TOLEDO, OH – After beating the Indy Fuel last Wednesday night at home, Toledo got back to work playing division opponent the Kalamazoo Wings at home last Friday night. A team that Toledo had played the in three of their last four games, and struggled with on the road.
In what would be an even first period between both teams, Wings forward Jimmy Mullin would get the scoring going for Kalamazoo as he would easily beat Walleye defenseman Davis Vandane and Walleye goaltender Matej Makovsky to give the Wings a 1-0 lead. Toledo would respond though at 16:26 of the period, however, as Kyle Bonis would score going five-hole on Wings netminder Joel Martin as Bonis was turning away from the net.
Even though it wasn’t period that wasn’t filled with scoring, Toledo played the second period well getting 15 shots off, including several quality chances. Toledo’s power-play continues to struggle, though, as they went 0-for-2 in the period after Wings Brendan Bradley got called for slashing call followed by Aaron Irving cross-checking call shortly later. Much like how Toledo struggled on the power-play in the second period, Kalamazoo struggled onto it to start the period also going 0-for-2 after bad penalties from the Walleye Parker Reno for elbowing and Vandane for a delay of game.
In what would be wild last minutes, Mike Borkowski for the Walleye would score on a big blast at 17:30 in his first game since coming back from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. After again a bad Toledo penalty this time from Christian Hilbrich for high-sticking, Josh Pitt would score out in front late at 19:18 for Kalamazoo. Hilbrich would redeem himself seconds later scoring with 17 seconds left in the getting the puck right past Joel Martin after Walleye defenseman Ryan Obuchowski tried to tip out in front. Much like Wednesday game in which they got 43 shots off, Toledo continues to find to shots again getting 37 shots on Friday. Toledo might have played sloppy all night and had defensive issues, but give credit to them getting the win with a depleted team full of injuries.
Part two of Toledo’s three-in-three took them to Wheeling to take on the Nailers. Both teams were short on forwards for the matchup, Toledo dressed nine forwards while Wheeling only had eight forwards available due to call-ups. Your starting goaltenders were Pat Nagle for the Walleye and Will King for the Nailers.
The Walleye got things going early, as it only took 3:29 for Ryan Obuchowski to score his first goal with Toledo. From then on though, Wheeling controlled the shots on goal. After allowing that first goal the Nailers peppered Nagle with 12 shots on goal, while Toledo only managed two shots of their own. During that 13-minute span, the Walleye had two power plays but were unable to score on the man advantage. Wheeling went on the power play at 15:37 when Mike Borkowski was called for slashing, but the penalty kill unit for Toledo held Wheeling to two shots. Borkowski made up for his penalty shortly after, when he scored on Toledo’s sixth and final shot of the period to the Walleye up 2-0 after the first.
Fans were treated to an action-packed second period, which saw six goals scored between both teams. Erik Bradford got things started 16 seconds into the period when he beat King from right out in front to make it 3-0. Wheeling would respond quickly though, as at the 2:31 mark Troy Josephs was able to beat Nagle and get Wheeling on the board 3-1. Less than a minute later the Nailers would strike again, as Hunter Fejes would take advantage of the shift in momentum to make it a one-goal game. Energized by the two quick goals, the Nailers would again take control of the puck for the better part of the period. Following the goal by Fejes, Wheeling would put 13 shots on Nagle over the next 12 minutes, while Toledo put up seven shots that were spread out over that length of time. That 13th shot by Wheeling was shot by Riley Bourbonnais and found it’s way by Nagle in a somewhat controversial manner. A Wheeling player was in the crease and obstructed Nagle’s ability to make a play on the puck, but it was determined by the referee that the Toledo defenseman pushed the Nailer into the net so the goal stood. Bourbonnais’ game-tying goal came at 16:58. Looking to spark the Walleye, Daniel Gentzler dropped the gloves against Jeremy Beirnes, but it was Gentzler who ended up on the ice as after Beirnes decisively won the tilt. The fight came at 19:03, and marked the beginning of a wild final minute of play. Only eight seconds after the fight Shane Berschbach put Toledo back out in front 4-3 with a blast from the left faceoff circle. Another 38 seconds went by, and this time Borkowski streaked down the right board to rip a wrister past King for his second of the game at 19:49, as Toledo would gain a 5-3 lead heading into the locker rooms.
As the third period began Wheeling again found themselves down two goals and worked frantically to draw even once again. Toledo held the advantage for shots on goal early in the period, with five shots in the first seven minutes, but Wheeling once again took over in shots starting at 8:48. Their efforts were rewarded at 12:36 when Cam Brown scored his sixth goal of the year to make it 5-4. Wheeling had a couple more great chances and pulled King late to get the man advantage after the game went to four on four at 18:15. Nagle held it down though, as Toledo would go on to get the win with a final score of 5-4.
Despite having only eight forwards Wheeling dominated the shots on goal 41-24. With the win, Pat Nagle improved to 16-2-2-0, while Will King dropped to 4-3-1-0. The three stars of the game had representatives from each team, and from third to first were: Hunter Fejes with a goal and assist for Wheeling, Ryan Obuchowski with a goal and two assists for Toledo, and Mike Borkowski earning the first star with two goals, the second of which was the game-winner.
After somewhat of an ugly win in Wheeling, Toledo continued its road swing playing the Fort Wayne Komets on New Year’s Eve. A team Toledo has struggled to play with at home and away.
After a well-played first period from both teams, Shawn Szydlowski, a guy who always plays well against Toledo, would score at 3:37 of the second period. Minutes later, after some crisp passing from Dennis Kravchenko and Louick Marcotte, Gabriel Desjardins would increase the Komets lead at 13:10. Syzdlowski continued the dominance for Fort Wayne in period scoring at 18:10 to make it 3-0. To also close out the second period, Toledo’s Kevin Gibson would fight Komets Kravchenko as Toledo started to play frustrated.
After looking flat all through the third period, Toledo would fall to Fort Wayne 3-0. Give a lot of credit also to Komets netminder Michael Houser who stopped 37 shots in a shoutout performance and especially had a very well first period. Toledo now falls to a disappointing 1-4-1 vs Fort Wayne this year and returns home for the weekend playing the Cincinnati Cyclones on Friday and Manchester Monarchs on Saturday.
This weekend recap was a collaboration between Alex Wolff and Michael Scott.