BRAMPTON, Ontario – The Toledo Walleye were unable to preserve a three-goal lead in their season opener on Saturday, but recovered to capture both points as newcomer Alex Kromm scored with 3:23 remaining in regulation to clinch a 4-3 victory over the Brampton Beast at the CAA Centre.Tyler Spezia and Branden Troock each recorded a goal and assist as the Walleye (1-0-0-0) kicked off their 11th regular season on a winning note, while Josh Winquist dished out a pair of assists. Returning for his third season in the Toledo net, Pat Nagle blocked 30-of-33 shots to garner third-star accolades.The Walleye needed just 21 seconds to score the opening goal of the campaign. Before Matt Melzak could call the action on Fox Sports 1230 WCWA, Shane Berschbach was credited with breaking the deadlock on Toledo’s first shot.Troock doubled Toledo’s advantage 5:46 into the first frame. After the Walleye won a battle for the puck at the left half-boards, Winquist chipped a pass toward the high slot to Spezia, who set up Troock in the high slot for a wrister that trickled between Joey Daccord’s catching glove and body. The same line that gave the visitors a 2-0 lead produced a third goal, as Troock and Winquist and combined to set up Spezia 3:32 into the second stanza.Brampton (0-1-0-0) held a 15-5 advantage in shots during the middle period, and eventually made a breakthrough when Christopher Clapperton trimmed Toledo’s lead to 3-1 with 53 seconds left in the frame. The Beast continued to carry the play into the third period, and eventually knotted the score with two goals in a 1:09 span. T.J. Melancon sliced the deficit in half at the 10:42 mark, before Jordan Henry restored parity shortly thereafter. Although the visitors were unable to capitalize on a bench minor with 6:36 left in regulation, Kromm, acquired on Wednesday from Tulsa in exchange for future considerations, found the net in his Walleye debut with 3:23 remaining to seal a 4-3 decision.
The Walleye finished 0-for-3 on the power play, while Brampton failed to score on a pair of opportunities. Daccord stopped 25-of-29 shots in a losing cause.
What’s Next:The Walleye return to action on Saturday, Oct. 19 for a road matchup against the Fort Wayne Komets. Puck drop from the Memorial Coliseum is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
Three Stars:1. Toledo – Tyler Spezia (goal, assist)2. Brampton – Christopher Clapperton (goal, assist)3. Toledo – Pat Nagle (W, 30 saves)