TOLEDO, Ohio – Nolan Gluchowski and Marcus Vela each netted a power play goal as the Toledo Walleye cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Idaho Steelheads on Sunday before a sold-out crowd of 8,088 at the Huntington Center.
Vela was the only Walleye (29-14-4-1) skater to show multiple points, as he wrapped up the scoring after recording the primary assist on both of the home side’s first two goals. In all, Toledo finished 2-for-4 on the power play, while Idaho (28-17-3-4) failed to score on seven opportunities.
For the second time in as many nights, Abbott Girduckis broke the deadlock prior to the halfway mark of the opening frame. After Vela stickhandled away from pressure in front and had his backhanded effort turned away by Tomas Sholl, Girduckis was in prime position to guide the rebound into an open net at 7:47.
The Steelheads eventually pulled even with 18:34 gone in the same period. Shortly after Shane Berschbach’s slashing minor expired, Brett Supinski chipped the off the left half-boards to Spencer Naas, who banked a sharp-angle shot from near the left goaline off the nameplate of Billy Christopoulos and in for his fifth goal of the season.
Gluchowski restored Toledo’s one-goal edge with a power play marker against his former club 6:03 into the second stanza. Vela raced from the hash marks to the left circle in order to poke the puck toward the left point to Gluchowski for a wrister that whizzed past a screen and over Sholl’s left shoulder.
Later in the middle period, T.J. Hensick finished off a 2-on-0 to give the Walleye a 3-1 lead. Kyle Bonis took the puck across his own blue line and sent a pass ahead to Hensick, who placed his wrist shot from the right circle inside the far post at the 16:31 mark.
The Walleye successfuly killed off a 5-on-3 lasting 1:21 to preserve their two-goal lead, and put the game beyond any doubt with their second power play tally of the night. Although Dylan Zink's high one-timer from the point was fought off by Sholl, Vela was positioned in front of the Idaho net and guided the rebound into an empty cage with 4:29 remaining in regulation.
Christopoulos blocked 31-of-32 shots to earn the win and third-star accolades, while Sholl turned aside 25-of-29 in a losing cause.
What’s Next:The Walleye will begin a four-game road trip on Thursday when they square off against the Central Division-leading Cincinnati Cyclones. Puck drop from the Heritage Bank Center is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
Three Stars:1. Toledo - Marcus Vela (power play goal, two assists)2. Toledo - Nolan Gluchowski (power play goal)3. Toledo - Billy Christopoulos (W, 31 saves)