Nailers Name Playoff Squad
WHEELING – The Wheeling Nailers have announced their roster for the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The roster consists of 20 active players, one reserve player, and eight players who are eligible, but are currently in the American Hockey League. The active roster features 12 forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders.
In goal, the Nailers will turn to Mike Condon and Kieran Millan – two netminders nder contract with NHL clubs. Condon is coming off of a remarkable rookie season, which saw him post a 23-12-4 record, a 2.18 goals against average, a .931 save percentage, and six shutouts in 39 games. He won nine of his final 10 starts, while compiling a 4-0-0 record in April, allowing one goal on 135 shots. Millan appeared in five games with Wheeling, going 2-2-0, including a 23-save shutout Feb. 23.
Defensively, two of the six blueliners for the Nailers have won a Kelly Cup, as Mike Ratchuk took home the championship in 2012 with Florida, while Dustin Stevenson earned a ring with Reading in 2013. Ratchuk finished second among ECHL defensemen in scoring (44 pts) and first in goals (15), and Stevenson led the team with a plus-25 rating. Peter Merth is the only player from either squad to play in the 2011 playoff series between Wheeling and South Carolina, as he will play postseason hockey for the fourth straight year. Rounding out the defense are Paul Cianfrini, who had a career season with 16 points, along with Myles Harvey and Jake Areshenko.
Up front, Sahir Gill and his 10-game point streak lead the charge, as he ended up leading the team with 41 assists and 54 points. Despite playing in just 44 games, Zack Torquato racked up a career-high 52 points, while Cody Sylvester was the team leader in goals, with 24. Denver Manderson split the season between the AHL and ECHL, making the most of his time in Wheeling, by snagging 29 points in 27 games. Chaz Johnson returns to the postseason in search of his first championship since 2007 with the UHL’s Rockford IceHogs, while Max MacKay, Tyler Fernandez, Shane Bakker, Patrick McGrath, and Derek Army will all get their first tastes of playoff hockey in the pros. Christiaan Minella storms into the second season with 13 goals in 23 games, and Tom Kuhnhackl finishes off the forwards with 14 points in 16 games.
The Nailers will begin the postseason in South Carolina on Friday night at 7:05. Wheeling’s three home games in the series will take place on April 23, 25, and 26 (if necessary) at 7 p.m.