TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye’s five-game win streak came to an end Saturday night the as the Fish fell to the Wheeling Nailers, 7-2, at the Huntington Center.
The Nailers used a four-goal third period to extend a two-score lead to five, netting three power play goals late to secure the victory. The Fish dropped to 25-9-2 with the loss, snapping a 12-game home unbeaten in regulation streak dating back to Nov. 14. Toledo’s last home loss in regulation came against the Nailers in a 3-2 decision on Nov. 12.
The Fish took 13 shots to Wheeling’s four in the opening 20 minutes and scored first 12:31 into the game. Brandon Schultz netted the puck off a turnover to give the Walleye their first lead of the game. The unassisted tally was Schultz’s fifth of the season.
Just 46 seconds later, Wheeling got on the board to even the score at one each. Bobby Hampton scored on assists from Nick Hutchison and Niclas Almari for the equal strength goal.
The contest became chippy early with a fight between Devon Paliani and Cam Hausinger near Toledo’s net. Both players received five-minute fighting majors after the scuffle, marking two of five penalties in the first period. Toledo went on the power play twice while the Nailers held the man advantage once. Neither team scored a power play goal in the opening frame.
Toledo won the shooting battle in the second, but Wheeling won the period in the scoring column, netting two goals in a three-minute span to gain the 3-1 advantage. Tyler Drevitch netted the first goal at 5:51, with Brandon Saigeon and Cam Hough providing the assists. Adam Smith added to Wheeling’s lead with a goal of his own at the 8:24 mark. Justin Almeida and Cam Hausinger provided the helpers as the Nailers went up by two.
Penalties piled up quickly when multiple scrums broke out following a collision near Toledo’s goal with 14:26 gone in the period. The two teams exchanged words near Max Milosek before two fights broke out near center ice. Cole Fraser and Félix Paré exchanged punches while Brandon Hawkins got tied up with another Wheeling skater. Fraser and Paré each received fighting majors while Paré received a game misconduct. Josh Maniscalo picked up a roughing minor to round out the second period penalties.
After the penalties were assessed, Toledo went on the power play for two minutes. The Fish could not trim Wheeling’s lead with the man advantage, moving to 0-for-3 on the power play in the first two periods. The Nailers maintained their two-goal advantage for the remainder of the frame, entering the final 20 minutes with a 3-1 lead.
That lead grew for Wheeling in the final frame as the Nailers outscored the Fish, 4-1, behind a 13-4 shot advantage in the final 20 minutes. Three of those goals came on the power play as the Walleye picked up five penalties in the period.
Mitchell Heard entered the penalty box at 6:25 for tripping, and Cole Fraser quickly followed after he was called for roughing at 6:58. Down two skaters, the Fish looked to return to full strength unscathed, but Wheeling’s Tim Doherty found the back of the net just seconds after Heard returned to the ice to earn a power play goal at the 8:33 mark. Chris Ortiz and Justin Almeida earned the assists as the Nailers extended their lead to 4-1.
Brandon Hawkins cut into Wheeling’s lead with his ninth goal of the season at the 9:20 mark, bringing the Fish within two goals with just over half a period to play. The equal strength goal came unassisted, making the score 4-2.
Four minutes went by before Wheeling scored again as Shaw Boomhower dished the puck to Nick Hutchison for the equal strength goal.
As the game entered the final three minutes, a slew of penalties resulted in two power play goals for the Nailers in the final minute of regulation. At 18:21, Cole Fraser received a five-minute interference penalty while Wheeling’s Jake Flegel picked up a ten-minute misconduct. Justin Almeida scored 41 seconds into the power play, with Josh Maniscalco assisting. Then, Brett Boeing received a ten-minute misconduct and a two-minute roughing minor to put the Fish down two skaters. Tim Doherty capped off the scoring for Wheeling with a goal at 19:40, assisted by Nick Hutchison and Maniscalco, and the Nailers cruised to a 7-2 victory at the Huntington Center.
The Walleye outshot the Nailers, 32-26, in the contest while Wheeling earned six power play opportunities to Toledo’s three. The Nailers converted three times with the man advantage while Toledo did not find the back of the net on their chances.
Brody Claeys earned the victory in net for the Nailers, saving 30-of-32 shots in a full 60 minutes between the pipes. Max Milosek’s five-game win streak in net for the Fish came to an end with the loss. He made 19 saves in the effort.
The Walleye look to secure a winning record in their three-game weekend slate tomorrow evening when they face the Indy Fuel for the second time in three days. Puck drop from the Huntington Center is set for 5:15 p.m.
- Wheeling – Tim Doherty (two power play goals)
- Wheeling – Justin Almeida (power play goal, two assists)
- Wheeling – Nick Hutchison (goal, two assists)