TOLEDO, OHIO - The Walleye extended their seven-game point streak tonight in a thrilling 6-4 victory over Newfoundland in front of a home sellout crowd.
The Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL's North Division traveled to Toledo to take on the Walleye for the only time this season and the first since 2019. John Lethemon got the nod for Toledo while Dryden McKay started between the pipes for the Growlers. The Walleye were off to a hot start as they outshot their opponents 6-0 in the first six and a half minutes of the opening period. The sixth shot was an equal-strength goal by Trenton Bliss that gave the Fish an early lead. Thomas Ebbing and Gordi Myer were credited with the assists.
Toledo's first power play came two minutes later as Newfoundland's Dilan Peters received a high-sticking minor. Toledo secured their first penalty kill after Jordan Martin headed to the box for a tripping penalty at the 11:43 mark. Martin's penalty came during his first shift in his first ECHL game. With 16:15 gone, Todd Skirving was able to make it a tie game with the assistance of Zach O'Brien and Zach Solow. This ended the scoring in the opening period that saw a 13-12 edge in shots going to the Walleye.
There was a frenzy of scoring throughout the second period that started after two penalties. The first came just over one minute in as Toledo's Tommy Parran received a tripping minor. The next penalty resulted in a Walleye power play as Newfoundland's Chris Martenet was called for tripping. Toledo registered three shots on the man advantage, but McKay picked up the saves.
Just after the eight-minute mark, Walleye rookie Riley McCourt sent a shot towards the Newfoundland net that ricocheted off the boards and McKay's left skate to make it a 2-1 game. Mitchell Heard, who is creeping up on his 300th pro point, picked up the lone assist. Trenton Bliss earned his second goal of the night under four minutes later on a quick one-timer from Thomas Ebbing. Only two minutes and 50 seconds passed before Brandon Hawkins gave Toledo a 4-1 lead off a perfectly placed shot in the upper left corner of Newfoundland's net. With the first assist, Trenton Bliss capped off a three-point night. Mitchell Heard also picked up an assist on the goal, making it his second of the game.
Newfoundland cut Toledo's lead to two a minute after the fourth Walleye goal as Brandon Kruse assisted on the Keenan Suthers goal. Another Walleye power play came shortly after as Newfoundland's Brett Budgell received a hooking minor. That was the end of the action for the middle period in which the Walleye outshot the Growlers by a count of 17-7.
Newfoundland was able to open the scoring in the final period after a high-sticking penalty by John Albert put Toledo on the penalty kill. The power play goal was scored by Zach Solow with just 16 seconds remaining in the Growlers man advantage. Pavel Gogolev and Michael Joyaux were the assisters on the goal that shaved Toledo's lead to one.
The Walleye responded just over three minutes later as Tommy Parran took a shot near the end of the Growlers bench that snuck past McKay. Gordie Green got the first assist and Chays Ruddy tallied his first Walleye point with the second helper. Under three minutes later, rookie Joseph Nardi scored the sixth and final Toledo goal at the 13:45 mark. The backhanded beauty was assisted by Brett McKenzie and Gordie Green. With 50 seconds remaining, Newfoundland's Brett Budgell picked up a goal to make it 6-4, but Toledo's consistent scoring efforts throughout the game earned them the victory.
Toledo dominated in shots for two out of three periods tonight, giving them the overall 39-30 advantage. With 26 saves, John Lethemon secured his third straight win in net for Toledo, improving his season record to 4-1-2. Eleven different Walleye contributed to tonight's scoring action. In his first game back with Toledo in exactly a month, Trenton Bliss notched three points (2G, 1A). Brandon Hawkins, Joseph Nardi, Tommy Parran, and Riley McCourt all added one goal apiece. Mitchell Heard, Gordie Green, and Thomas Ebbing picked up two assists each while Brett McKenzie, Gordi Myer, and Chays Ruddy all got one.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - T. Bliss (2G, 1A)
2) TOL - T. Ebbing (2A)
3) TOL - R. McCourt (1G)
- Toledo claimed Chays Ruddy off waivers earlier today. Recently, the defenseman appeared in seven games (1G) with Cincinnati, but he began the 2022-23 season as the alternate captain for the Manchester Storm of the EIHL (13GP, 0G, 3A). His pro debut came last year after spending two years with the University of Windsor. He spent his first ECHL season appearing in 32 games (4A) with Fort Wayne and 17 games (2A) with Kansas City.
- Jordan Martin, previously with the Birmingham Bulls of the SPHL, signed a Standard Player Contract today with Toledo. In 93 games, the forward concluded his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin-Superior with 55 points (12G, 43A). Martin spent the rest of the 2021-22 season in Birmingham as he made his pro debut and finished with six points (2G, 4A) in 14 games. Before making the move to Toledo, he appeared in 20 games with the Bulls and secured 22 points (10G, 12A).
The busy week for Toledo continues tomorrow night as the Walleye travel to Fort Wayne. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.