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WHEELING, W.Va. – After a second straight season missing the playoffs, hopes are high for the team from the Friendly City. Despite playing half their games against divisional foes, a hot finish by the Worcester Railers prevented the Nailers from reaching the goal of returning to the postseason for the first time since winning the Eastern Conference in the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The Nailers are now in the Western Conference’s Central Division after off-season realignment by the ECHL. The division includes the Cincinnati Cyclones, Toledo Walleye, Indy Fuel, Kalamazoo Wings and Fort Wayne Komets.

The Nailers were decent in their own division last year, going 18-13-4-1 against North Division opponents. But when facing teams from the Central Division, the results weren’t as positive. In 25 games played, the Nailers posted a 9-13-3-0 record, including a 3-2-0-0 against the Fuel, their best record against any Central Division opponent. In six games against the division champion Toledo Walleye, the Nailers were a dismal 2-4-0-0.

With the calendar now flipped to the 2018-19 season, there are a few highlights on the 2018-19 regular season schedule to get fans excited. The Nailers open up their campaign in Norfolk against the Admirals on Saturday, October 13.

Three weeks later, the home portion of the Nailers season starts when the Indy Fuel visit for the first time on November 3. Thirteen days later, the Nailers head south to Jacksonville, FL for their first and only excursion to the Sunshine State on November 16 to play the IceMen. Wheeling will host Reading for the annual Thanksgiving Eve game on November 21.

The highlight of the December slate of games comes on the 12th when the Allen Americans visit Wesbanco Arena for the first time since the 2016 Kelly Cup Finals. In a series that had it all, the Americans claimed the second of the ECHL back-to-back titles (fourth straight title overall) against the Nailers in six games.

The Nailers have a season-high six-game homestand from January 25 to February 5. The team from the Friendly City will visit Portland, ME for the first time as they take on former Nailers assistant coach Riley Armstrong and his Maine Mariners to close out a three-game New England road swing on February 10.

The Nailers play three-games in three nights on ten different occasions. In stark contrast to years past, the Nailers do not play a home-and-home series on consecutive nights. The only time the Nailers play a direct home-and-home series during the 2018-19 season is in March against Fort Wayne. The Komets visit Wesbanco Arena on March 3, followed by a trip to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on March 6.

Here is a breakdown of the opponents on the 2018-19 regular season schedule and games by day of week and division:

Schedule by Opponent

Opponent Total # Games Home Away
Indy Fuel 11 9 2
Fort Wayne Komets 8 5 3
Reading Royals 8 4 4
Toledo Walleye 8 4 4
Kalamazoo Wings 8 3 5
Cincinnati Cyclones 8 3 5
Norfolk Admirals 5 1 4
Brampton Beast 5 3 2
Greenville Swamp Rabbits 3 2 1
Adirondack Thunder 2 0 2
Allen Americans 1 1 0
Utah Grizzlies 1 1 0
Jacksonville IceMen 1 0 1
Manchester Monarchs 1 0 1
Maine Mariners 1 0 1
Worcester Railers 1 0 1

Schedule by day of the week:

Day of the Week Total # Games Home  Away
Monday 1 1 0
Tuesday 4 3 1
Wednesday 9 3 6
Thursday 2 1 1
Friday 20 10 10
Saturday 23 10 13
Sunday 13 7 6

Schedule by Division

Division Total # Games Home  Away
Central 43 24 19
North 17 7 10
South 10 3 7
Mountain 2 2 0

You can follow along with the latest transactions from the Wheeling Nailers by visiting our 2018 ECHL Transactions page:

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