Sellout Crowd On Saturday - Elmira Beats Toledo 8-2
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Toledo, OH – Entering play on Saturday, the Walleye had the division lead despite dropping the last contest against Elmira. With Kalamazoo and Cincinnati only one point behind in the standings, Toledo looked for revenge on the Jackals to keep its first place seat.
Toledo was the first to score in the opening period and looked sharp right out of the gates. Newly acquired Mike Wilson made a touch pass from center ahead to Adam Hobson, who took it across the blue line. Hobson went to the right side where two Jackals were waiting, then made a brilliant move between the legs of the first defender, and faked going to the center in front of the goalie. He instead stayed right with a quick move and lifted a shot over Julien Ellis’ glove hand.
The Jackals seemed to take over the game when the Walleye lead would vanish at the 16:53 mark of the first. Elmira went on the power play and Wes Cunningham took a blue line shot that trickled through the glove and jersey of Jordan Pearce.
Elmira then dominated the second period, scoring three unanswered goals to build a 4-1 lead. Tyler Donati threw a shot in front of the blue line, where Pearce could see the puck all the way, but a deflection by Keegan Dansereau found the open net :52 seconds into the period. Then at 3:18, Donati brought the puck from behind the Toledo net and shoved a back-door pass to a wide open Olivier Proulx, who buried the shot. Then less than two minutes later, Dansereau scored on the power play to complete the three goal swing.
The third period was much of the same in the January home finale, as Elmira added a pair of power play goals to put the game out of reach. Toledo did get another score though on a 6-on-5 delayed penalty advantage. JC Sawyer brought the puck to center ice as the offense set and aired a perfect pass to Dominic Osman, who was able to split the defenders and bury a wrister past Ellis at 10:33.
Despite the beckoning call of a loud sell-out Lucas County Arena crowd of 8,000, the Walleye could not come back. Elmira negated the Osman goal :24 seconds later after Matt Lowry scored on an odd-man rush to put the score at 7-2. Elmira added another near the 1:00 mark of the third for the 8-2 final.
~ SEASON STORIES ~
Tuxedo Jerseys: On Saturday, the Walleye sported tuxedo jerseys during the game. Following the contest, the game worn special event uniforms were auctioned for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Northwest Ohio.
Following the Fish: For the season, 159,894 fans have passed through the turnstiles at the Lucas County Arena after the 8,000 fans (seventh sellout) packed the arena. The Walleye are the first team in the league to surpass the 150,000 milestone for the year. Toledo is now second in the ECHL with an average of 5,922 per game.
Roster Moves: Prior to Saturday’s contest, the Walleye announced that forward Evan Rankin signed with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. The Walleye also signed a pair of players. Forward John May, who made his professional debut with Toledo on Saturday, joins Toledo as well as defenseman Mike Wilson, a former 1st round selection (20th overall) by the Vancouver Canucks of the 1993 draft.
~ Photo and Story by: Philipp Levering, Toledo Walleye