WHEELING - Wheeling Nailers defenseman Mike Ratchuk has earned All-ECHL second-team honors for the 2013-14 season, the league announced Thursday afternoon.
Ratchuk, 26, is currently enjoying the best season of his career, as he has set personal bests with 15 goals, 27 assists, and 42 points, while appearing in 67 games. His 15 goals and six game-winning tallies are the most among ECHL defensemen, while his 42 points rank third and his six power-play goals rank fourth in that category among fellow blueliners.
Ratchuk has made himself into a valuable member of Wheeling's offensive attack in a variety of ways, as he also leads the squad in games played, overtime goals, and shootout goals.
FILE PHOTO BY JOE LOVELL
Wheeling's Mike Ratchuk leads all ECHL defensemen with 15 goals this season.
In addition to his career highs in goals, assists, and points, the South Buffalo, N.Y., native also eclipsed a few other statistical milestones. On Nov. 15, Ratchuk picked up an assist in the team's 5-1 victory in Elmira, which turned out to be the 100th point of his professional career. Then, on March 1, Ratchuk appeared in his 300th game as a pro, as the Nailers took on Reading. Finally, on April 4, the former Michigan State University standout dished out his 100th career assist, as Wheeling defeated Evansville, 4-1.
Ratchuk's best individual performance of the season took place Nov. 23, when he racked up two goals and two assists, including the game-winning tally, as the Nailers came from behind to defeat the Fort Wayne Komets, 5-4, in overtime.
Ratchuk becomes the seventh player in team history to be named to the All-ECHL second team. The previous six were: Devin Edgerton (1992-93), Tim Roberts (1994-95), Keli Corpse (1995-96), Jason Jaffray (2003-04), Mitch Ganzak (2009-10), and Andrew Hotham (2011-12).
Ratchuk is joined on the second team by Bakersfield goaltender Laurent Brossoit, fellow defenseman Elgin Reid (a former Nailer) of Kalamazoo, as well as forwards Trent Daavettila and Kyle Ostrow of Colorado, and Greenville's Andrew Rowe.
Ratchuk and the Nailers will conclude the regular season with two games in Cincinnati tonight and Saturday, before beginning the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Wheeling's first three postseason home games will take place on April 23, 25, and 26 (if necessary).