Wheeling 5, Toledo 3, series tied 1-1Written by Scott Calhoun | | email@example.com
The Toledo Storm nearly did twice what it had already remarkably done once in the ECHL American Conference North Division Finals versus the Wheeling Nailers.
Down 3-1 in Game 2 and looking completely out of the game through two periods the Storm again revved up its offensive engines in the third and tied the game 3-3. The Nailers, however, were not about to relinquish a big lead and lose yet again for the second straight game in the series.
Luis Tremblay whipped home a beautiful wrist shot from the blue line past a blinded Logan Koopmans with 2:50 remaining to deflate Toledo’s late-game outburst and forward Bo Cheesman provided some empty-net insurance 15 ticks before the gun as Wheeling suddenly tipped the series scales in their favor by winning 5-3 last night at the Sports Arena.
In more ways than one the Storm really got outplayed in game 2 despite keeping things at bay until the final minutes.
Wheeling virtually controlled the entire first 40 minutes of the contest, a stranglehold again greatly augmented by an imbalance in power play advantage. Through the first two stanzas the officials rang up the Storm for 26 penalty minutes while disciplining the Nailers with just four PIM. Toledo only enjoyed power play advantage once in that span while Wheeling never technically incurred its second visit to the box until just 1:04 remained in the second period when Tremblay blatantly roughed up Koopmans while he was down in a pile in the crease. That infraction merely resulted in another 5-on-4 situation for Wheeling as Storm forward Adam Keefe was simultaneously sent to the box for an apparent crosscheck and forward Ken Magowan received a roughing assessment to make Tremblay’s penalty an afterthought.
As a result the Storm struggled to keep the Nailers out of its goal area while finding it difficult to get things rolling offensively. Wheeling’s first two tallies came on the powerplay while Toledo Jeff Attard had to create a steal and breakaway for a short-handed goal past Andy Franck 5:15 into the game just to get the Storm a score through two periods.
Attard’s goal had put Toledo up 1-0, but Wheeling forward Sean Collins helped set up teammate Arpad Mihaly 12 feet out from Koopman’s base and Mihaly capitalized with a wrist shot to tie the game at 1-1 with 3:35 left in the opening period.
The Nailers then took advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the second period when forward Tim Verbeek scored at 3:07 to put Wheeling ahead. Things were going so well for Wheeling with PIM that they held at least a one-man advantage for the first 4:37 of the second stanza.
Bill Downey continued Wheeling’s fortunes by receiving an Eric Sonnenberg dish as he skated at a leftward angle about 18 feet out from goal and caught Koopmans leaning right enough to cross the puck past him for Wheeling’s third score at 8:51.
As it did in game 1, the Storm reacted defensively to the fact they were in a considerable hole and proceeded to shut down the Nailers during the rest of the second period. Nevertheless Wheeling outshot Toledo 34-14 through two frames.
Magowan finally registered his first goal of the series 3:17 into the third to slice Wheeling’s led to 3-2, simply pushing a hard wrister past Franck from 30-feet out on the right side.
Forward Todd Jackson then turn the tables on the Nailers’ wheelhouse, tying the game up at 3-3 on a power play goal with 12:36 remaining in the game as defenseman Mike Knight located Jackson open on Franck’s exposed backdoor.
Again the Sports Arena was electrified and convinced the tides had been turned in Toledo’s favor, but Tremblay’s statement goal silenced the crowd and put a sudden jilt into the Storm’s playoff picture.
Now the series shifts southeastward to West Virginia for the next two games where the Storm will have to dig deep to recover from the disappointing game 2 loss while figuring out a way to win at least one of games 3 and 4 at a site they’ve struggled in to the tune of a 2-4-1 regular season record.
For the game, Jackson finished with a goal and an assist to lead Toledo offensively while Koopmans made numerous fantastic saves en route to 40 rejections.
By the numbers:
SCORE BY PERIODS
Wheeling 1 2 2–5
Toledo 1 0 2–3
FIRST PERIOD –
Scoring: 1, Toledo-Attard 1 (short handed) (Reid;
Jackson) 5:15. 2, Wheeling-Mihaly 2 (power play) (Hodge; Collins)
Penalties: Zultek, TOL (Interference), 0:33. Knight, TOL
(Cross checking), 4:24. Rice, WHL (Cross checking), 6:47. Keefe, TOL
(Cross checking, Ten minute misc.), 15:31. Snowball, TOL
(Cross checking, Roughing, Double minor), 19:23.
SECOND PERIOD –
Scoring: 3, Wheeling-Mihaly 3 (power play) (Collins;
Fernholm) 3:07. 4, Wheeling-Downey 1 (Sonnenberg; Rice) 8:51.
Penalties: Burke, TOL (Delay of game), 2:37. Magowan, TOL (Roughing),
18:56. Tremblay, WHL (Roughing), 18:56. Keefe, TOL (Cross checking),
THIRD PERIOD — Scoring: 5, Toledo-Magowan 1 (Reid) 3:17. 6, Toledo-
Jackson 2 (power play) (Knight; Maleyko) 7:24. 7, Wheeling-Tremblay 1
(game winner) (Loya; Verbeek) 17:10. 8, Wheeling-Cheesman 3
(empty net) (unassisted) 19:45.
Penalties: Patrick, WHL (Cross checking), 1:19. Jackson, TOL (Slashing), 2:58. Tremblay, WHL (Holding), 5:55. Fernholm, WHL (Delay of game), 6:31. Maleyko, TOL
(Cross checking), 9:54. Sonnenberg, WHL (Obstr goalie interfe), 11:36. Blight, TOL (Diving), 15:12. Sonnenberg, WHL (Holding), 15:12. Keefe, TOL (Unsportsmanlike Cond), 19:45.
SHOTS ON GOAL
Wheeling 17 17 11–45
Toledo 7 7 14–28
Power Play Conversions: Wheeling – 2 of 10, Toledo – 1 of 5.
Goalies: Wheeling-Franck (28 shots, 25 saves; record: 4-1-1). Toledo-
Koopmans (44 shots, 40 saves; record: 1-1-0).
Referee: Ernst. Linesmen: Phillips; Allman.