WHEELING - Bobby Farnham, Wheeling Nailers enforcer?
No, that's probably not going to be the case, even though the early season stats seem to tell a different story. Farnham ranks first on the team and fourth in the league with 35 penalty minutes, and his three fighting majors are tied for second.
''I never thought I would be leading the team in fights,'' Farnham said with a smile following practice Tuesday morning at WesBanco Arena. ''But the opportunities have kind of presented themselves.''
Wheeling’s Bobby Farnham (8) has three fighting majors this season.
Well, that is half true.
From a very young age, the North Andover, Mass., native has played a gritty game. He refers to himself as a pest, the kind of player teams employ to get under opponents' skin. In the process, he has still found time to score three goals in six games.
''(Peter) Merth and (Adam) Ross are helping me learn the ropes,'' Farnham, 23, said of fighting. ''You should be playing hard every time you go out.
''I'm glad our fans appreciate that.''
While the pace probably won't keep up, Farnham (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) isn't going to run away from anyone. As evidence, see his fight last summer at a Boston Pro-Am with New York Ranger Brian Boyle, who stands 6-7 and weighs 244 pounds.
''That was funny because that was kind of a quick one,'' Farnham said. ''I think it would have went a little different if we would have actually squared up and fought.
''I just tried to get some quick punches in.''
His coach sure seems to like him.
''Bobby Farnham, I think, is going to be a fan favorite here,'' Clark Donatelli said. ''He scoots around the ice, hits everything and really hustles.''
And lately, he's been hitting everything, especially Reading's David Marshall, with his fists. The two fought in back-to-back games last weekend at WesBanco Arena.
''The first one, I think, he slashed a kid first,'' Farnham recalled. ''The second one, I don't know.
''It seems like we're going to have a pretty good rivalry.''
Though the rough stuff has always been a part of his game, it wasn't until he turned pro that Farnham was actually able to put those skills to work.
''Obviously you can't fight in college,'' the Brown University grad said. ''There's a little bit of a learning curve.
''I play a fearless game.''
A Little Different
The Nailers, who have won two straight after dropping their first four, will play three games in three nights this week, though it won't be the usual Friday-Sunday. Instead, Wheeling entertains Toledo on Thursday at home, before traveling to Evansville to play the Icemen for the first time on Friday. They finish the trip Saturday night in Cincinnati.
The top of the ECHL scoring list has a couple of familiar names. Former Nailers Nick Petersen (6g-8a), who is in Orlando, and Casey Pierro-Zabotel (2g-10a), who is playing in Gwinnett, are first and second in the league with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
The leading current Nailers scorer is Paul Crowder (3g-4a) with seven points.