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Sawchuk, Craggs combine for nine points in game three victory over Wheeling

Wednesday, May 8th
Sawchuk, Craggs combine for nine points in game three victory over Wheeling

WHEELING, WV – The Toledo Walleye defeated the Wheeling Nailers 7-3 on Wednesday night at WesBanco Arena.

What Happened:

The Toledo Walleye moved to a 3-0 series advantage behind a five-point night from Riley Sawchuk and four points from Sam Craggs.

John Lethemon got the call for the Walleye in net. Jacob Graves and Riley McCourt skated the blue line while Brandon Hawkins, Trenton Bliss and Mitchell Lewandowski led the Toledo attack.

Jaxon Castor split the iron for the host Nailers. Davis Bunz and Justin Lee manned the defense while Tanner Laderoute, Matthew Quercia and Dillon Hamaliuk filled out the Wheeling front.

The Walleye started the scoring early at 2:44 when Sawchuk lit the lamp unassisted to break the ice.

After Jordan Frasca was penalized for Roughing, Craggs capitalized on the man-advantage for a power play score, moving the Walleye lead to 2-1. Sawchuk and Michael Prapavessis assisted the score.

Shortly after, the Nailers found the net for a shorthanded goal at 15:18. Matt Koopman hit twine while Quercia added a solo assist.

The Fish tacked on another at 18:19 when Brandon Kruse found paydirt, making it 3-1 Walleye. Craggs added a solo assist to the tally.

That wrapped the first period with the Walleye leading the Nailers 3-1. Toledo outshot Wheeling 12-10 in the period.

The Fish came back out of the locker room and got right back to scoring. Hawkins buried a power play goal at 3:33 with Sawchuk and Lewandowski adding assists. The assist marked Sawchuk’s second assist and third point of the night.

The Nailers got one back at 7:03 when David Drake scored his first of the postseason. Lukas Svejkovsky and Jordan Martel added helpers to the score.

Sawchuk struck again for his second goal and fourth point of the night at 11:28, matching the team-high for points in a game this season. Jason Willms and Craggs added assists. The helper marked Craggs’ second helper and third point of the game.

Wheeling brought it back within two at 14:58 when Quercia found the net. Bunz and Dustin Manz assisted the score.

That wrapped the second frame with the Walleye leading the Nailers 5-3. Toledo outshot Wheeling 11-5 in the period and 23-15 after 40 minutes.

The Fish added some late insurance with a pair of empty-netters.

First it was Alexandre Doucet with the empty score, with Sawchuk adding a solo assist at 17:45. The helper was Sawchuk’s third assist and fifth point on the night, setting the season-high for a player.

Then it was Craggs burying another minderless tally, with Orrin Centazzo and Matt Anderson picking apples to seal a 7-3 Toledo Walleye win.

The 7-3 win over the Wheeling Nailers moves the Walleye to a 3-0 series advantage, with a potential sweep on the horizon. Toledo and Wheeling shot an even 7-7 in the third period, but Toledo had more shots overall at 30-22.

Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:

  1. Riley Sawchuk (2G, 3A) – TOL
  2. Sam Craggs (2G, 2A) – TOL
  3. Matthew Quercia (1G, 1A) – WHL

What’s Next:

The Toledo Walleye will remain in West Virginia for game four of the Central Division Finals against the Wheeling Nailers at WesBanco Arena on Friday, May 10, 2024, with puck drop at 7:10 pm ET.

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