Wheeling Crushes Toledo, 6-0
Nailers GK Maguire Earns First Pro Shutout
WHEELING — Sean Maguire says it would have been easy to pack it in after allowing nine goals in his first two ECHL appearances. The Wheeling Nailers are thankful he only dug his skates in deeper.
Friday night at WesBanco Arena against league-leading Toledo, Maguire showed the type of steely resolve that earned him being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The rookie turned aside all 25 shots he faced and six players registered multiple-point performances as the Nailers (16-12-2 – 34) smashed the Walleye (24-6-1 – 49) by a 6-0 count for their fifth consecutive home victory.
“It was a maturity thing a bit. I had to be patient with myself and I am not a patient person,” Maguire said. “Coming off an injury like that where I am off the ice for three months and not taking shots … really just in the gym, it’s hard to start being a goalie again right off the bat.
“But I have great support here with goalie development coach Mike Buckley.
“I talk to him every day and he just tells me to be patient with myself.”
At no point was Maguire bigger than a four-minute penalty kill early in the third period. He earned seven of his saves during that portion of the game alone. Wheeling’s much maligned penalty kill kept the league’s top-ranked power play scoreless in five attempts.
“We only started this new one a couple weeks ago and guys are still figuring out what their jobs are,” said forward Jordan Kwas, who recorded a goal and two assists. “It’s one thing to be taught something but it’s another to understand why you are doing it.
“Sometimes you have to get beat a couple times before you say ‘oh, I’ve got to take that passing attempt away instead of that shot lane.
“You can tell that things are clicking. They didn’t really have much especially backdoor, which they are known for.”
Wheeling jumped ahead 5:06 into the game, when Nick Sorkin stick-handled through three defenders before beating Toledo goaltender Jake Patterson high on the blocker side.
Defenseman Ryan Segalla made it 2-0 Nailers a little more than three minutes later when he sent his second of the season — a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot — into the net.
Before the Walleye knew what hit them, Wheeling owned a 3-0 lead courtesy of Garrett Meurs, who notched the first of his two power-play goals.
“That’s what it takes to beat those guys,” Coach Jeff Christian said. “It’s buying into the structure of the system and playing for the team, and I thought they did a good job.
“I always talk about you have 100 percent buy-in or you have nothing. That’s what 100 percent looks like.”
Kwas made it 4-0 at 9:13 of the second. Coming in on a 3-on-2, Tyler Currier (two assists) left a drop pass for Brett Stern, who was trailing the play. His point blast was deflected in for the 10th of the season by Kwas.
Sorkin struck for his second and ninth of the season nine seconds later, ending Patterson’s night after allowing five goals on 17 shots. Patterson entered with a 14-4 record.
“We just played the right way all night,” said Meurs, who is tied for the team lead in goals (12) with Derek Army, who was recalled to AHL Milwaukee late Thursday night. “We worked from our end out and played in their end most of the night.
“This is huge for us.”
It looked like Maguire was going to lose his shutout at 17:16 of the third. A point shot on the power play was deflected into the back of the Wheeling net, but the goal was immediately waved off for high-sticking.
Wheeling finished the scoring when Meurs beat Steve Racine, who stopped 12 of 13 in relief.
Kwas led the way with three points, while Sorkin, Stern, Christian Hilbrich, Currier and Meurs had two apiece. But the game belonged to Maguire.
“It’s obviously really nice to get a shutout, but the most important part is the win,” he said. “It was a team effort, no doubt.
“Guys were blocking shots and our penalty kill which hasn’t been great all year, was on fire against the top power play.
“It’s really flattering to get all the support from the fans and the No. 1 star and everything, but I really don’t think it was a ‘me’ effort. I didn’t steal that game.”
Toledo 0 0 0 — 0
Wheeling 3 2 1 — 6
1st Period-1, Wheeling, Sorkin 8 (Miller, Stern), 5:06. 2, Wheeling, Segalla 2 (Quinney, Hilbrich), 8:00. 3, Wheeling, Meurs 11 (Currier, Kwas), 12:06 (PP). Penalties-Hirschfeld Tol (tripping), 10:15.
2nd Period-4, Wheeling, Kwas 10 (Stern, Currier), 9:13. 5, Wheeling, Sorkin 9 9:22. Penalties-Segalla Whl (tripping), 1:09; Bubela Whl (boarding), 13:49.
3rd Period-6, Wheeling, Meurs 12 (Kwas, Hilbrich), 12:16 (PP). Penalties-Ammon Whl (high-sticking – double), 2:02; served by Santos Tol (bench – unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:47; Maguire Whl (delay of game), 12:40.
Shots on Goal-Toledo 5-6-14-25. Wheeling 12-9-8-29.
Power-Play Opportunities-Toledo 0-5; Wheeling 2-2.
Goalies-Toledo, Paterson 14-5-0-1 (16 shots-11 saves); Racine 0-2-0-0 (13 shots-12 saves). Wheeling, Maguire 4-4-0-0 (25 shots-25 saves).
Referee-Tyler Puddifant (28). Linesmen-Michael Fusani (41), Zach Roberts (84).