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Walleye sweep Swamp Rabbits on Gazzola’s game-winner

GREENVILLE, S.C. – For the second time in 24 hours, the Toledo Walleye and Greenville Swamp Rabbits went to overtime at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, and for the second straight game, the Walleye came out on top. 

Randy Gazzola’s game-winner came 46 seconds into overtime, giving Toledo the 2-1 win for the season sweep over the Swamp Rabbits. The Fish have won three straight contests, bringing their record to 4-1-1 on their six-game road trip. They are 16-6-1 heading into Winterfest at Fifth Third Field.

Toledo and Greenville skated out to a scoreless first period. The Swamp Rabbits outshot the Walleye, 10-8, in the opening frame, while Brady Tomlak picked up the only penalty in the period. Tomlak was called for high-sticking at the 14:30 mark, sending the Swamp Rabbits to the power play. The Walleye earned their first penalty kill, and the game remained scoreless after the first 20 minutes.

2:07 into the second period, Cole Fraser served two minutes in the penalty box for roughing, putting the Swamp Rabbits on the power play for the second time. Toledo prevented Greenville from scoring again, and at 4:48, Brandon Hawkins scored his first goal of the season to put the Walleye up, 1-0.

The Walleye lead lasted until the 13:32 mark in the second period, when Greenville’s Nikita Pavlychev tied the contest with help from Shawn Cameron and Bryce Reddick. The Walleye and Swamp Rabbits played out the remainder of the second period tied at one goal each. Greenville outshot Toledo, 15-7, in the frame.

The third period saw a total of one penalty and no goals, keeping the contest tied as regulation ended. The penalty came courtesy of Chris Martenet, who was called for high-sticking with 9:02 gone. The Fish earned their third penalty kill of the game, going perfect in the category, while finishing regulation in a 1-1 tie.

Last night’s contest in Grenville ended 24 seconds into overtime on a Walleye goal. This time, it took 46 seconds for a Toledo player to end the sudden death period. Randy Gazzola found the back of the net for the game-winner for his second goal of the season, both coming in overtime. The goal gave the Walleye the 2-1 win, their third victory in a row.

Greenville took 31 shots to Toledo’s 26 while receiving three power play opportunities. The Swamp Rabbits could not convert on any of their chances, while the Walleye never went to the man advantage.

Billy Christopoulos picked up his tenth win of the 2021-22 campaign, saving 30-of-31 shots against Greenville. He was in net for all three victories this weekend, becoming the fourth goaltender to reach ten wins this season. Evan Fitzpatrick recorded the loss for Greenville, saving 24 shots in 60:46 of action.

What’s Next:

The Walleye have the week off before returning to Toledo for Winterfest on Sunday, Dec. 26. Puck drop from Fifth Third Field is set for 6 p.m.

Three Stars:

  1. Toledo – Randy Gazzola (game-winning goal)
  2. Greenville – Nikita Pavlychev (goal)
  3. Greenville – Evan Fitzpatrick (L, 24 saves)