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Berschbach sets franchise record as Walleye prevail in shootout

Sunday, February 9th
Berschbach sets franchise record as Walleye prevail in shootout

TOLEDO, Ohio Shane Berschbach set a franchise record with his 112th career goal in a Toledo Walleye uniform on Saturday, before Gregor MacLeod and Josh Kestner both scored in the eventual shootout to lift the hosts to a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,183 at the Huntington Center.

The Walleye (27-13-3-1) had the better of the chances in overtime as the top two teams in the Central Division went beyond regulation for the second time in as many nights. Dylan Zink took a stretch pass from MacLeod at the Cincinnati (29-12-7-1) line and tried to slide his breakway attempt between the legs of Michael Houser, but had his effort turned away by the Cyclone netminder’s right pad near the 90-second mark. Another opportunity arrived when Justin Vaive was whistled for holding with 1:17 remaining in the extra session, but Toledo was unable to capitalize on the 4-on-3 power play as the game headed to a skills competition.

MacLeod made no mistake for the Walleye in the opening round, slowly skating to the right circle and firing a wrist shot from the hash marks just inside the right post. Cincinnati failed to answer in the bottom of the frame, as Cody Milan lost control of the puck as he tried to shift from backhand to forehand in front of Billy Christopoulos.

Kestner then gave Toledo a two-goal lead in the top of the second inning. After coming to a near-complete stop at the right dot, Kestner showed considerable patience as he held on to the puck in the slot before moving to his backhand and sliding a shot past Houser’s right pad. At the other end, Ben Johnson nearly left the puck at the Toledo line and failed to extend the shootout when his wrist shot bounced off the right arm of Christopoulos.

The Walleye outshot Cincinnati by a 7-1 margin to begin the contest, including four shots on their first power play chance, but the visitors started the scoring 13:20 into the opening period. Darik Angeli couldn’t jam his wraparound try inside the left post, but Nate Mitton gathered the puck in front of the crease and pushed his third effort between the left post and Christopoulos’ right pad.

Berschbach, who tied Toledo’s goal-scoring record in a 3-2 overtime win at Cincinnati one night ago, needed just 43 seconds to surpass the mark held by Evan Rankin. Alex Kromm took a rinkwide pass from Josh Winquist at the right point and snapped a shot that deflected off Berschbach’s stick and inside the left post for his 16th goal of the campaign. 

The Walleye doubled up the Cyclones in shots, 14-7, during a goalless second period, and eventually claimed their first lead of the night with 17:29 left in regulation. After Nolan Gluchowski gained the zone on the right wing and had his initial shot kicked away by Houser, Jimmy Lodge raced in from the left circle and used his shin to direct the rebound into the net. Lodge’s first tally since joining the Walleye remained a good goal following a lengthy review.

However, the Cyclones needed all of 21 ticks to restore parity when Andrew DeBrincat’s sharp wrist shot from the right point sailed through traffic and into the top right corner.

Toledo finished 0-for-3 on the man advantage, while Cincinnati did not score on its sole power play opportunity. Christopoulos fetched third-star honors with 35 saves, though Houser also stopped 35-of-37 shots during regulation and overtime.

What’s Next:The Walleye and Cyclones will meet for the third time in as many days when they return to the Huntington Center on Sunday for a 5:15 p.m. puck drop.

Three Stars:1. Toledo – Shane Berschbach (goal)2. Toledo – Gregor MacLeod (shootout goal)3. Toledo – Billy Christopoulos (W, 35 saves) 

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