WHEELING, WV - Finding themselves down by three early in the second, the Walleye battled back to take the first game of the season, 5-3, in Wheeling.
The opening period of the Walleye's 13th season started rather slow. Just after the ten-minute mark, Wheeling opened the scoring off an equal-strength goal by Adam Smith. Toledo went on their first power play of the season shortly after but failed to register any shots on Wheeling goaltender Tommy Nappier.
With only 21 seconds remaining in the first, Nailers forward Carter Johnson put Wheeling up by two going into the first intermission. The Walleye were outshot by a count of eleven to five in the first 20 minutes of gameplay.
In the first three and a half minutes of the second, Wheeling managed to get five shots off on Walleye goaltender Sebastian Cossa. Nailers defenseman Josh Maniscalco put the fifth shot away at 3:22.
Trailing by three just a few minutes into the second, the Walleye began increasing their chances. From the fifth to the ninth minute, Toledo put six shots on Wheeling's net, unable to sneak one past Nappier.
The Fish went on their second power play of the game at 9:50 after the Nailers received a two-minute minor for too many men. Just 56 seconds in, Lukas Craggs netted the first goal of the season and his first as a Walleye with assists from Seth Barton and Mitchell Heard.
The Walleye continued to apply the pressure after getting on the board. At 16:07, Walleye defenseman Gordi Myer came around the back of Wheeling's net to score a beauty of a goal on former Buckeye teammate Tommy Nappier. The Walleye rallied in the second period, outshooting the Nailers 14-7 to head into the third period trailing by one.
Toledo entered the final period hungry for the equalizer. Just a minute in, Seth Barton tied it up with assists from Gordie Green and Brett McKenzie. Mitchell Heard got in on the scoring action a minute later with the assist from Joseph Nardi to give the Walleye their first lead of the game.
At 10:08 of the third, Wheeling went on their first power play of the game after Cole Fraser was sent to the box for interference. The Walleye secured the penalty kill, but it wasn't much later that Wheeling's Tyler Drevitch and Toledo's Thomas Ebbing were given roughing penalties.
22 seconds into four on four hockey, Gordie Green scored his first goal in a Walleye sweater from Ryan Lowney and Seth Barton. As the penalties expired, Toledo continued to dominate in all aspects of the game. Walleye forward Trenton Bliss received a two-minute hooking minor with just under two minutes to go, but the Fish held on to win their first game of the season.
After 60 minutes of play, the Walleye had 30 shots on goal to the Nailers' 25. Wheeling got the early three-goal lead, but Toledo found their footing, scoring five unanswered goals throughout the second and third periods.
In his debut for the Walleye, 19-year-old goaltender Sebastian Cossa made 22 saves. Defenseman Seth Barton had a three-point game with one goal and two assists. Both Mitchell Heard and Gordie Green had two-point games with one goal and one assist each.
1) TOL - M. Heard (1G, 1A)
2) TOL - S. Barton (1G, 2A)
3) WHL - C. Hausinger (3A)
The Walleye will stay in Wheeling overnight to take on the Nailers for their second game of the season tomorrow at 4:10 p.m.