The Wheeling Nailers are preparing for a Game 2 of their own as they host the Reading Royals Monday night at Wesbanco Arena.
The Nailers took the series lead with a decisive 4-1 victory in Game 1. Although the Nailers did score 4 goals, the focus of the game was on the Wheeling defense as they only gave up 19 shots to the Royals and their physical play early set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Nailers know the goals are not the only things that matter in a victory.
“We know if the puck doesn’t get to the net, it’s not going to go in, that’s just one of the little things we preach in our locker room,” said Nailers Defenseman Brett Stern. “We got to do those little things in the playoffs to get the job done. The fewer shots, the better the chance of your team succeeded.”
“We’re playing a really good team game right now, everyone’s competing, playing our way, getting pucks deep and banging bodies and keeping it in their zone and making it easier on our goalie and defense,” said Nailers Forward Cody Wydo.
“The things I look for are who draws the penalties? Who blocks the shots? Who wins the face-offs? Who doesn’t turn the puck over?” said Nailers Assistant Coach Jeff Christian. “It’s like the analytics of hockey. We call them ‘The Unpleasantries.” Who goes to the net? Who stops in front? All these little things. It’s easy to look at the stat sheet and say ‘He had a good game or he had a good game.’ But when I look at the game, that’s what I’m looking at, who does the little things? And the little things win games.”
The Nailers will look to take the 2-0 series lead Monday night at Wesbanco Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:05.