TOLEDO, Ohio – For the third time in four years, the Toledo Walleye and the Fort Wayne Komets will face each other in the ECHL playoffs. The Walleye will be looking for revenge after losing to Fort Wayne in six games last year. Toledo won the previous two series in the 2015 and 2017 playoffs.
Unlike the last three matchups, Toledo and Fort Wayne had down years in the regular season. Each team struggled on both sides of the ice and both lost key pieces in the offseason, including forward Kyle Bonis for the Walleye and Michael Houser in net for the Komets.
Final Regular Season Records:
Toledo Walleye: 40-23-6-3; 2nd in Central Division, 3rd in the Western Conference
Fort Wayne Komets: 36-26-4-6; 3rd in the Central Division, 6th in the Western Conference
Game 1 – Friday, April 12 -Fort Wayne at TOLEDO 7:35 p.m. ET
Game 2 – Saturday, April 13- Fort Wayne at TOLEDO 7:35 p.m. ET
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 17 – Toledo at FORT WAYNE 7:35 p.m. ET
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 – Toledo at FORT WAYNE 8:00 p.m. ET
*Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 – Fort Wayne at TOLEDO 7:35 p.m. ET
*Game 6 – Tuesday, April 23 – Toledo at FORT WAYNE 7:30 p.m. ET
*Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 – Fort Wayne at TOLEDO 7:35 p.m. ET
Season Series Recap:
Unlike last year, Toledo has had regular season success against the Komets this year, going 6-2-3. The Walleye have been able to find ample scoring in the those games, including a dominating 11-0 win at home in March.
How Toledo Wins:
Toledo needs to find its scoring which has been missing in the second half of the season. Shane Berschbach and Greg Wolfe need to find the back of net; the two had 119 points between them during the regular season. Scoring needs to be found between rookies Jordan Topping and Tyler Spezia, who both had a really strong first half of the season. Secondly, Pat Nagle and Kaden Fulcher have be solid in net. Nagle is more than capable in showing his experience and leading the team on the back end.
How Fort Wayne Wins:
Goaltender Zach Fucale has to be on his game and prove himself. Fucale went 20-10 in the regular season, with a 0.894 save percentage. Along with goaltending, the Komets defense has to be tight on the back end with defenseman like Ryan Lowney, Jason Binkley and Chase Stewart limiting shots. Fort Wayne would benefit from forcing Toledo off the puck, as well as setting the tone right out of the gate from the opening puck drop. In last year’s series, the Komets dominated Game 1 of the series, and it was the difference to Fort Wayne’s series success.