The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, are happy to announce that a 50th former Nailer/Thunderbird has made his National Hockey League debut. Brandon DeFazio reached the NHL on Sunday night, as the Vancouver Canucks visited the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
DeFazio, 26, is in the midst of his fourth full season of professional hockey, after attending Clarkson University for four years, where he majored in Business, in addition to playing for the Golden Knights. After completing his senior season, Brandon joined the Nailers at the end of the 2010-11 campaign, registering four goals, five assists, and nine points in ten regular season contests, before adding four goals, two assists, and six points in 14 playoff games, as Wheeling reached the Eastern Conference Final. Two of the four tallies came during the opening game of that series, including the game winner.
Prior to Sunday night, the Etobicoke, ON native had spent the remainder of his professional time in the American Hockey League, playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and Utica Comets. In 226 career AHL games, DeFazio has compiled 43 goals, 38 assists, 81 points, and 363 penalty minutes, eclipsing the ten-goal and 100-penalty minute marks in each of his three full seasons. Brandon’s best year came in 2013-14, when he totaled 17 goals, 17 assists, and 34 points in 76 games with Utica.
On Sunday, DeFazio logged 6:04 of ice time, receiving ten shifts, while coming up with one takeaway. His Canucks edged the Ducks 2-1 in a shootout.
Brandon DeFazio becomes the 50th Nailer/Thunderbird to reach the NHL, and second this season, joining Scott Darling, who achieved the feat on October 26th. He is also the third player from the 2010-11 Wheeling team to reach the NHL, joining Alex Grant and Ben Street