opening stanza. The first goal came at the 4:43 mark, when Spencer Watson fed Bobby MacIntyre for a one-timer from below the left face-off circle. Indy's second tally came off a redirection, as Alex Krushelnyski got a piece of Ben Youds' attempt from the right point.

The lone marker in the middle frame went to the Nailers, who trimmed their deficit to one. Yushiroh Hirano skated the puck over the blueline, then fed Cam Brown, who battled through a check to free himself in the slot, where he snapped a shot into the right side of the cage.

Wheeling drew even in the opening minute of the third period, when Hirano grabbed the rebound of Blake Siebenaler's shot, and proceeded to stash it into the right side of the net. Spencer Watson regained the lead for the Fuel, but the Nailers responded with their power play. Brandon Hawkins squared the tilt at three with a rocket from the high slot at the 13:16 mark. Then, with 26 seconds remaining, Hirano roofed a shot from the top of the right circle, giving Wheeling its second dramatic win in a row. That strike also occurred on the man advantage.

Alex D'Orio collected his first professional victory for the Nailers, making 18 saves on 21 shots. Chase Marchand took the loss for Indy, stopping 27 of the 31 shots he faced.

Siebenaler Wins it in the Final Minute for Wheeling
Butcher Adds Two Goals in Home-Opening Victory

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers won their home opener in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, as a last-minute goal was the difference in a 4-3 victory over the Indy Fuel at WesBanco Arena. Blake Siebenaler fished out a loose puck in front of the net, snapping the deadlock for the first win of the year. Alec Butcher also had a strong night for the Nailers, collecting a pair of goals.

Wheeling's first home stanza was a solid one, as it lit the lamp twice to take the lead. The first goal came at the 5:59 mark. Macoy Erkamps backhanded the puck to Alec Butcher, who drove the net from the left side, and had enough force to push the puck through Charles Williams. Derian Plouffe briefly tied the score for the Fuel on wrist shot from the left side of the slot, but with under a minute to go, Cam Brown regained the lead for the Nailers, backhanding in a loose puck on the right side of the crease. The goal gave Brown 100 points in his ECHL career.

The teams exchanged goals in the middle frame, resulting in a 3-3 deadlock. Butcher notched his second of the evening, when he poked home the rebound of Lucas Kohls' initial shot, which rang off the right post. However, that marker was surrounded by Graham Knotts and Spencer Watson, who tallied for Indy. Watson's was the second strike on the man advantage for the visitors.

The tilt stayed tied until the final minute of play, when Blake Siebenaler's first goal in a Wheeling uniform lifted his club to an enormous home triumph. Yushiroh Hirano crashed the net with the initial attempt, which got stopped, but Siebenaler was there to deposit the rebound. The Nailers didn't allow any chances in the closing seconds, preserving the 4-3 final.

Jordan Ruby earned the win in his first start of the season for Wheeling, denying 26 of the 29 shots he faced. Charles Williams took the loss for the Fuel, making 23 saves on 27 shots.

Quick Start Propels Komets at Home
Jan Drozg Nets First Professional Goal for Wheeling

FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers are ready to get their home season under way. Unfortunately, Friday night's trip to Fort Wayne was a tough one. The Komets dented the twine five times during the first period, then added a couple more for a 7-3 win at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Yushiroh Hirano, Brandon Hawkins, and Jan Drozg were the goal scorers for Wheeling.

The start of the game wasn't fun for the Nailers, who saw Fort Wayne storm out of the gates with four goals in the first 5:06 of play. The first tally came at the 51-second mark, when Brett McKenzie's pass banked off Brady Shaw and into the net. That pair was responsible for setting up the second goal, as Shawn St-Amant converted a breakaway. Alan Lyszarczyk tipped in Max Gottlieb's shot 14 seconds later, then Anthony Petruzzelli's backhand squeezed into the net for number four. The Nailers got on the board, courtesy of Yushiroh Hirano's one-time blast from the center point on a 5-on-3, but A.J. Jenks lit the lamp in the final minute, putting the Komets ahead, 5-1.

In the second period, Brandon Hawkins tapped in a Hirano feed to give Wheeling its second goal of the evening, but Fort Wayne added to its advantage with a spinaround shot by Chase Stewart in the right circle, then a rebound goal from Jenks, off of Jason Binkley's point shot.

Jan Drozg netted the lone marker in the final stanza, tipping in Myles Powell's shot for his first professional goal.

Cole Kehler got the win for the Komets, making 23 saves on 26 shots. Alex D'Orio suffered the loss for the Nailers, coming up with 23 stops, before turning the game over to Jordan Ruby, who was perfect on nine attempts in the third.

Cyclones Rally in Third for Comeback Win
Powell, Smith Score in the Opener for Wheeling

CINCINNATI, OH- The Cincinnati Cyclones were a dominant team on home ice last season, but for two periods on Saturday, the Wheeling Nailers had them on the ropes. Myles Powell and Willy Smith built a 2-0 lead, only to see Cincinnati rattle off four straight goals for a 4-2 comeback win at U.S. Bank Arena.

The Nailers scored the first goal of the season, as a former Cyclone made a quick impression on his new team. Nick Saracino chased down a loose puck in the left corner, then curled behind the net. Myles Powell alertly went to the slot, where he received a pass from Saracino, drilling a one-timer into the left side of the cage.

Wheeling added to its advantage in the middle frame. Cam Brown sped after the puck in the left corner, then swept a pass out to Blake Siebenaler at the left point. Siebenaler's point drive was stopped, but the rebound trickled into the crease, where it was smacked home by Willy Smith.

Unfortunately for the visitors, things turned sour in the third, as the Cyclones rallied with four straight strikes. Cincinnati's first goal came shorthanded, when Shaw Boomhower fed Mason Mitchell, who crashed the net on the left side of the slot. Andrew DeBrincat knotted the score on third chance, after a pair of saves by Alex D'Orio. The Nailers nearly prevented the go-ahead tally with a blocked shot, but the puck took a tough bounce, going to a wide-open John Edwardh at the bottom of the right circle. Mitchell tacked on an empty netter in the closing minutes, as the Cyclones prevailed, 4-2.

Michael Houser played a strong game in goal for Cincinnati, stopping 36 of the 38 shots he faced. Alex D'Orio turned in a solid effort for Wheeling, making 28 saves on 31 shots, but suffered the loss.

PRESEASON
Marathon Shootout Goes to Fort Wayne
Nailers and Komets Combine for 20 Goals in Weekend Preseason Set

FORT WAYNE, IN- Offense was the name of the game during the weekend series between the Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets, as the two Central Division rivals combined to score 20 goals in two games. However, the goaltenders rose to the occasion in Saturday night's shootout. Alex D'Orio and Cole Kehler combined to stop 19 of 22 shooters, with Brady Shaw's 11th round attempt found the twine, lifting Fort Wayne to the 6-5 home ice win. Brandon Hawkins and Christopher Brown both notched three points for the Nailers.

Fort Wayne applied a large dose of pressure in the opening stanza, outshooting the Nailers, 19-2, while taking a 2-1 lead into the dressing rooms. Wheeling got on the board first, converting on a play down the length of the ice. Lane Valimont led the puck out of the zone to Christopher Brown, who had a quick give-and-go with Alec Butcher, before snapping in a shot from the left face-off dot. The Komets drew even 3:28 later, when Connor Sanvido roofed a one-timer from the right circle. A little more than four minutes after that, Sanvido was robbed twice by Alex D'Orio, but Fort Wayne continued to press, and ultimately broke through, when Taylor Ross squeezed in a shot from the slot.

Less than a minute into period two, the Komets added to their advantage. Shawn Szydlowski led Brett McKenzie down the middle for a breakaway strike. However, the Nailers weren't rattled, as they drew even with two goals in less than two minutes. Cam Brown trimmed the deficit to one, when his pass bounced off of Ryan Scarfo, then went back to Brown, who swept home a shot from the right side. Moments later, Yushiroh Hirano used his speed to blaze past Olivier Galipeau, then faked out netminder Cole Kehler for his second tally in as many nights. Unfortunately, Fort Wayne regained the lead with a 4-on-3 goal in the final minute, when Olivier Galipeau blasted in a one-timer from the high slot.

Brandon Hawkins continued his phenomenal weekend by helping Wheeling erase two deficits in the third. His first marker came from the right circle on the power play, then his second was a missle from the right side. Even though there was still 14:37 remaining, that final goal forced overtime in a 5-5 deadlock.

The Nailers were forced to kill an early penalty in the extra session, and did so successfully, keeping the game moving along. It kept on moving along, all the way through an 11-round shootout, before the Komets finally decided the match with Brady Shaw's winning goal.

Cole Kehler made 17 saves on 21 shots in the game to get the win for Fort Wayne, while Stephen Dhillon stopped seven of the eight shots he faced as the starter. Alex D'Orio played the entire contest for Wheeling, turning aside 39 shots in regulation and overtime, then another ten in the shootout.

Komets Win Wild One in Overtime to Open Preseason
Hawkins Nets Hat Trick in First Game as a Nailer

FORT WAYNE, IN- The Wheeling Nailers and Fort Wayne Komets waited all summer to get back into action, and they put on a show of nine goals, 71 shots, and five fights at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Wheeling erased an early 2-0 deficit by scoring four straight goals, including a hat trick by Brandon Hawkins. However, the Komets also had a comeback in them, as they tied the game late, then skated away with a 5-4 overtime victory on Shane Bennett's goal.

The Komets were quick to get onto the scoreboard, as they lit the lamp just 1:20 into the contest. Alan Lyszczarczyk poked the puck to the left face-off dot for Shawn Szydlowski, who roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Fort Wayne added to its lead later in the stanza. Connor Sanvido skated the puck into the left side of the offensive zone on a 2-on-1, and proceeded to snap a shot into the left side of the net.

Wheeling's performance got stronger as the game went along, and with less than four minutes left in the middle frame, it broke through. Brandon Hawkins shuffled his way over the middle of the blueline, deked to his right, then sent a laser into the bottom-right corner of the goal for a shorthanded marker.

Both teams saw their offenses explode in the third period, combining for five goals. The Nailers had a hot start to the stanza, rifling home three tallies in a span of 4:23 to build a two-goal advantage. Yushiroh Hirano tipped in Blake Siebenaler's left circle wrist shot, then Hawkins buried a pair of shots from the left side of the ice, notching a hat trick. The Komets battled back to force extra hockey, as Shawn Szydlowski slid in a power play goal from the blueline, before Max Gottlieb flipped in a shot from the slot in the final minute of regulation.

Fort Wayne ended up prevailing in the new seven-minute overtime session, as Shane Bennett powered his way in on the right side, ramping in the deciding goal for a 5-4 Komets win.

Dylan Ferguson got the win for Fort Wayne, making 26 saves on 30 shots. Andrew D'Agostini had a busy evening for Wheeling, turning away 36 of the 41 shots he faced in the overtime defeat.
 

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