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Game 67 Preview: Wheeling at Iowa

Wednesday, April 6th
Game 67 Preview: Wheeling at Iowa

Heartlanders start final regular season home stand

Coralville, Iowa – The Iowa Heartlanders (27-30-8-1, 63 pts.) match up against the Wheeling Nailers (33-28-4-0, 70 pts.) as the Heartlanders start their final home stand of the ECHL regular season Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Iowa will wear their brand-new third jerseys, which prominently feature Iowa’s state flower the Wild Prairie Rose for the final three home games of the regular season. Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off in game each of the next three games and the auction will conclude Saturday during Iowa’s final regular season game.The Heartlanders dropped their last game, 6-2, to Indy. The Nailers defeated Fort Wayne, 5-1, Sunday at home.Wednesday marks Wheeling’s fourth game at Iowa this season; the Landers have yet to win at home vs. Wheeling but are 3-0-0-0 at Wesbanco Arena. Wednesday is the final game of the season series.Today’s game is presented by Mercy Iowa City and the night is a College Night, pres. by Hills Bank. Fri., Apr. 8 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Kalamazoo is Group Appreciation Night, presented by United Iowa Financial. The team’s final home game of the regular season is Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Steindler Orthopedic Clinic at 7:00 p.m. against Indy, with a team trading card giveaway presented by the Iowa City Area Sports Commission.Tavern Blue Fore Packs are available for all home games this season, which includes four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, VIP Parking and discounts from Tavern Blue restaurant. Tickets for the game are also available by calling 319-569-GOAL.Broadcast Coverage: Listen at Iowaheartlanders.com/listenlive or mixlr.com/goheartlanders. Watch on FloHockey.tv. NHL Affiliates: Iowa Heartlanders (Minnesota Wild/Iowa Wild) | Indy Fuel (Rockford IceHogs/Chicago Blackhawks)Season SeriesThe Heartlanders have scored 17 goals in six games against Wheeling and the Nailers have potted 19 times.Over the last three games of the seven-game series, Iowa has scored Wheeling, 10-5. The clubs last met Mar. 5 at Wesbanco Arena; Jack Billings scored at 1:17 of the first and Iowa notched three more in the second to blast Wheeling, 4-1. Hunter Jones made 33 saves on 34 shots.Kris Bennett has six points (2g) in four series games, tied with Jack Billings for most points by an Iowa skater in the series. Ryan Kuffner (1a) has played Wheeling twice this season.All three Iowa netminders have played the Nailers this season; Jones is 1-1-1-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .909 save percentage against Wheeling. Alex D’Orio (1-0-0-0, 4 GA) and Brody Claeys (relief appearance, 0 GA) are Wheelings’ active netminders to play Iowa.Justin Almeida tops all players in the series with eight goals and 11 points in six games; that included a 4-goal effort on Nov. 27 in a 4-2 win where Almeida scored every Wheeling goal and tied the team record for most goals in a game.Scouting Iowa The Landers have sought better defense over the last five games; since a 5-0 shutout vs. Cincinnati Mar. 25, Iowa has allowed 24 goals. Iowa’s power play remains one of the best in the league despite an 0-for-4 outing Apr. 3, ranking 4th in the league at 23.3%. The penalty kill is at its high-water mark, stopping 82.8% of opponents’ chances.Kris Bennett leads the league with 34 goals in 44 games, four ahead of Wheeling’s Patrick Watling for most in the circuit.Scouting Wheeling The Nailers have steadily improved after suffering through a March skid. Wheeling went 3-9-2-0 in March and the club is currently in a tight battle with Kalamazoo for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. Before the March dip, Wheeling was 2nd in the Central division and ten games above hockey .500. Wheeling won its last game and seeks back-to-back victories for the first time since Feb. 25-26.Patrick Watling has scored 72 points (30g) in 49 games, second in the ECHL to Fort Wayne’s Will Graber (80 pts.). Nineteen of those points came in March, best on the squad. 

Upcoming Home Games- Wednesday, Apr. 6 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Wheeling – Game presented by Mercy Iowa City, night is College Night presented by Hills Bank- Friday, Apr. 8 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Kalamazoo – Group Appreciation Night presented by United Iowa Financial- Saturday, Apr. 9 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Indy – Fan Appreciation Night presented by Steindler Orthopedic ClinicThe Heartlanders Season ticket memberships, group tickets, mini-plans, flex vouchers and single-game tickets are available for the Heartlanders inaugural season by calling 319-569-GOAL and visiting iowaheartlanders.com/tickets.