TOLEDO, OH – After their likely worst home loss of the year so far on Wednesday night, the Toledo Walleye went into their Friday game against the Reading Royals again on the hopeful side. Goalie Jeff Lerg was getting his first start of the year, Reading would be playing its fifth game in eight nights and Toledo hasn’t lost convective games at home all year. Friday’s game didn’t go according to plan, though.
Toledo issues started right in the first period with defenseman Simon Denis leaving in the first period on Ryan Penny hit that would be called for boarding. This is a Toledo team already with a lack of defenseman and losing another is the last thing they need. Right after Penny would take his penalty, he would score the first goal of the game on breakaway that Lerg probably wishes he had back. Late in the period at 19:47, Mathew Santos would score on a hard slap shot to tie it a goal a piece to get Toledo back in the game.
In what would be a wild second period, Robbie Czarnik would continue where he left off Wednesday by giving Reading its lead back, only forty-four seconds into the period. Chris McCarthy would continue his scoring ways as well, giving Reading a 3-1 lead with a goal of his own. The Royals would continue their offensive push with Steven Swavely scoring only minutes later at the 3:22 mark of the frame. Through only three minutes into the period, Reading would score three goals to take a commanding 4-1 lead. The momentum would change though in Toledo favor as A.J. Jenks would score at 5:04 and Shane Berschbach adding another tally at 8:47, capitalizing on a string of bad penalties by the Royals. Reading would get back into it as high point leader Matt Willows scored to give the Royals their two-goal lead back. Set up by beautiful passing from Berschbach and Jenks, Toledo would respond with a marker from Nolan Zajac. In the second period alone, the two teams combined for seven goals.
In what would be much mquieter third period, the Walleye would finally tie it at 2:27 into the period on a goal by Dane Walters from J.P. LaFontaine. Continuing his positive game though, Czarnik would score for Reading for his second of the game at 13:43 before Ian Watters would make it 7-5 on an empty net to officially seal the win for the Royals.
Give credit to Toledo for fighting back like they did but it was likely one of the worst games Jeff Lerg had in a Toledo uniform, the Spink brothers were quiet all night, and the Walleye defense was nonexistent. Dating back to the last year playoffs, the Royals now have a 5-1 record in Toledo. Toledo now has lost consecutive games for the first time at home this year. Toledo concludes their final game of the week with a divisional game against the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday.