TOLEDO, OH – Toledo looked to close out their four-game road trip with a win in their first ever match up against the Worcester Railers, and were able to do just that. In a back and forth game full of penalties and action Toledo managed to come away with the 3-2 win, earning five of eight possible points over the course of the road trip. The starting goaltenders were Pat Nagle (4-0-1-0) and Mitch Gillam (2-2-0-1).
The Walleye controlled most of the first period, gaining control of the puck early and limiting the Railers time of possession. Only 3:20 into the game Mike Borkowski earned his first goal of the year, with Parker Reno and Shane Berschbach assisting on the score. Toledo continued to attack Gillam, but he held his ground and came up with a lot of big saves. Shortly after the Borkowski goal A.J. Jenks was called for a slash, which Toledo quickly killed off to maintain the 1-0 lead. With 5:46 left in the period the shots were 9-1, but the Railers got some offense going late to bring the shot total up to 11-6 by periods end.
Roles were reversed once the second period started, however, as the Railers came out with energy and dictated the pace. The majority of the time was spent in Toledo’s zone, as Nagle was put to the test. At the 9:31 mark Davis Vandane was called for a cross-checking minor and gave Worcester their second power play. A little over 20 seconds into the man advantage Woody Hudson scored his first goal of the year to tie the game up one at the 9:52 mark. Assists on the goal came from Wade Murphy and Frank DiChiara. The Railers kept the pressure on Toledo and were rewarded when Kellen Jones, assisted by Wade Murphy, managed to squeak one past the left pad of Nagle at 12:32 to give Worcester the 2-1 lead. Less than 30 seconds later Ryan Obuchowski was called for a hold on Matthew Gaudreau, putting Toledo on their third penalty kill of the night. The Walleye were able to kill this one off, and then with under four minutes left in the period started generating their offensive zone pressure. This lead to the game-tying goal by Alden Hirschfeld at 17:11, with the assists going to Christian Hilbrich and Charlie O’Connor. With six seconds left in the period, A.J. Jenks was called for a delay of game, while Ashton Rome got a boarding call from a hit on Jenks, to end the period with 4-on-4 hockey.
Both teams came out to play in the third, which was by far the most even period of the night. The 4-on-4 hockey that began the period expired without much action, but Tyler Barnes put on a show 2:30 into the third. Barnes backhanded a shot top shelf to beat Gillam off a perfect feed from Darian Dziurzynski and A.J. Jenks, putting the Walleye up 3-2. Multiple penalties were assessed throughout the period, both teams ended up with four power plays, but no power play goals were scored in the third. Woody Hudson and Kevin Tansey combined for three of those penalties at 12:36 when Hudson took a run at Berschbach and elbowed him in the head, which Tansey took exception to and confronted Hudson about immediately. Hudson was given a roughing and elbowing call, while Tansey was assessed a roughing of his own. Another one of those penalties came with three minutes left in the period against Worcester, which severely hindered any chance they had of tying Toledo. The game was completely lost once the Railers were called for too many men with 23 seconds left, and Toledo’s victory was sealed.
Barnes had the game winner, and Nagle improved to 4-0-1-0 on the year with a 26 save performance. Shots on goal in the third were six to four in favor of the Railers, and the game ended with a 28-22 shot count in favor of Worcester.
Toledo will be back in action at the Huntington Center on Saturday for a Central Division show down against the Kalamazoo Wings.