WHEELING, W.V. - The Walleye concluded their three-game weekend in a 4-1 loss to Wheeling. John Albert registered the lone goal on the road.
The last time the Walleye traveled to Wheeling was the opening weekend of the season. Toledo returned home with the sweep, defeating the Nailers 5-3 on Saturday, October 22, and 4-2 on Sunday the 23rd. The Walleye were 4-2-0-0 on the road heading into the afternoon.
Toledo netminder John Lethemon and Wheeling's Ryan Bednard were teammates for some time in the 2020-21 season with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Today, they earned the start for their teams.
Toledo took an early lead at 4:05 of the first period when John Albert fired the puck past Bednard. Conlan Keenan and Simon Denis were credited with the assists.
Wheeling got their first power play almost two minutes later as Lukas Craggs headed to the box for interference. The forward spent a total of nine minutes in the penalty box on Saturday night in Fort Wayne. Late in the first, Wheeling tied it up off an equal-strength goal from Justin Addamo.
John Lethemon registered eight straight saves for the Walleye throughout the opening half of the second. The first Toledo power play came at 9:09 as Wheeling's Sean Josling received a two-minute hooking minor.
The Walleye entered the penalty kill a few minutes later as Mitchell Heard was called for high-sticking at 12:27. Toledo allowed no shots on the Wheeling man advantage.
With just over two and a half minutes remaining in the second, Wheeling took their first lead of the game off a Cédric Paré finish. This concluded the scoring action of the middle period.
The Walleye opened the third period with two very close scoring chances within a two-and-a-half minute span when Simon Denis and Thomas Ebbing each saw a shot deflect off the crossbar.
The first power play of the final third went to Toledo as Chris Ortiz headed to the Wheeling penalty box for high-sticking. No Walleye shots were recorded on the man advantage. Early in the fifth minute, Cédric Desruisseaux extended the Wheeling lead to two.
The Walleye earned another penalty kill after a Trenton Bliss tripping call late in the sixth minute. The Nailers got the five-on-three advantage for 57 seconds after Cole Fraser joined Bliss in the box at the eight-minute mark. Toledo's hopes of winning dwindled even more after Carter Johnson got the power play goal 47 seconds into the two-man advantage.
The final penalty of the game was assigned to Wheeling's Samuel Tremblay for high-sticking at the 14:58 mark. The Nailers were able to hold onto their three-goal lead and take the victory on their home ice.
The Nailers outshot the Walleye 30-23 after three periods. Each team had four power play opportunities, but Wheeling capitalized and finished on two of them while Toledo went scoreless on the man advantage. John Lethemon recorded a season-high 26 saves in the loss.
The Walleye will have the next four days off before they travel to Cincinnati for the second straight week on Friday. The contest is scheduled for a 7:35 p.m. start.