Nailers Ready To Open Camp

WHEELING – Most of the immigration and signing issues have been taken care of. Now it’s time for Clark Donatelli and assistant Zach Sonnefeld to get down to the part of this job they really enjoy – coaching.

The Wheeling Nailers open their 21st training camp in the Ohio Valley when they step onto the ice at around 3 today at WesBanco Arena. All practices are open to the public.

“Now we’re actually getting on the ice and coaching,” Donatelli said Tuesday with a laugh. ”We’re real excited to get going here.

”It’s been a long summer and we’re really looking forward to getting on the ice and getting started.”

A combination of the NHL lockout and American Hockey League camps opening later this year has the Nailers taking a wait-and-see approach in terms of their roster. Donatelli said he doesn’t expect to see guys come down from the AHL until next week.

The roster they open with today includes holdovers Zach Hansen, Peter Child and Adam Ross on defense, as well as Ben Farrer, Matt Schepke, Cam Fergus, Chris Barton and Scooter Vaughan up front.

”We’ve got a mixed bag. We’ve got some guys from last year and a lot of new guys coming in,” Donatelli said ”We’re excited to see how these guys do. It’s hard to judge some of the guys coming out of college.

”Sometimes they’re better pros than they were college guys.”

Newcomers include Tim Corcoran, Paul Cianfrini, Michael Kavanagh and Peter Starrett on defense, and Alex Belzile, Jordy Trottier, Ryan Maunu, Dave Schultz and Nick Asterito at forward. The goaltenders are Michael Chiasson and Matt Tendler.

”It’s important that these guys get off to a good start because there’s not much time to make an impression (and) we will emphasize that in the meetings,” Donatelli said. ”We’ve got the two games with Cincinnati coming up on Friday and Sunday. We’ll get on the ice (today) and maybe cut and go two, 45-minute sessions and do the same thing on Thursday.”

Here is a capsule look at the roster:

  • Zach Hansen, 25, 5-foot-10, 180 pounds: Enters second full pro season after scoring 24 points (2g-22a) in 72 games including playoffs, and was a plus-3.
  • Adam Ross, 26, 6-4, 210: Came over from Bakersfield in a trade and added a physical presence. In 58 games with the Nailers, he had 15 points (2g-13a), 98 penalty minutes and was a plus-9.
  • Ben Farrer, 23, 6-3, 185: Was a nice rookie addition last season, scoring 20 points (12g-8a) in 61 games and was a plus-5.
  • Matt Schepke, 27, 5-11, 196: A trade acquisition from Greenville, he added speed and grit to lineup on the way to 22 points (8g-14a) in 33 games. He was a plus-9.
  • Cam Fergus, 26, 6-0, 196: Came aboard late last season after four years at St. Mary’s University. In 12 games, he had three assists and was a minus-1.
  • Tim Corcoran, 24, 6-1, 190: A rookie blue liner from UMass-Lowell, Corcoran scored five points (1g-4a) during his four-year college career.
  • Chris Barton, 25, 5-11, 181: Burst onto the scene and earned ECHL All-Rookie laurels after leading the Nailers in scoring with 64 points in (33g-31a) in 73 games. Also played five games in Wilkes-Barre.
  • Paul Cianfrini, 23, 6-1, 205: An offseason acquisition from Toledo, he had a goal and an assist in 17 games last season after leaving Nipissing University.
  • Scooter Vaughan, 23, 6-0, 195: A Michigan grad, Vaughan had his rookie season with the Nailers cut short because of injury. In 21 games, he scored six points (1g-5a) and was a minus-2.
  • Alex Belzile, 21, 5-11, 188: A product of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he scored 117 points (29g-88a) in 84 games for Rimouski Oceanic. Belzile added 113 penalty minutes and was a plus-31.
  • Peter Child, 24, 6-0, 205: Another who was late joining the club last season after a career at St. Lawrence University. He scored a pair of goals in 11 games with Wheeling.
  • Jordy Trottier, 23, 5-11, 180: The son of pro Monty Trottier and nephew of former Penguins star and Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier, he played 45 games last year with the CHL’s Bloomington Blaze. He had 20 points (12g-8a) and was minus-15.
  • Ryan Maunu, 27, 5-11, 190: A center by trade, Maunu had a goal and an assist last season with the SPHL’s Huntsville Havoc.
  • Dave Schultz, 6-1, 195: A Trucksville (northwest of Wilkes-Barre) native, he scored 16 points (8g-8a) in 48 career games at SUNY-Morrisville.
  • Peter Starrett, 23, 6-3, 210: A Harvard product, he scored four points (1g-3a) in four years at the school.
  • Michael Chiasson, 26, 6-0, 180: He comes from Acadia University where he went 2-2-0 with a 3.46 GAA and .888 SVP in five games.
  • Nick Asterito, 5-5, 155: A Philadelphia native, Asterito scored 18 points (6g-12a) in 22 games at Worcester State College last season.
  • Matt Tendler, 25, 5-9, 165: Played 11 games for Neumann College last season, accumulating a 6-4-0 record with a 2.98 GAA and a SVP of .888.

”We’re going to be hard on them to pay attention to the little things – the details – because they add up to big things,” Donatelli said. ”We’re going to be on them for making good passes, being a good receiver, being in the right position, winning 1-on-1 battles, stick battles, quick feet and hitting the net and getting scoring chances.

”They’re going to be tired (because) we’re going to be pushing them hard.”