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Walleye frustrated by Florida in home opener

Sunday, November 3rd
Walleye frustrated by Florida in home opener

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye were unable to hold on to a two-goal, third-period lead on Saturday, as Florida Everblades forward Blake Winiecki scored with 3:06 remaining in overtime to lift the visitors to a 4-3 victory in front of an Opening Night-record crowd of 8,379 at the Huntington Center.

After Josh Kestner wristed his partial breakaway attempt well over Ken Appleby’s catching glove, Florida (5-3-0-0) countered with a 2-on-0 in the Toledo (4-1-1-0) zone. Zach Magwood chased down the loose puck in the right corner and centered the pass to Winiecki in close for a one-timer inside the left post 3:54 into the seven-minute overtime.

The Everblades broke the deadlock with 8:51 left in the opening period, as Michael Downing’s one-timer from the left point was redirected in the slot by Justin Auger past the blocker of a sliding Pat Nagle.

The Walleye faced a misleading 11-2 deficit in shots over the first 20 minutes, but countered with three unanswered goals in the second stanza. Branden Troock flipped a short pass to Alec McCrea, who scored his first professional goal when he skated down from the point to the left circle and fired a wrist shot between Appleby’s right arm and body at the 3:19 mark.

Toledo turned a defensive-zone faceoff win into a goal to grab a 2-1 lead lead at 10:36. On an eventual 2-on-1, Kestner’s initial effort from the right circle clanked off the left post, but Tyler Spezia chipped the bouncing puck into the open net before tripping over Appleby’s left pad. 

Shane Berschbach doubled the home side's advantage on the power play with just under four minutes left in the same period. Troock got in the way of Brandon Anselmini’s slapshot from the right point, but Berschbach was stationed at the left circle to lift the rebound into the empty cage for his 100th professional goal and 99th in a Walleye uniform.

The Walleye looked poised to add to their lead when Hunter Garlent was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking 6:25 into the third, but it was the Everblades who closed the gap with a shorthanded tally when Jeremy Dehner guided his breakaway attempt underneath Nagle’s right pad at 9:09.

Florida then evened the score at three apiece moments later. Auger claimed his second goal of the night,  deflecting another of Downing’s point shots into the top right corner with 7:44 left in regulation before the Everblades completed their comeback bid in overtime.

What’s Next:The Walleye look to get back in the win column on Sunday as they welcome the Fort Wayne Komets to the Huntington Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.

Three Stars:1. Florida – Blake Winiecki (overtime goal)2. Florida – Justin Auger (two goals)3. Toledo – Tyler Spezia (goal, assist)

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Wheeling Nailers
Toledo Walleye
Friday, November 1st
Wheeling Nailers @ Toledo Walleye
Puck Drops:
7:15 PM EDT
Huntington Center
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
at
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
Huntington Center
Cincinnati Cyclones
Toledo Walleye
Saturday, November 2nd
Cincinnati Cyclones @ Toledo Walleye
Puck Drops:
7:15 PM EDT
Huntington Center
Cincinnati Cyclones
CIN Cincinnati Cyclones
at
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
Huntington Center
Fort Wayne Komets
Toledo Walleye
Friday, November 8th
Fort Wayne Komets @ Toledo Walleye
Puck Drops:
7:15 PM EST
Huntington Center
Fort Wayne Komets
FW Fort Wayne Komets
at
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
Huntington Center

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