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Tomlak’s late-game heroics lift the Walleye over the Stingrays

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Toledo Walleye were just seconds away from heading to overtime in South Carolina Friday night, but Brady Tomlak played the hero with an equal strength goal with 13 seconds left in regulation to give the Fish a 2-1 lead over the South Carolina Stingrays.

The Walleye snapped a two-game winless streak with the victory to move to 14-6-1 on the season. It was also the first time this season where Toledo posted a win when scoring less than three goals. Billy Christopoulos was met with 33 shots on the night, only allowing one goal as he picked up his eighth win this season in a near-perfect performance.

The Walleye outshot the Stingrays, 19-7, in the opening period, but the Fish could not find the back of the net in the frame, leading to a tie through the first 20 minutes of action. The Walleye had two power play opportunities in the period, one coming at 7:21 on a South Carolina interference penalty and the second occurring after a hooking minor with 14:09 gone. The Stingrays earned both penalty kills, and the game headed to the second period with no score.

The second period consisted of more shutout hockey until the period’s final minute. This time, South Carolina earned the shot advantage with 14 shots on goal to the Walleye’s ten. Both teams combined for four penalties in just over four minutes, starting with Cole Fraser’s delay of game penalty at 11:42. With 12:07 gone, a scuffle ensued in front of the Walleye net, but neither team picked up a penalty. However, at 13:23, Justin Florek and Butrus Ghafari each entered the penalty box after a second confrontation in front of Billy Christopoulos. Ben Boukal received a tripping penalty with 15:48 gone in the period, but the Walleye did not score on the power play.

As the second period wound down, Brett Boeing broke the stalemate with a goal at the 19:22 mark. The goal was his third of the season. John Albert and Adam Parsells earned the assists, bringing Albert to a total of 17 points on the season while Parsells collected his first professional point. The Walleye closed out the period with a 1-0 advantage.

After a few penalties in the first half of the third period, the Stingrays evened the score at one apiece with 13:50 gone in the frame. Jake Coleman netted the equal strength goal with help from Lawton Courtnall, leaving the Walleye with 6:10 to break the tie.

With just 13 seconds left in regulation, Brady Tomlak’s fourth goal of the season put the Walleye ahead for good, giving them the 2-1 lead. Randy Gazzola and Steve Oleksy provided the helpers, and Billy Christopoulos kept the puck out of the net on the other end to give the Fish the victory.

The Walleye sent 41 shots toward the South Carolina net while the Stingrays sent the puck at Billy Christopoulos 33 times. The Fish had three power play opportunities while the Stingrays had two. Neither team converted on their opportunities.

Billy Christopoulos earned his eighth win of the season, saving 32-of-33 shots in a near-shutout performance. Hunter Shepard collected the loss for South Carolina, making 39 saves on 41 shots in the effort.

What’s Next:

The Walleye travel to Greenville, S.C., tomorrow to face the Greenville Swamp Rabbits for the first time this season. Puck drop from Bon Secours Wellness Arena is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Three Stars:

  1. South Carolina – Hunter Shepard (L, 39 saves)
  2. Toledo – Brady Tomlak (game-winning goal)
  3. Toledo – Billy Christopoulos (W, 32 saves)