FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Toledo Walleye continued their perfect start to the 2019-20 campaign, as they notched three second-period goals en route to a 5-3 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday at the Memorial Coliseum.
Abbott Girduckis recorded a power play goal and an assist for the Walleye (2-0-0-0) in their first trip to Fort Wayne (2-1-0-0) since winning the 2019 Central Division Semifinals, while Shane Berschbach logged an even-strength goal and a helper. Pat Nagle recorded a season-high 39 saves, while Cole Kehler turned away 27-of-32 shots in a losing effort.
The Komets needed all of 62 seconds to break the deadlock, as Brady Shaw eased his way toward the Toledo net and maneuvered past Nagle’s pokecheck attempt before guiding the puck into an open goal.The Walleye also found the net on their first shot on target. Brenden Kotyk took a drop pass from Brett Boeing at the top of the right circle and ripped a wrist shot through traffic that sailed past Kehler’s blocker at the 2:08 mark.
Fort Wayne recaptured the lead just over five minutes into the first frame. Mason Bergh sent a rinkwide pass to Shawn Szydlowski, who lifted a wrist shot from the right circle into the top left corner to make it a 2-1 contest.After scoring the deciding goal in Toledo’s season opener at Brampton, Alex Kromm knotted the score at two apiece at the 7:22 mark of the middle stanza. Boeing’s effort from the left circle was turned aside by Kehler’s left pad, but Kromm was well-positioned to bury the rebound for his second goal in as many games.
The Walleye then jumped ahead later in the frame with a pair of goals in a 1:26 span. Berschbach tallied his first goal of the campaign at the 12:10 mark to put the visitors in front, before Girduckis doubled Toledo’s lead when he slammed home a power play marker at 13:36.
Fort Wayne eventually cut the margin to 4-3 when Matthew Boudens controlled the puck in the high slot, before turning around and wiring a sharp wrist shot inside the left post with 4:45 left in the second.
The Walleye restored their two-goal cushion when they capitalized on another power play in the final frame. Sixteen seconds into a Bergh elbowing minor, Branden Troock tallied his second goal of the season to extend the lead to 5-3 with 9:38 remaining.
In all, Toledo finished 2-for-7 on the power play, while Fort Wayne scored on 1-of-6 opportunities.
What’s Next:The Walleye continue their five-game road trip with a trip to the Show Me State to face the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday and Saturday. Both games will start at 8 p.m. EDT.
Three Stars:1. Toledo - Abbott Girduckis (power play goal, assist)2. Toledo - Shane Berschbach (goal, assist)3. Toledo - T.J. Hensick (two assists)