TOLEDO, OH – Toledo surely had their issues last year with teams like the Reading Royals and the Kalamazoo Wings, but the Walleye had a reasonable amount of success against the Brampton Beast. In ten meetings with Brampton last season, Toledo outscored the Beast 43-17 and did not lose in Huntington Center. Even with Brampton not being in the same division as Toledo this year, the two teams still play ten more times this year. Would Toledo’s dominance over the Beast continue this year?
This past weekend’s home and home series got going in Canada Friday night, following a first period filled with eight penalties and no scoring, Dalton Thrower’s blast from the blue line was redirected on-net from Scott Jacklin only 2:41 into the second period, to give Brampton a 1-0 lead.
Following an odd-angle pass from Tyson Spink though, Tyler Skuira would score out in front for Toledo to tie it up at 1. Right after the face-off from the first goal, A.J. Jenks would score on a breakaway though making 2-1 and giving Toledo it’s first lead of the night at 13:17 of the period. On a power-play and another redirect this time from Jacob MacDonald to Dane Walters making it 3-1 Toledo and the first power-play goal Brampton would give up all year.
The momentum swung back in Brampton’s favor, though, as David Vallorani scored with just 53 seconds left in the period, bringing the Beast within one. Brandon MacLean would score to tie it at 3 with just six seconds left in the period.
Brampton would continued it’s onslaught with Luke Pither scoring at 1:02 of the third to make it 4-3. Toledo wouldn’t let up though on a good shot from Simon Denis that would be again redirected by Tyler Sikura to level the game at four.
After Mike Vernace misplay, Carter Sandlak would score on a nice spinning move even if goalie Bryan Pitton should have had it to give Toledo’s back at 5-4. With their lead gone and Pitton on the bench, David Pacan scored at 19:12 of the period to send the game to overtime.
Following maybe the wildest the 3 on 3 overtime you’ll ever see, Toledo would win in shootout on a low shot by A.J. Jenks on Pitton, followed by a Cal Heeter stop on Brandon Marino.
Onward to Saturday’s game in Toledo and only a 1:44 into the opening period, Toledo’s main goalie Jake Paterson throws the puck off the boards right to Brampton’s David Pacan who found Brandon Marino and put it in the back of the net to put the Beast on the board. Just seconds later, some crisp passing from Toledo’s Nolan Zajac and Tylor Spink, Tyson Spink found the net to tie it at one.
Following a pass from A.J. Jenks to Zajac who should have received it, Brampton would score on a 3-1 breakaway with Mathieu Gagnon scoring to take it’s lead back at 2-1 at 6:33 of the period. Tyson Spink got Toledo back on level terms again at 14:05 of the period on a shot that goalie Andrew D’Agostini saw all the way and should have made the save on. Like Friday’s first period, Saturday’s first period was all over the place.
Once second period started, Toledo new style of physicalness started again with Jared Nightingale going after Yannick Veilleux and Sandlak fighting Gagnon, who is one of the tougher customers in the ECHL. The tilts happened on the same play, however, there were no ejections for additional altercations.
The Walleye took the lead when A.J. Jenks threw a pass to Shane Berschbach who had to glove it down and then fired one past D’Agostini. Toward the end of the frame, Tyler Sikura did a wonderful job in of puck pursuit and found Tyson Spink for his third goal of the evening at 17:49 and with hats soon finding it’s way on to the ice. Up until this point with Toledo leading 4-2, Toledo had been playing it’s best game of the year.
Once the third period started, Brampton would start to take over and get so many qualities opportunities. David Pacan would score 0:43 into the period, then a power play goal from Justin Baker at 5:41, followed by a Veilleux marker from a strange angle to help Brampton take the lead at 8:51 of the period. With the Walleye killing a Berschbach slashng minor, Alden Hirschfeld would play hero for Toledo scoring shorthanded at 16:16 of the period to tie it up. Even with Toledo being able it to take the overtime, the Walleye got badly outshot 18-6 in the period.
Unlike the night-before, overtime was settled quickly on Saturday with Tyson Spink scoring just 28 seconds into the extra period after winning a face-off for his fourth goal of the night.
With even with losing both games, Brampton showed us that this is a talented team and look like they can be something after two lackluster years in the ECHL.
On the other side, it was surely an up and down weekend for Toledo. The offense hasn’t seemed to miss a beat, but the defense needs work after allowing 18 goals in five games, 10 coming this past weekend. With Toledo still facing Brampton eight more times the year, it is safe to say this will be a very interesting series to watch the rest of the season.
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