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Walleye earn season-opening sweep in Wheeling

Sunday, October 23rd
Walleye earn season-opening sweep in Wheeling

WHEELING, WV - Toledo's opening weekend of their 13th season started in true Walleye fashion with a 4-2 Sunday afternoon win to complete the sweep on the road.

The opening period was nothing short of exciting. On the first Walleye shot of the game, Gordi Myer made it 1-0 for the good guys with the assists going to Thomas Ebbing and Brandon Hawkins. 

The Walleye didn't stop there. Rookie forward Trenton Bliss added to the scoring just nine seconds later on an unassisted goal to put Toledo up by two early. 

The Fish went on their first power play of the game at 3:09 of the first when Wheeling's Cam Hausinger was sent to the box for interference. With just three seconds to spare in the two-minute man advantage, Lukas Craggs netted his second goal of the weekend with assists from Brett McKenzie and Trenton Bliss. 

At 9:17, the teams went four-on-four as Toledo's Cole Fraser and Wheeling's Cam Hausinger both headed to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Only 23 seconds passed between the moment those two left the penalty box and ended back up there with five-minute majors. 

The Walleye went on the penalty kill at 13:32 on a tripping call against Trenton Bliss, but the Nailers were unable to get on the board with the extra man. Wheeling went on their second penalty kill of the game with just twelve seconds remaining in the first. 

Out of the ten shots Toledo had in the first 20 minutes of play, they found the back of the net on three of them. Wheeling, however, was unable to finish any of their nine.

The second period started a bit slower on both ends. Walleye Cole Fraser served a two-minute slashing penalty at the 8:14 mark. In the 13th minute, Wheeling forward Tyler Drevitch got the Nailers on the board, assisted by Cédric Desruisseaux. 

Cole Fraser earned himself another pair of penalties at 16:27 of the third for roughing and tripping. Wheeling's Drevitch was also given a roughing minor for getting into it with Fraser. 

Wheeling capitalized on the power play with a Sean Josling goal assisted by Josh Maniscalco and Brooklyn Kalmikov. With just under two minutes to go in the middle period, Walleye Trenton Bliss went to the box for tripping. Wheeling managed to get four shots off during their power play, but the score remained 3-2 heading into the third.

The Fish headed into the final third of the game looking to secure the win. At the 3:50 mark, Nailers defenseman Clay Hanus was assigned a tripping penalty. Toledo's Seth Barton headed to the box for interference just one second after Wheeling returned to full strength. 

At 14:16, Wheeling got their seventh penalty of the game when Adam Smith was called for slashing. Toledo's Gordie Green, from Thomas Ebbing and Mitchell Heard, earned his second goal of the weekend 40 seconds into the power play.

The final penalty of the game went to Nailers defenseman Chris Ortiz at the 16:57 mark for slashing. Wheeling goaltender Taylor Gauthier headed to the bench at 19:25 to give the Nailers the man advantage, but none of their three shots got past Cossa. 

Despite the Nailers getting 27 shots on goal to Toledo's 24, the Fish were more successful in finishing their chances. Walleye goaltender Sebastian Cossa, a first-round Red Wings draft pick from 2021, topped the previous night's statistic with 25 saves. 

Three stars:

1) TOL - T. Bliss (1G, 1A)

2) TOL - L. Craggs (1G)

3) WHL - T. Drevitch (1G)

Up next: The Walleye are on the road again next weekend with just a single matchup in Kalamazoo on Saturday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m.

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