TOLEDO, Ohio - In their third meeting of the season and first on Walleye home ice, Toledo battled to stay in the game with Wheeling, but ultimately ended up falling to the Nailers in the fourth round of the shootout.
There was a different type of energy in the Huntington Center this morning as the Walleye hosted their first of two School Days this season. 5,038 attendees, the majority of them being students, filled the arena to watch the Walleye take on the Nailers.
Wheeling got on the board first at 1:18 on a delayed penalty. The scorer, Carter Johnson, got a tip on teammate Davis Bunz's shot near the top of the right circle to put the Nailers up 1-0.
At the 2:39 mark, the Walleye went on their first power play of the game when Wheeling's Adam Smith tripped up Joseph Nardi behind the Walleye net. Toledo registered no shots on the man advantage.
At the top of the seventh minute, Nardi picked up the puck in the Walleye defensive zone and carried it through the neutral zone toward Wheeling's net. With a last-minute backhand pass to Brett McKenzie, the Walleye tied it up at the 7:09 mark.
Just over two minutes later, the Fish went on their second power play of the game as Félix Paré headed to the box for tripping. Lowney and Nardi recorded shots on the power play, but Gauthier picked up the saves.
With 55 seconds remaining in the first, Toledo's Mitchell Heard was given a tripping penalty. The score remained tied after 20 with Toledo dominating 15-6 in shots.
Wheeling began the second period still on the power play. To put Wheeling back up by one, Cédric Paré received a pass from David Drake to the left of the crease and snuck it just below Cossa's glove at the 3:31 mark. This was Paré's first goal on the season.
The Fish headed on their third power play of the game at 8:16 of the second when Wheeling's Josh Maniscalco was penalized for holding. About 40 seconds in, Ryan Lowney connected a pass to Gordie Green who then took a shot from the top of the right circle. John Albert tipped the puck through the five-hole of Wheeling's Taylor Gauthier to tie the game back up at 2-2.
Wheeling's Dilan Peters earned himself a slashing penalty eight minutes after the equalizer to put the Walleye on the power play once again. The Fish were unable to record any shots in the next two minutes as the puck remained in their defensive zone for most of it. Wheeling held Toledo to much fewer shots than the previous period with just six Walleye attempts to their eight.
Bobby Hampton scored his first of the season on Wheeling's opening shot of the third period to put the Nailers back up, 3-2, at the 2:13 mark. The forward gained possession of the puck in Wheeling's defensive zone, skating from coast to coast for the wraparound goal on Cossa.
At 4:57, Nailers defenseman Louie Roehl headed to the penalty box for tripping. The Walleye registered three total shots on their fifth power play of the game.
The Nailers went back to full strength for only 18 seconds before the Walleye were given yet another power play due to Wheeling's delay of game. The Fish were unsuccessful with the man advantage.
35 seconds after the power play concluded, Kurt Gosselin, with the assistance of Sam Craggs and Ryan Lowney, fired the puck over the left shoulder of Gauthier to put the Walleye back in the game.
Tied at three with a little under nine minutes to go, Toledo went on their second penalty kill of the game when Mitchell Heard and Cole Fraser accompanied each other to the box. Wheeling's Dilan Peters, along with Heard, was given a roughing penalty and Fraser was called for tripping.
The third period concluded in a tie with Toledo registering 14 shots to Wheeling's ten. The three-on-three overtime began a few short minutes later. Both goalies came up strong in the scoreless overtime period to send the game into a shootout.
Toledo's Brett Boeing opened up the first round of the shootout but was denied by Gauthier's glove. Wheeling's Brooklyn Kalmikov gave round one to the Nailers after a quick backhand shot past Cossa.
Gordie Green took the second penalty shot for the Walleye. As he attempted to cut across Gauthier, the goaltender managed to poke check the puck away from Green's stick. Wheeling's Tyler Drevitch gave the Walleye another chance when he missed the net wide in round two.
Mitchell Heard, who scored the overtime winner last Friday in Kalamazoo, was the third shooter for the Walleye. His shot trickled through the legs of Gauthier to put the Walleye on the board in the shootout. Cédric Paré was next up for Wheeling, shooting the puck directly into Cossa's glove.
Toledo native Gordi Myer took the Walleye's fourth round shot. Gauthier was able to snag the puck in his glove as Myer attempted to dance it around him. Cédric Desruisseaux won the game for the Nailers when he placed the puck just over Cossa's left pad.
Despite Toledo's shot advantage of 39-30 in today's game, they ended up going 1-6 on power plays. Seven Walleye recorded points in the shootout loss. Sam Craggs (assist) and Kurt Gosselin (goal) got their firsts of the season when they combined on Toledo's third period goal. Cossa recorded his second ECHL loss with Toledo, but his most saves yet with 26 total.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) WHL - C. Desruisseaux (SO winner)
2) WHL - D. Drake (3A)
3) TOL - K. Gosselin (1G)
The Walleye will play their fifth road game of the season this Friday night in Fort Wayne. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.