TOLEDO, Ohio – After falling to the Kalamazoo Wings 4-3 in a shootout on the road Saturday night, the Toledo Walleye’s losing streak reached a frustratingly long five games. A Toledo team hasn’t lost this many games in a row since the 2013-2014 season, so the Walleye went into Sunday afternoon at home against the Fort Wayne Komets badly needing a win. Clearly having the Komets’ number as of late, Toledo had only lost once in regulation to Fort Wayne this season in seven games coming into Sunday. With lackluster play in the later parts of regulation Sunday afternoon, Toledo managed to escape with 3-2 shootout win over the Komets to stop the bleeding.
On the scoring side for Toledo, the Walleye were able to capitalize on the power play, something they’d struggled with at home this year (18th in the league, 15.4% success rate before Sunday). Walleye forward Jordan Topping would continue his positive year scoring in the first period on a blast after Komets Craig Cescson went off for a tripping penalty. Toledo’s next goal would come from Dylan Sadowy in the third period after a great pass from T.J. Hensick.
Even in the midst of their five-game losing streak, Sadowy has been one of the few positives for Toledo so far in January. In only his fifth game of 2019 for the Walleye after coming back from the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, Sadowy has put up points in every game.
After the game, Sadowy said:
“Yeah, it’s always nice getting points in games. but, at the end of the night, we had a four or five game slide, and Getting that win was big for us, especially the start of nine game home stand.”
Toledo has struggled throughout their five-game skid to piece together a complete game, and even in picking up the win, the Walleye still allowed the Komets to win the third period and take the game to overtime. Toledo gave up 20 shots in the final regulation period, a sharp contrast to the 25 shots the Komets gave up to the Walleye in the previous two frames.
The Komets got on the board early in the third, as J.C. Campagna would score only 36 seconds in the period on a great back-end pass from always positive player Marc-Oliver Roy. The biggest key to the Toledo win was Walleye goaltender Pat Nagle, who came together and stopped some key chances from the Komets towards the end of regulation. In his first game with the Komets this year, goaltender Eric Levine stood tall as well, piecing together 35 saves on 37 shots in the shootout loss.
Toledo had a major chance to take the lead back in the third period after Walleye forward Greg Wolfe was taken down on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. Unfortunately, Wolfe missed wide right on his resulting chance. On the power play, Fort Wayne was held 0-for-2 in the third period and 0-for-3 for the game.
In the 3-on-3 overtime, chances were slim, as both teams only got in a combined 4 shots. After both goalies stopped the first nine shots in the shootout, tenth skater Justin Kea would win the game for the Walleye in the fifth round. Kea’s game-winning goal was all the more impactful this night, considering he was traded from Fort Wayne to Toledo in December.
Toledo will now look forward to a much needed All-Star break, with their next nine games coming at home after a five-day rest. Central Division foe Cincinnati is next up for the Walleye on January 25 at 7:15pm ET.