TULSA, Okla. – The Toledo Walleye had their franchise-record run of five consecutive postseason victories halted by the Tulsa Oilers as they dropped a 4-1 decision in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday at the BOK Center, trimming the visitors’ series lead to 2-1.
Dylan Sadowy recorded Toledo’s lone goal of the contest 7:26 into the third period, tying Greg Wolfe for the team lead with his seventh goal of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club. Pat Nagle shined between the pipes as he turned away 32-of-35 shots – including all 20 he faced during the second stanza – while Devin Williams marked his return to the lineup by stopping 29-of-30 and gaining third-star accolades.
The Walleye, who were handed their first regulation loss in their last six postseason road tilts, will continue their inaugural trip to Tulsa with Game 4 on Friday and Game 5 on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EDT.
Toledo was camped in the offensive zone in the early stages, striking metal twice before Tulsa could register a shot on goal. On the power play just 21 seconds in, A.J. Jenks nearly put the visitors in front when his attempt from the top of the right circle rang off the crossbar at the half-minute mark. Moments later, Sadowy took a pass from Zach Gallant at the right circle and snapped a shot over Williams’ glove-side shoulder that was also denied by the crossbar.
The Oilers failed to test Nagle through the first nine minutes of play, but eventually seized a 1-0 lead at 13:09. With the teams skating 4-on-4 as Bryan Moore and Chris Forney served matching minors, Stephen Perfetto entered the Toledo zone and worked his way down to the right circle before setting up Alex Dostie in the high slot for a shot narrowly inside the right post.
The Walleye remained within a goal despite a 20-9 deficit in shots during the second period, but the Oilers’ first shot of the final frame resulted in a power play marker at 1:11. Perfetto sent a pass from the top of the left circle toward Adam Pleskach in the high slot that the latter redirected inside the right post.
Momentum suddenly shifted in Toledo’s favor as Sadowy cut Tulsa’s lead in half at the 7:26 mark. After Trevor Hamilton poked the puck away from Ian McNulty in the high slot, Sadowy raced out of his own zone and into the Tulsa slot before firing a shot between Williams’ pads. However, the Walleye could not level the score after Perfetto was whistled for hooking at 8:27.
Tulsa restored its two-goal advantage with 2:17 remaining in the contest, as Charlie Sampair snatched the puck from Matt Register behind the Walleye net and found Ryan Tesink in the high slot for a wrister into the top right corner. Although Chris Crane’s selfless block in the crease prevented an empty-netter with under a minute to go, Tanner Kaspick would eventually guide the puck into an open cage just before time expired to give the hosts a more generous scoreline.
Tulsa finished 1-for-3 on the power play while the Walleye were unable to capitalize on three chances.
1. Tulsa – Adam Pleskach (power play goal)
2. Tulsa – Alex Dostie (goal, assist)
3. Tulsa – Devin Williams (W, 29 saves)