Goaltending has been a position of strength for the Penguins organization lately. Marc-André Fleury and Matt Murray man the pipes for the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Tristan Jarry is in the midst of an all-star season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and it looks like another prospect has started to turn up the heat with the Wheeling Nailers.
Sean Maguire was recently named the ECHL’s CCM Goaltender of the Month for January after putting forth a 6-1-1 record, .938 save percentage, 1.79 goals against average and two shutouts in nine games.
Maguire began the season with an injury, and had a slow roll out of the gate when he finally returned to action in mid-December. The rookie netminder dropped his first three decisions, allowing 14 goals in those three starts. However, his stats have skyrocketed and he’s formed a vicegrip on the Nailers’ No. 1 goalie position on the depth chart.
A former standout at Boston University and one-time Beanpot MVP, Maguire was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round (113th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Maguire was the second goalie the Penguins selected in that draft, taken 20 picks after Murray.
Here’s what else the Nailers have cooked up over the past week…
Thursday, Feb. 2 – NAILERS 3 at Cincinnati Cyclones 4 (OT)
Groundhog Day was exactly that for the Nailers and Cyclones, as the two teams suffered constant déjà vu with a seemingly never-ending cycle of power plays. Wheeling went three-for-six on the man advantage, while Cincinnati was two-for-three. That’s a total of five power play goals between the two squads.
However, it was the last man advantage marker of the game that proved to be the difference-maker. The Cyclones scored in overtime for the game-winner just one second before the Nailers’ Kevin Schulze was set to leave the box and rejoin the play.
Rookie Gage Quinney had two helpers, giving him an eye-popping 23 points (6G-17A) in 14 games.
Friday, Feb. 3 – NAILERS 3 at Kalamazoo Wings 2
The Nailers got back in the win column thanks to 28 saves from goalie Doug Carr.
With the score tied, 1-1, late in the second period, Wheeling struck twice with tallies 29 seconds apart. Darryl Lloyd put the Nailers on top, 2-1, with 1:04 left in the middle frame, and then Quinney buried another with just 35 seconds remaining in the period. That goal not only proved to be the game-winner, but upped Quinney’s recent run to 24 points (7G-17A) in 15 games.
Saturday, Feb. 4 – Reading Royals 4 at NAILERS 3 (OT)
Wheeling notched three goals for the third game in a row during its three-in-three slate, but extra time proved to be unkind to the Nailers once again. Similarly to their last OT loss, there was a lot of special teams action at play. The Royals converted on three-of-six power plays, including a game-tying goal with 7:44 left in regulation.
The tying goal came courtesy of Matt Willows, who completed the hat trick with that tally. Willows also added an assist on the OT-winner, giving him a point on every single one of Reading’s goals in the contest.
Quinney’s point streak came to an end at four games, but the high-flying D-man Schulze earned two apples, giving him 30 helpers on the season.
|Top Scorers on the Weekend|
|Top Scorers Overall|
UP NEXT: Potayto, Potahto. The Nailers travel out to Boise for a three-game set with the Idaho Steelheads over four days. First game is Wednesday night, 9:10 p.m. ET at the Steelheads’ CenturyLink Arena.