Playoff Record: 8-2-0, 2nd Western Conference, Current Streak: 2 Winless
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
May 20 at Idaho (3-0 Loss)
May 21 at Idaho (3-0 Loss)
THIS WEEK’S GAMES (All Times Eastern) (* If Necessary)
May 24 vs. Idaho at 7:15 p.m. (7 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN)
May 26 vs. Idaho at 7:15 p.m. (7 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN)
*May 27 vs. Idaho at 7:15 p.m. (7 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN)
Facing adversity: After rolling through the first two rounds of the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Walleye knew that the Western Conference Finals would bring new challenges. Trailing 1-0 at the start of the third period on Saturday night, Toledo was on the verge of making it a tie game. However, a boarding major to Andrew Sturtz allowed the Steelheads to double their lead on the ensuing power play. An empty-netter in the final minute gave Idaho the 3-0 victory and the 1-0 series lead. Sebastian Cossa put up 30 saves on 33 Idaho shots in the loss. On Sunday, Toledo looked to even the series before heading home, but the Walleye still struggled to solve Idaho netminder Adam Scheel. Heading into the third period trailing 2-0, Toledo knew an early goal would be crucial for a comeback. The Walleye took the 13-6 edge in shots throughout the third, but an interference penalty to Donovan Sebrango in the 15th minute allowed the Steelheads to capitalize and add their third and final goal of the night to take the 2-0 series lead. John Lethemon followed up Cossa’s impressive Saturday night performance with 35 saves on 38 shots faced in the Toledo net.
Home sweet home: This week, the Walleye will be back on home ice where they last dominated Cincinnati, 9-2, in game four of the Central Division Finals on May 12. In the four postseason games Toledo has played at the Huntington Center, they have averaged an attendance of 8,063; this is nearly 1,000 more than the second-highest average set by Jacksonville with 7,085. The Walleye can notch their 20th, 21st, and 22nd consecutive sellouts this week as they host Idaho.
Regroup & reset: Although Toledo heads into game three of the series trailing two games to none, this team has proved they can handle any challenge. In the first two months of the regular season, the Walleye went 12-12-5, including a 4-6-3 record at home. These struggles fueled a complete turnaround that saw Toledo go on a winning rampage throughout the remainder of the season. Their 33-7-3 record included an 18-game winning streak from February 5 to March 18, a new record in Toledo hockey history. This achievement also placed Toledo on the ECHL record board with the second-longest winning streak behind South Carolina’s 23-game stint set in the 2014-15 season.
The battle continues: On Wednesday night, the Walleye will be back on home ice to host the Steelheads in game three of the Western Conference Finals. On Friday, the teams will meet again at the Huntington Center for game four, with the potential to play game five on Saturday night in T-Town. Games six and seven would turn back to Boise on Tuesday, May 30, and Wednesday, May 31.