ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland – Brady Ferguson scored his second goal of the night with 38.4 seconds left in regulation to down the Toledo Walleye in their return to the Mile One Centre on Friday, as the Newfoundland Growlers snatched a 4-3 victory in the first head-to-head duel between the two teams since the 2019 Kelly Cup Finals.
The Walleye (7-4-1-0), who dropped three one-goal games at Newfoundland (8-5-0-0) during the championship series, were denied a chance to knot the score at three apiece when former Toledo netminder Angus Redmond poked away Brandon Anselmini’s penalty shot attempt with 6:25 left in the third. Mike Moffat would eventually restore parity when he tallied his third goal in as many games with 3:51 to go in regulation, but Ferguson’s last-minute wrist shot from just above the top of the right circle appeared to change direction in front before dipping past the catching glove of Pat Nagle to give the home side both points.
The Walleye overcame a sluggish start and opened the scoring 9:04 into the first frame. Shortly after the visitors weathered a Josh Winquist slashing minor, Troy Loggins had his initial effort pushed aside by Redmond, but Justin Buzzeo put Toledo in front when he buried the rebound for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Newfoundland fought back to grab the lead with a pair of goals during the second stanza. Zach O’Brien took a pass from Matt Bradley at the top of the left circle before skating into the high slot and sending a wrister between Nagle’s pads at the 4:23 mark. Toledo’s streak of 23 successful penalty kills came to an end later in the period, as Ferguson took a pass at the far edge of the left circle and drove toward the front of the net, before toedragging the puck onto his backhand and flipping a shot inside the right post at 9:48.
Abbott Girduckis pulled the visitors even when he netted his team-leading seventh goal of the season at the 13:45 mark of the middle frame, but the Growlers seized a 3-2 edge near the halfway point of the third period. Marcus Power absorbed pressure behind the Toledo net and centered a pass toward Tommy Panico at the left circle for a sharp one-timer past a screened Nagle with 10:35 remaining in regulation.
Newfoundland finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Walleye were unable to convert on two opportunities. Redmond turned away 24-of-27 shots for the Growlers, while Nagle blocked 28-of-32 to garner third-star accolades.
What’s Next:The Walleye remain in Newfoundland on Saturday to wrap up their two-game series against the Growlers. Puck drop from the Mile One Centre is set for 5:30 p.m. EST.
Three Stars:1. Newfoundland – Brady Ferguson (two goals, assist)2. Newfoundland – Zach O’Brien (goal, assost)3. Toledo – Pat Nagle (L, 28 saves)