TOLEDO, OH – Toledo crossed the northern border to play their fourth game in five days for the second straight week, and took on one of the hottest teams in the ECHL for a Sunday matinee. In their previous three games, Toledo went 1-2-0-0, so the Walleye looked to end the week with four points earned out of eight possible. Their opponent was the only ECHL team in Canada, the Brampton Beast. The Beast entered the contest having won seven straight games after starting the year 2-8-1-0, a much-needed turnaround to get them back into the hunt. Your starting goaltenders were Pat Nagle for the Walleye and Marcus Hogberg for the Beast. Also, Toledo continued to be without the services of Shane Berschbach, A.J. Jenks, Alden Hirschfeld, and Simon Denis due to their respective injuries.
The Walleye came out to a better start than their last game against the Railers, controlling the shots on goal 5-2 until the game saw it’s first penalty call at 9:06. Kevin Tansey received a double minor for high-sticking, presenting Brampton with a golden opportunity to strike the first blow in the game.The ECHL’s first ranked penalty kill unit stepped up though, as Toledo shut the door on the Beast to kill off the penalty. Connor Crisp even managed to get a shorthanded shot on Hogberg, but was unable to get it past the netminder. After the penalty expired, Toledo went back on the attack with three shots in less than 90 seconds to give Nagle a well-deserved reprieve. The pace slowed until Tyler Barnes was sent to the box due to a slash at 17:37. Again, Crisp had another shorthanded shot, followed by the Beast taking three shots on Nagle, but no goals come of them. The period expired with no score, and the shot count tied at 11 apiece.
As the second period got underway, Toledo came out with some quick offensive zone pressure, but it ended up being Brampton drawing first blood. Beast forward Chris Leveille got his fifth goal of the season at 6:32 thanks to a set up by Alex Foster, who was one of five veterans to be a part of Toledo’s training camp and preseason roster. Now down 1-0, Toledo had their first chance on the power play less than a minute after the Beast goal when Scott Jacklin got caught high-sticking. Despite a couple of Tansey shots, the Walleye failed to score on the man advantage. Shortly after the power play expired Toledo again found themselves on the penalty kill when Kevin Gibson was called for hooking, but the penalty kill again denied the Beast from extending the lead. Brampton was called for two more penalties during the period, at 13:34 and 16:35, but Toledo was unable to take advantage. Instead, the former Beast forward turned Walleye tied it up with 35 seconds left to go in the period. Crisp finally got one past Hogberg on his fifth shot of the game, to cap off a period that was controlled by Toledo. The shot count by the end of the second was 27-18 Walleye.
With the game tied at one, the third period started with the Walleye blitzing the Beast. Toledo put up eight shots over the first 11 minutes of play, while limiting Brampton to one shot during that same time frame. Not to be outdone, the Beast pushed back Toledo starting at 11:43 to fire off four shots over the next four and a half minutes. Both goalies survived the onslaughts until Kyle Bonis made his presence known. With less than three minutes left Bonis took a shot that was unable to be grabbed by Hogberg, which resulting in Bonis collecting his own rebound and scoring. Vili Saarijarvi earned the lone assist on the go-ahead goal. The Beast attempted to counter, but the game was put out of reach by Erik Bradford when he scored with a minute and fourteen seconds left in regulation. Dylan Sadowy and Saarijarvi both got their second assists of the game off the Bradford goal. 3-1 would end up being the final score, as the Walleye put an end to the Beast’s seven-game win streak.
Shots on goal ended with a 40-27 advantage for Toledo, despite being at the end of a second grueling week of travel. Although neither were one of the three stars, Red Wing prospects Sadowy and Saarijarvi both had strong games, with two assists each in the victory.
The three stars of the game were as follows, starting with the third star: Pat Nagle with a 26 save bounce-back performance and his league-leading 11th win (11-1-2-0). Marcus Hogberg with second star honors due to a 37 save outing (now 3-4-0-0). First star honors went to Kyle Bonis due to his game-winning goal.
Toledo will now get some well-deserved rest, as their next game will be Friday, December 1st at Fort Wayne, followed by a game against Indy at the Huntington Center on the 2nd.