CINCINNATI - Last weekend, Mike Condon was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player for the Wheeling Nailers, and the month of April capped off a dominant regular season for the rookie goaltender.
On Saturday night, Condon denied all 45 shots he faced, earning his third shutout of the month and sixth of the season, as the Nailers blanked the Cincinnati Cyclones, 5-0 at US Bank Arena.
Christiaan Minella and Derek Army each scored twice.
During the latter stages of the first period, the Nailers opened the scoring, courtesy of a power play goal. Mike Ratchuk let a wrist shot fly from the left point, which was stopped by goaltender Magnus Hellberg.
However, Denver Manderson and Sahir Gill banged away at the rebound, with Gill ultimately getting the final whack on the right side, knocking it into the net.
Gill's tally gave him 53 points - clinching the team's scoring title for the season.
At the 14:04 mark of the middle frame, Wheeling added to its lead with a second power play goal.
Tom Kuhnhackl kicked the puck out to Denver Manderson, who slid a pass across the blueline to Mike Ratchuk at the left point. Ratchuk teed up a drive, which got tipped into the net by Derek Army for his second goal in as many nights. 2:26 later, Christiaan Minella gave the Nailers a 3-0 advantage, when he snapped in a shot from the right circle.
Gill and Max MacKay assisted on the marker, after Gill won a battle for the puck against the wall in neutral ice.
In the third period, the Nailers capped off their triumph, tacking on two more tallies.
At the 7:29 mark of the frame, Minella netted his second of the evening, as he drove down the right side of the offensive zone, dragging the puck into the side of the net.
Then, with 5:12 to go, Army snagged his second of the game, picking up a loose puck on the left side of the net and flipping it in for the 5-0 final score.
Mike Condon set a new team record with his sixth shutout of the season, while also making a season-high 45 saves, as he earned the victory for the Nailers.
Magnus Hellberg was the losing goaltender for Cincinnati, after surrendering five goals on 28 shots.
The Nailers will begin the playoffs next week in either Kalamazoo or South Carolina, before returning home on April 23, 25, and 26 (if necessary), with all games starting at 7:00.
Wheeling 1 1 1 - 3
Cincinnati 2 2 2 - 6
1st Period-1, Cincinnati, Shalla 13 (Hazen, Froese), 2:44. 2, Cincinnati, Eves 9 (Basaraba), 3:34. 3, Wheeling, Kuhnhackl 7 (Manderson, Army), 7:53. Penalties-Hazen Cin (hooking), 9:16; MacKay Whl (elbowing), 13:10; Almeida Cin (elbowing), 13:10.
2nd Period-4, Cincinnati, Birkholz 14 2:22. 5, Cincinnati, Aronson 5 (Froese), 5:31. 6, Wheeling, Manderson 11 (Gill, Stevenson), 11:16. Penalties-Wysopal Cin (holding the stick), 9:50; Boak Whl (hooking), 12:09; Aronson Cin (holding), 12:28; Almeida Cin (hooking), 17:24.
3rd Period-7, Cincinnati, Hazen 21 (Blazek, Wysopal), 8:22 (PP). 8, Cincinnati, Shalla 14 (Hazen, Froese), 15:33. 9, Wheeling, Army 1 (Kuhnhackl, Stevenson), 16:30. Penalties-Johnson Whl (fighting - major), 6:53; Dalhuisen Cin (fighting - major), 6:53; Kuhnhackl Whl (holding), 6:57; Johnson Whl (fighting - major), 16:30; Dalhuisen Cin (fighting - major), 16:30; Bakker Whl (roughing), 17:30.
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 8-11-12-31. Cincinnati 12-14-13-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 0 / 4; Cincinnati 1 / 3.
Goalies-Wheeling, Hartzell 8-5-0-1 (39 shots-33 saves). Cincinnati, Hellberg 4-1-1-0 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Andrew Wilk (24).
Linesmen-Ryan Daisy (64), Shaun Morgan (71).