TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye came up short against the Wheeling Nailers, 3-2, on Friday night despite coming within one goal of sending the game to overtime in the contest’s final minute.
The loss brings the Walleye’s record to 5-3-0-0 on the season. Matt Berry picked up both Toledo goals on the night, bringing his points total to 11 on the season. He came into tonight’s contest tied for tenth in the ECHL in the category.
The first period started with just three shots on goal combined during the first 9:35 of the game. Marcus Vela picked up a tripping penalty, leading to a Wheeling goal from Nick Hutchison at the 10:32 mark in the period. The Nailers’ lead only lasted for 13 seconds before Matt Berry responded with a goal for the Walleye on assists from John Albert and TJ Hensick. Hensick extended his ECHL-leading points streak to seven games on the assist. The Walleye and Nailers remained tied for the remainder of the period, heading into the intermission with one goal apiece.
The Walleye outshot Wheeling, 10-4, in the first period, but Toledo’s fortune changed in the second as Wheeling tallied 16 shots on goal to the Walleye’s eight, netting two goals. Five players picked up penalties in the first 6:02 of a chippy second period, and Wheeling scored two goals in 1:01 of game time to gain a 3-1 advantage.
The first goal for the Nailers came unassisted at the 9:48 mark by Jared Cockrell, and Shaw Boomhower received assistance from Tyler Drevitch to net the second Wheeling goal with 10:49 gone. The Walleye had a power play chance after Wheeling’s Cam Hausinger was called for tripping at 12:24 in the period, but they came up emptyhanded, keeping the score 3-1 in favor of the Nailers for the remainder of the frame.
The Nailers picked up another tripping penalty with 4:47 gone in the third period, but Toledo was unable to capitalize with a man advantage on the ice. The final two penalties of the night picked up quite the response from the crowd as Marcus Vela and Nick Hutchison fought next to the Walleye bench. They each received five-minute penalties at the 9:19 mark in the frame.
The Walleye emptied the net with under two minutes remaining, and it quickly paid off as Toledo trimmed the Nailers’ lead to 3-2 on Matt Berry’s second goal of the night and fifth of the season. Randy Gazzola earned the assist. Despite climbing within striking distance of the Nailers, the Walleye could not even the score in the last 39 seconds, and Wheeling escaped with the win.
Wheeling outshot Toledo, 27-26, over the course of the contest, including 16-8 in the decisive second frame. Wheeling earned the only power play goal of the night, going 1-for-2 in the category. The Walleye had five power play opportunities but were unable to convert on any of their tries. Alex D’Orio picked up the win for the Nailers, saving 24 of 26 shots, while Billy Christopoulos took the loss, also making 24 saves in 58:18 in the net for the Walleye.
The Walleye travel west for a rematch with the Fort Wayne Komets tomorrow night for their first road game since Nov. 5. Puck drop from Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is set for 7:30 p.m.
- Wheeling – Jared Cockrell (goal)
- Wheeling – Shaw Boomhower (game winning goal)
- Toledo – Matt Berry (two goals)