TOLEDO, Ohio – With Matej Machovsky called up to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, and the Walleye locked in a tight race with the Fort Wayne Komets, Toledo needed its main netminder, Pat Nagle, to continue his MVP-like performance. Much like Friday’s game in which Atlanta got off to a hot start, Atlanta started Saturday well as the Gladiators Darby Llewellyn scored at 6:33 of the first period on a loose puck. Toledo was quick to respond, though, as Erik Bradford would score on a rebound off an Austen Brassard shot at 15:09.
The Gladiators continued their strong starts to periods as Atlanta’s Tanner Pond would score off a Walleye defenseman Kevin Tansey turnover only 2:05 in the period. In two highlight-reel plays, Walleye defenseman Ryan Obuchowski would skate past multiple Gladiators on the right corner and then got it past Gladiators netminder Sean Bonar at 13:11. Obuchowski’s goal was quickly raised in skill by Walleye forward Dylan Sadowy, who scored what might be the goal of the year for Toledo. On a rush, Sadowy split two Gladiators’ defenders and fired a shot by Bonar. The two Toledo goals in 68 seconds would give them a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Atlanta had a chance to get back in the game, as 29 seconds into the third period as A.J. Jenks went to the box for an elbow though the Gladiators couldn’t respond to it. Toledo was next to the power-play as Phil Lane went to the box for hooking at 3:57 of the third, but they could not convert. Atlanta again had multiple opportunities to tie the game as Austen Brassard went to box for high-sticking at 7:16, Walleye defenseman Beau Schmitz holding at 14:13 and Shane Berschbach tripping late at 19:02, though, the Gladiators couldn’t score on any of the opportunities. Atlanta went 0-for-7 on the power-play for the night.
Nagle made 31 saves and picked up win number 25 on the season, which leads all league netminders.
With the win, Toledo remains one point behind the Fort Wayne Komets in the race for the Central Division lead and moved into second in the conference thanks to a Colorado loss in Tulsa.
Toledo’s homestand continues this afternoon, as the fish finish off a three-in-three weekend set by hosting the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.