TOLEDO, Ohio – Going into the last regular season meeting between the two clubs, Wheeling and Toledo seem to be two clubs heading in opposite directions. Toledo is a team close to clinching the Central Division, has clinched a playoff spot and not far from the Brabham Cup. Wheeling, meanwhile, has struggled during the month of March and the Worcester Railers are slowly on their heels for the last playoff spot in the North Division.
Toledo got the game going in their favor early with Shane Berschbach scoring just 1:33 into the game on a rush on Wheeling rookie goalie Danny Tirone. In what would set the tone for the rest of the game, Austen Brassard would fight Andrew Schmit at 10:47 after a hard hit from Schmit. Charlie O’Connor would score with just two seconds left in the period, capitalizing on an out-of-position Tirone to make it 2-0 after one.
Toledo’s Colin Jacobs would score his 14th goal of the year on an odd angle as Tirone was moving the wrong way on the puck to make it 3-0 with about six minutes to go in the second period. Near the end of the period, A.J. Jenks would fight Dan Milan after a hard hit from Milan. Jenks would get tagged with an instigating call.
Things would become more lop-sided for in Toledo’s favor when Christian Hilbrich scored on a breakaway just 72 seconds into the third period. Walleye netminder Pat Nagle carried a shutout for much of the night, but his bid for a fourth shutout on the season was stopped at 11:33 of the third when Chris Francis scored for Wheeling to make it 4-1. Much like the second period ended in a physical manner, Nailers Jeremy Beirnes would take a hard charge which resulted in him fighting Connor Crisp at 16:22 of the period.
Toledo heads to Cincinnati on tonight, needing a win against the Cyclones to clinch the Central Division. Wheeling heads home to play the Manchester Monarchs, hoping to stave off a hard-charging Railers team.