20 Players Named to Roster, Which Opens Postseason on Thursday in Toledo
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 – Buy Tickets
Game 4 – Fri. Apr. 24th AT WHEELING, 7:35 – Buy Tickets
Game 5 – Sat. Apr. 25th AT WHEELING, 7:35 (if necessary) – Buy Tickets
Game 6 – Tue. Apr. 28th at Toledo, 7:35 (if necessary)
Game 7 – Wed. Apr. 29th at Toledo, 7:35 (if necessary)
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
The Nailers will play a maximum of three home games during their opening round playoff series against Toledo. Fans can get a free kids ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket at the Nailers office for game three on April 22nd. McDonald’s Friends & Family Tickets will be available for games four and five (if necessary) on April 24th and 25th, giving fans the opportunity to receive four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald’s Value Meal coupons for $39.99. April 24th will also be a Frosty Friday.