TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye netted a trio of power play goals on Sunday, while Pat Nagle turned away 39 shots to become the winningest goaltender in franchise history in a 3-1 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets at the Huntington Center.
Nagle earned first-star accolades after notching his 64th career regular season victory in a Walleye (5-1-1-0) uniform, surpassing the franchise mark held by Jeff Lerg. On the offensive end, rookies Troy Loggins, Abbott Girduckis and Brett Boeing each capitalized on the man advantage as the hosts finished 3-for-5 on the power play, while Fort Wayne (5-3-1-0) failed to score on four opportunities.
The contest was brought to a halt at the 63-second mark when linesman Logan Bellgraph was forced to exit due to an injury, leaving just one referee and a single linesman for nearly half of the game. Chad Fuller, who officiated in Saturday’s home opener against Florida, took over as the second linesman with 12:36 left in the second period.
The Walleye survived a stretch in which they were outshot by a 9-0 count through the opening nine minutes, and eventually captured the lead on the power play later in the frame. While A.J. Jenks served a tripping minor in his return to the Huntington Center, Loggins unloaded a slapshot from the left point that sailed past a screened Matthew Villalta at 14:46.
Toledo doubled its lead shortly after Jenks was whistled for another minor penalty in the second stanza. Girduckis redirected T.J. Hensick’s centering pass off the mask of Villalta, but the puck ricocheted off the top of the Fort Wayne netminder’s blocker before bouncing over the latter's right shoulder, rolling off his back and trickling in at the 9:44 mark. Girduckis, who scored three goals in seven games with the Walleye at the tail end of the 2018-19 season, now leads the club with four goals in seven outings to begin the current campaign.
Shawn St-Amant scored on Fort Wayne’s first shot of the final frame at 1:41, but the Walleye restored their two-goal advantage moments later with another power play marker. Although a Justin Buzzeo one-timer for the right circle was fought off by Villalta, Boeing was in front to chip the rebound over the right pad for his first professional goal with 9:58 remaining in regulation.Villalta stopped 24-of-27 shots in a losing cause.
What’s Next:The Walleye return to the Huntington Center to Wednesday morning to battle the Wheeling Nailers. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:35 a.m.
Three Stars:1. Toledo – Pat Nagle (W, 39 saves)2. Toledo – Troy Loggins (power play goal, assist)3. Toledo – Abbott Girduckis (game-winning power play goal)