WICHITA, Kan. – The Toledo Walleye scored four straight goals, including two from Mitchell Heard, Thursday night to cement a 6-2 St. Patrick’s Day victory over the Wichita Thunder on the road.
Heard led the offense with two goals and an assist while Max Milosek held the Thunder scoreless for nearly 44 minutes on the defensive end as the Walleye moved to 38-15-1-2 on the season. Toledo earned the sweep of the season series, winning both games against Wichita this season.
The Walleye scored twice in the first four minutes of action to take an early lead against the Thunder. Wichita’s Dean Stewart was called for holding just 15 seconds into the game, and Hayden Verbeek found the back of the net for a power play goal 2:12 into his Walleye debut as Mitchell Heard and Gordi Myer assisted.
John Albert followed with an equal strength goal 1:31 later, giving the Fish the 2-0 lead. The goal, Albert’s 21stof the season, was assisted by TJ Hensick and Ryan Lowney.
The Walleye remained ahead by two for the next 12 minutes before Mitchell Heard scored a goal of his own to put Toledo up by three. The goal came on the power play following a tripping penalty by Alex Peters to give Heard his 12th goal of the season and second point of the game. Myer and Lowney each recorded their second assist of the game with the helpers.
Toledo outshot Wichita, 19-7, in the opening period and took the 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
In the second period, the Walleye added another goal to extend the lead to four. The goal came courtesy of Mitchell Heard at the 6:26 mark, bringing his season total to 13 as he received a long pass and scored past a Thunder defender. Seth Barton assisted, scoring his first Walleye point.
The Fish held the Thunder scoreless in the middle frame, increasing their shot margin to 28-14 through 40 minutes of play.
Brayden Watts ended the scoreless night for the Thunder, finding the back of the net at the 3:58 mark in the third period to trim Toledo’s lead to three. Stephen Johnson and Alex Peters tallied the assists on Wichita’s first goal of the game.
Just over a minute later, Matt Berry brought the Walleye lead back to four on an equal strength goal at 5:08. Hayden Verbeek collected his second point of the game with the primary assist while Randy Gazzola earned the secondary assist.
With 15:30 gone, the Walleye gained their largest lead of the game as Randy Gazzola found the back of the net with help from Ian Parker. The goal gave the Fish the 6-1 lead late in the contest.
With just 32 seconds to play, Wichita scored their second goal of the game, courtesy of Cam Clarke. Clarke’s seventh goal of the season was assisted by Ostap Safin and Jacob Graves. The Walleye ultimately came away with the 6-2 victory to get back in the win column to start the road trip.
The Fish accumulated a 20-shot margin over the Thunder in the contest, 42-22. Toledo also received three power play opportunities to Wichita’s one, scoring twice with the man advantage while keeping Wichita out of the net on its lone opportunity.
Max Milosek earned the win in net for the Walleye in his first game since Feb. 4. He saved 20-of-22 shots to earn his eighth win of the season. Bailey Brkin recorded the loss for the Thunder, saving 36-of-42 shots in the effort.
The Walleye kick off a three-game series with the Tulsa Oilers on the road Saturday night. Puck drop from the BOK Center is set for 8:05 p.m.
- Toledo – Mitchell Heard (two goals, assist)
- Toledo – Hayden Verbeek (power play goal, assist)
- Wichita – Brayden Watts (goal)