WHEELING, W. Va. – The Toledo Walleye fell to the Wheeling Nailers, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at WesBanco Arena as the Nailers took the season series, 4-3.
Brandon Hawkins and Brett Boeing scored goals for the Fish, and Zach Driscoll put together a 40-save performance, but the Nailers outscored the Walleye, 2-1, in the final frame to earn the win. The Walleye hold a 47-19-1-2 record with three games remaining in the regular season.
The Walleye and Nailers started the contest with a scoreless first period. Zach Driscoll stopped 17 shots in the first 20 minutes while the Walleye offense took eight shots of their own.
The two teams also played a penalty-free period for 19:34 before TJ Hensick entered the penalty box for cross-checking. The resulting Wheeling power play carried into the second period for 16 seconds before Cam Hausinger was called for tripping. The Walleye and Nailers played 1:18 of 4-on-4 hockey before Hensick exited the box to put the Walleye on a brief power play. The Nailers earned the penalty kill to return to full strength at 2:16.
At the 6:09 mark, Matt Foley was called for hooking, sending the Walleye back to the power play. With 6:49 gone, Brandon Hawkins shot the puck from the left circle and found the back of the net over Louis-Philip Guindon’s left shoulder. Hawkins tallied his 32nd goal of the season with the score, and Randy Gazzola and John Albert collected assists.
The Walleye held the lead for nearly ten minutes before Sam Houde found the back of the net at 16:18 to tie the game. Patrick Watling and Cam Hausinger assisted as the Nailers got on the board for the first time in the contest.
Wheeling finished with 15 shots to Toledo’s 11 in the period, and the two teams finished the middle frame tied at one.
The Walleye got on the board early in the third to take the 2-1 lead on Brett Boeing’s 23rd goal of the season. Boeing scored from the front of the net as Brandon Schultz picked up the lone assist. Boeing scored three goals against Wheeling this weekend, all of which came in the third period.
That lead lasted for four minutes before Sean Josling, assisted by Justin Almeida, tied the game with an equal strength goal at the 5:51 mark. The goal marked Josling’s 14th of the season to bring the Wheeling total to two.
Brandon Hawkins picked up a slashing minor at the 7:19 mark, heading to the penalty box for the next two minutes. The Walleye escaped with the penalty kill, but the Nailers found the back of the net just four seconds later to take their first lead of the game. Cam Hausinger was credited with the goal, his 19th of the season, as Matthew Quercia and Patrick Watling assisted.
The Walleye looked to score late to force overtime, emptying their net with 1:40 to play, but the Nailers held Toledo to just one shot with the extra skater to earn the 3-2 victory.
Wheeling outshot Toledo by 18 in the game, taking 43 shots to Toledo’s 25. The Walleye came away with the lone power play goal, with both teams receiving two opportunities with the man advantage.
Louis-Philip Guindon was the winning goaltender for the Nailers, saving 23-of-25 shots while giving up just two goals. Zach Driscoll was credited with the loss despite a 40-save performance for the Walleye.
The Walleye begin the final week of the regular season in Indianapolis on Wednesday night to take on the Indy Fuel for the final time this season. Puck drop from Indiana Farmers Coliseum is set for 7 p.m.
- Wheeling – Cam Hausinger (game-winning goal, assist)
- Wheeling – Sam Houde (goal)
- Wheeling – Patrick Watling (two assists)