Nailers Off To Best Start Ever

Winning three games in three days for the second week in a row, the Wheeling Nailers improved to 6-1-0 to sit atop the North Division, one point ahead of Toledo which has won its last two games and is in second place at 5-2-1.

The Nailers will play three in three again this weekend as they travel to Toledo on Friday and Johnstown on Saturday before hosting Johnstown on Saturday. Wheeling beat Toledo 6-4 in the first meeting on Friday and won 4-2 at Johnstown on Saturday before ending the weekend with a 7-3 win over Victoria.

Toledo continues its six-game home stand when it hosts Wheeling on Friday and Trenton on Saturday. The Storm has won its last three home games and is 4-0-1 at home, outscoring its opponents 23-14.

Leading the Nailers offensively are Kurtis McLean and Sean Collins, who each have 12 points on five goals and seven assists. The two are tied for the league lead in assists and points and tied for third in goals among league rookies and are tied for seventh among all players in scoring. The 22-year-old Collins, who was selected in the ninth round (289th overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, and the 25-year-old McLean are both under contract to the Nailers’ American Hockey League affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Andy Chiodo is 5-1-0 and tied for the league lead in wins and tied for fifth in the league with 364 minutes. The 22-year-old Chiodo is under contract to Wheeling’s NHL affiliate, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who selected him in seventh round (199th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Scooter Smith leads Toledo with 14 points (5g-9a) while Ken Magowan (7g-6a) and Todd Jackson (5g-8a) each have 13 points. Smith is tied for the ECHL scoring lead and tied for second in assists while Magowan and Jackson are tied for fourth in scoring. Magowan is tied for second in the league with four power-play goals and Jackson is tied for fifth in assists. The 24-year-old Jackson is in his second professional season and under contract to the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL, who selected him in the eighth round (251st overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

David Cann and Chad Collins, both in their second professional season, have been filling in for the injured Logan Koopmans. The 23-year-old Cann is 2-1-0 with a goals-against average of 2.67 and a save percentage of .901 in three games while the 24-year-old Collins is 2-1-1 with a goals-against average of 2.92 and a save percentage of .884 in four games.