WHEELING, WV — The Norfolk Admirals will close out the 2019 calendar year and open up a new decade against the Wheeling Nailers on Tuesday night.
The six game road trip for Norfolk got underway last week in Upstate South Carolina for a two-game set with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Friday night’s matchup turned out to be one of the more exciting and thrilling games of the season to date for the Admirals. Norfolk scored eight goals, including two from Christian Horn, to put the Admirals in double digits figures in wins (10).
Saturday night’s matchup went in a different direction, despite the Admirals scoring the game’s first goal, courtesy of Alex Rodriguez. Greenville would go on to win, 4-2, behind Liam Pecararo’s two goals.
The two teams will meet again later on this week as Norfolk carries on with their road trip. But before heading back to Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, the Admirals (10-19-3-0) will attend to business against the Wheeling Nailers for a New Years Eve matchup at Wesbanco Arena.
The Admirals and Nailers met for five matchups last season, with Wheeling taking four of those five games, all at Norfolk Scope. This season, these two clubs will meet tonight and on January 29, both at Wesbanco Arena.
For Norfolk, it will be a chance to get back into the win column tonight, and they will do so with a new face added to the forward crew. Jakob Reichert will make his Admirals debut tonight (#39), after being sent on a loan from the Peoria Riverman in the SPHL. The 26-year old brings some needed size up front, standing 6-feet-5-inches tall. Reichert was scoring at-will with Peoria this season, putting up 17 points in 16 games.
The Nailers (14-12-4-0), come into Tuesday night looking to ring in the new year with a victory on their home ice. They are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory over the Indy Fuel on Sunday night, in which Brandon Hawkins scored with two seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. Christopher Brown would send Fuel fans home unhappy, as he scored 1:56 seconds into extra time to give the Nailers their 14th win of the season.
-Alex Rodriguez continues to fire the puck on net every chance he gets. The Miami, FL product leads the Admirals in goals with 11 and also leads the entire ECHL amongst rookies in shots on goal with 110. He also scored the game's first goal on both nights against Greenville this past week.
-This will be the Admirals second New Years Eve game since joining the ECHL. The last time Norfolk was in action on December 31st was against the Manchester Monarchs in 2016.
-After the power-play took a big fall in the percentage after the Idaho series, it took a jump back up for the Admirals against Greenville. Austin McEneny and Christian Horn both scored man-advantage goals, as the Admirals now sit with an 18% power-play, which is 11th best in the ECHL.
-Wheeling is one of the most disciplined teams in the entire ECHL. They are currently the least penalized team in the league, with just 288 total penalty minutes (PIMS).
-Zack Phillips currently has four goals in an Admirals uniform since coming to Norfolk on December 2. Of those four goals, two of them have turned out to be the game-winning tallies.
-In three games since returning to the lineup, Admirals forward JC Campagna has registered 16 shots on goal. The Columbus, OH native is not playing far from his home state on Tuesday night, as Columbus is just over a 100-mile drive to Wheeling.
Ring in the New Year with the Admirals, as they take on the Wheeling Nailers for the first of two this season. You can hear all the action with "The Voice of the Admirals", Weston DeWitt, on the Admirals Radio Network and ECHL.TV, with puck drop set for 6:05pm ET. The Admirals Pregame Show will be LIVE at 5:40pm from Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling, WV.