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Walleye split opening-weekend series at Greenville

Sunday, October 14th
Walleye split opening-weekend series at Greenville

GREENVILLE, S.C.A.J. Jenks potted his second goal in as many nights to restore parity with 4:27 remaining in regulation, but the Toledo Walleye were unable to author another comeback story as the Greenville Swamp Rabbits responded with a pair of goals to secure a 4-2 result on Saturday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Dylan Sadowy notched his ECHL-best third goal of the campaign in the opening frame, while Samuel Thibault and Shane Berschbach both assisted on Jenks’ game-tying effort. Despite blocking 20-of-23 shots between the pipes for the Walleye (1-1-0-0), 20-year-old netminder Kaden Fulcher was saddled with the loss in his professional debut.

Chances were few and far between in the early stages until Sadowy broke the scoreless tie with a shorthanded goal at the 12:35 mark. Twelve seconds after Ryan Obuchowski was whistled for a holding minor, Sadowy gathered possession in the offensive zone and converted a successful wraparound try to give the Walleye a 1-0 advantage.

Greenville (1-0-1-0) managed to level proceedings with 2:23 remaining in the opening frame. Stephen Pierog gained the zone on the left side, cut through the slot and fired a wrist shot from the right circle into the top right corner to knot the game at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.

The Swamp Rabbits captured their first lead of the night on the man advantage with 4:56 to play in the middle period. Johno May stepped out of the penalty box and took a stretch pass from Pierog, before moving from backhand to forehand to bury his breakaway attempt and lift the hosts to a 2-1 edge.

An already contentious matchup boiled over as the second period came to a close, with Sadowy and Chad Duchesne dropping the gloves. Additionally, Travis Howe was handed a game misconduct – his second 10-minute infraction of the game – for continuing the altercation, shouting in the direction of Toledo’s coaching staff before finally leaving the ice. In total, the Walleye and Swamp Rabbits combined to serve 74 penalty minutes in the contest.

Toledo continued to apply pressure and eventually erased its second third-period deficit in as many nights. Thibault sent a pass out of the left corner to Jenks at the bottom of the left circle for a one-timer that blew past Garrett Bartus and evened the score at 2-2 with 4:37 left in the final frame.

The deadlock lasted all of 45 seconds, as Austen Brassard came back to haunt his former club with what proved to be the game-winning tally at the 16:08 mark. May added an empty-netter with 34 seconds on the clock to wrap up the scoring.

Greenville finished 1-for-8 on the power play, while the Walleye were unable to cash in on four opportunities. Bartus made his second consecutive start and turned away 30-of-32 shots in a winning cause.

What’s Next:Toledo continues its five-game road trip on Saturday, Oct. 20, when the Walleye travel to the Hoosier State to face the Indy Fuel. Puck drop from Indiana Farmers Coliseum is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.

Three Stars:1. Greenville – Johno May (two goals)2. Greenville – Stephen Pierog (goal, assist)3. Greenville – Austen Brassard (game-winning goal, assist)

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