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Walleye win third straight on Hensick’s game-winner

Sunday, December 5th
Walleye win third straight on Hensick’s game-winner

TOLEDO, Ohio – TJ Hensick netted his 13th and 14th goals of the season Saturday night, scoring the game-winner in overtime to lift the Toledo Walleye over the Wheeling Nailers, 4-3. 

Four skaters tallied multiple points in the victory, giving the Walleye their third straight win, all in overtime. The Fish have won their last five contests in the Huntington Center and now hold an 11-5-0 record.

The Walleye had three early power play opportunities in the first period, scoring once to take the early advantage. Wheeling’s Adam Smith tripped Josh Dickinson 3:33 after puck drop, and the Nailers earned a successful penalty kill before Brandon Saigeon served a penalty for too many men on the ice at 7:16. That penalty became consequential for the Nailers when Marcus Vela netted a goal 39 seconds into the power play, putting Toledo up, 1-0. The score marked Vela’s eighth goal of the season. TJ Hensick and Randy Gazzola each earned an assist.

Toledo and Wheeling exchanged shots for the next ten minutes before Josh Maniscalco entered the penalty box for tripping at 17:18. The Walleye could not score on their third power play opportunity of the period, and they finished the first frame 1-for-3 with the man advantage. The Fish sent ten shots toward the Wheeling net compared to the Nailers’ five.

Just over a minute into the second period, Marcus Vela picked up a holding minor, heading to the penalty box for two minutes to put Wheeling on the power play for the first time. The Walleye made the successful penalty kill, and neither team sent a player to the penalty box for the remainder of the period.

The contest became increasingly physical as the Walleye and Nailers landed some big hits toward the middle of the period. Eventually, Wheeling scored their first goal after 11:51 to tie the game at one apiece. Josh Maniscalco netted the puck with Cam Hausinger and Nick Hutchison assisting, giving the Nailers and Walleye a clean slate heading into the final period.

Wheeling scored first in an action-packed third period as Dylan MacPherson’s shot landed just past the goal line to put Wheeling up one. Bobby Hampton and Nick Hutchison picked up assists on the score. 

At the 8:14 mark, an altercation occurred in front of the Toledo net, and Cole Fraser received two minutes in the penalty box for roughing. 20 seconds after Fraser exited the penalty box, Wheeling’s Matt Foley held the Walleye defenseman and picked up a two-minute minor. The Walleye then proceeded to score two goals in under three minutes, with Marcus Vela netting his second power play goal of the game and TJ Hensick finding the back of the net for the first time on the night. 

Vela’s goal came at the 11:04 mark, 30 seconds into the Walleye’s fourth power play opportunity of the game. He was assisted by Josh Dickinson, who extended his point streak to seven games, and Randy Gazzola, who assisted on every Walleye goal. Hensick’s goal with 13:59 gone also extended his point streak to seven, matching his season high. Hensick entered tonight’s game leading the ECHL in goals and points. Vela and Gazzola assisted Hensick for their third point each. 

The Walleye were on the cusp of a regulation victory when the Nailers found the back of the net at 18:54 to tie the game at three goals each. Tim Doherty and Josh Maniscalco assisted Cam Hausinger on the equal strength goal, sending the contest to overtime. The Walleye have now gone to overtime in three straight matches, previously defeating Fort Wayne and Indy in the extra period last week.

Toledo and Wheeling played the first 2:05 with three skaters each before Josh Maniscalco picked up a holding minor, granting the Walleye a fourth skater. After 1:28 on the power play, TJ Hensick scored the game-winner on assists from Josh Dickinson and Randy Gazzola. Hensick’s second goal of the game gave him his 14thscore of the year. Dickinson and Gazzola tallied their second and fourth assists of the game, respectively. The 4-3 win marked the third straight Walleye win, all coming in overtime.

The Fish had 33 shots on goal to the Nailers’ 21. The Walleye outshot Wheeling in the first two periods while both teams tallied eight shots in the third frame. The only shot in overtime came off the stick of TJ Hensick to give Toledo the win. The Walleye scored on three-of-five power play opportunities while holding Wheeling scoreless on their two chances. 

Victor Brattstrom picked up the win for Toledo, saving 18-of-21 shots in his third game with the Walleye. He is now 2-1-0 in net for the Fish. Stefanos Lekkas recorded the loss for Wheeling, collecting 29 saves for the Nailers.

What’s Next:

The Walleye will conclude their three-game homestand Sunday evening, facing the Cincinnati Cyclones for the second time this season. Puck drop from the Huntington Center is set for 5:15 p.m.

Three Stars:

  1. Toledo – TJ Hensick (game-winning power play goal, equal strength goal, assist)
  2. Wheeling – Cam Hausinger (goal, assist)
  3. Toledo – Marcus Vela (two power play goals, assist)

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