Nailers – Walleye Playoff Preview

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The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, have announced the schedule for their opening round playoff series against the Toledo Walleye, in addition to their playoff roster. The best-of-seven North Division Semi-Final Series will begin on Thursday night at Huntington Center.


Wheeling and Toledo will meet in postseason play for the fifth time in ECHL history, and the first time since the Walleye joined the league in the fall of 2009. The four prior series took place in 1993, 1994, 1998, and 2006, all while Toledo was known as the Storm, and the first two while Wheeling was known as the Thunderbirds. Wheeling’s lone series victory out of the four came in 1998, while two of the three Toledo series wins (1993, 1994) came during championship seasons.


This is the 13th postseason appearance for Wheeling, as well as the fifth in the last seven years. 2014-15 was a roller coaster season for the Nailers, who never saw a winning streak or losing streak reach five games. The team entered the regular season’s final week with a 33-33-2 mark, before grabbing four straight victories to edge Cincinnati and Indy for the North Division’s fourth and final playoff position. On the other side of the ice, the Walleye produced the largest turnaround in ECHL history, rebounding from 49 points a season ago to earn a league-leading 107 in the current campaign. Toledo also accumulated 50 wins, becoming the first team since 2007-08 to reach that plateau. This is Toledo’s second postseason appearance in six seasons as the Walleye, and its first with home ice advantage.


During the regular season, the Walleye came out on top in six of seven meetings, including all three of the games at Huntington Center. The lone triumph for the Nailers was a 4-1 final score at WesBanco Arena on February 6th. Riley Brace and Derek Army of Wheeling and Kyle Bonis of Toledo all had seven points during the season, with Bonis’ five goals leading the way in that category.


The Nailers also named 20 players to their playoff roster – 12 forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders, in addition to another ten, who made their way onto the playoff eligible list. Nine of the 20 players named to the starting roster were members of the 2013-14 postseason squad, which reached the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Mike Ratchuk is the lone former Kelly Cup Champion on the team, as he took home the trophy with the Florida Everblades in 2012. His 49 professional playoff games rank second on the club to Chaz Johnson, who has suited up in 62. Zack Torquato will appear in his third postseason with the Nailers, while David Gilbert reaches the playoffs for the first time in his four-year pro career. Adam Krause and Evan Wardley will be getting their second tastes of postseason play in the last month, as Krause’s University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs were one of the last eight teams left in the NCAA, while Wardley’s Seattle Thunderbirds won a pair of games in the WHL Playoffs.


The 2015 North Division Semi-Final Series between the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye will begin at Huntington Center on Thursday and Saturday, before heading to WesBanco Arena on April 22nd, 24th, and 25th (if necessary), with games six and seven scheduled in Toledo on April 28th and 29th (both if necessary).



North Division Semi-Final

Wheeling Nailers vs. Toledo Walleye

Game 1 – Thu. Apr. 16th at Toledo, 8:15

Game 2 – Sat. Apr. 18th at Toledo, 7:35

Game 3 – Wed. Apr. 22nd AT WHEELING, 7:05 

Game 4 – Fri. Apr. 24th AT WHEELING, 7:35 

Game 5 – Sat. Apr. 25th AT WHEELING, 7:35 (if necessary)

Game 6 – Tue. Apr. 28th at Toledo, 7:35 (if necessary)

Game 7 – Wed. Apr. 29th at Toledo, 7:35 (if necessary)


Roster

2 D Mike Ratchuk

4 D Paul Cianfrini

9 D David Makowski

10 F Tyler Fernandez

11 F Adam Krause

12 F David Gilbert

13 F Patrick McGrath

15 F Zack Torquato

16 F Derek Army

17 F Cody Wydo

18 D Mike Slowikowski

19 F Shane Bakker

20 F Jarrett Burton

21 F Sahir Gill

22 D Clark Seymour

23 F Riley Brace

24 D Evan Wardley

29 G Franky Palazzese

30 G Eric Hartzell

98 F Chaz Johnson


Eligible Players in the AHL (maximum of three can be added)

F Josh Archibald

D Alex Boak

D Nick D’Agostino

F Jean-Sebastien Dea

D Morgan Ellis

F Stefan Fournier

F Matia Marcantuoni

F Carter Rowney

D Harrison Ruopp

D Bobby Shea

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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