TOLEDO, Ohio – Twenty-seven days after putting a season-high nine goals past the Brampton Beast on home ice, the Toledo Walleye tamed their neighbors to the north again in a 6-2 victory on Friday in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,495 at the Huntington Center.
With Toledo’s fourth goal of the night 13:21 into the second period, Shane Berschbach became the second Walleye (12-7-1-0) skater in franchise history to reach the 100-goal mark, and now sits 11 goals shy of tying the club record held by Evan Rankin. Berschbach also dished out a trio of assists to garner second-star honors, while Charle-Edouard D’Astous also contributed three helpers.
Josh Kestner scored twice to tie Abbott Girduckis for the team lead with 10 goals on the season, while Josh Winquist tallied a goal and two assists. Additionally, Filip Larsson recorded his first ECHL win as he turned away 21-of-23 shots.
The Walleye outshot Brampton (13-8-1-0) by a 13-2 count to begin the contest, and started the scoring 8:13 into the opening period. Berschbach sent a lead pass from his own blueline that split the defense and reached Kestner, who gained the zone and wristed his breakaway attempt off the underside of the crossbar and in.
Brampton forward Lindsay Sparks was whistled for hooking at the end of the first frame, and T.J. Hensick doubled Toledo’s lead on the ensuing power play with 1:45 gone in the second stanza. Shortly after veteran defenseman Steven Oleksy gave up his body to break up a shorthanded 2-on-1, Winquist delivered a rinkwide pass to Hensick at the right circle for a wrist shot past a sliding Alex Dubeau.
Although they failing to score on a 5-on-3 later in the middle period, the Beast eventually cut the deficit to 2-1 near the halfway point of the game. Just six seconds after Toledo killed off the two-man advantage, Walleye alumnus Daniel Leavens had his initial backhander pushed away by Larsson, but Jackson Leef guided the rebound through the five-hole.
The Walleye quickly pulled away with a pair of goals in a 26-second span. Kestner moved to his forehand in the high slot and set up Brenden Kotyk at the right circle for a snapshot inside the left post at the 12:55 mark. Berschbach then reached the 100-goal plateau in a Toledo uniform when he whacked a rebound out of mid-air and over Dubeau’s catching glove to make it 4-1, prompting the Beast to place Evan Fitzpatrick between the pipes.
Brampton needed all of 36 seconds to respond to Berschbach’s goal, but Kestner restored the hosts' three-goal cushion on a lengthy 5-on-3 power play. After Berschbach took a pass from D’Astous at the lower part of the right circle, he set up Kestner at the point for a sharp one-timer that whizzed inside the left post.
Winquist potted Toledo’s sixth goal with 10:39 left in the third. Kestner drove the net on the left side and had his first try blocked by Fitzpatrick’s left pad, but Winquist was alone in front to snap the rebound into the top right corner.
Toledo finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while Brampton could not score on four opportunities. Dubeau blocked 21-of-25 shots in a losing cause, before Fitzpatrick stopped 13-of-15 in relief.
What’s Next:The Walleye remain at the Huntington Center on Saturday for their annual Teddy Bear Toss against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Three Stars:1. Toledo – Josh Kestner (two goals)2. Toledo – Shane Berschbach (goal, three assist)3. Toledo – Josh Winquist (goal, two assists)