Walleye score three in the third to defeat Wheeling 5-3Written by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Eight different Walleye added points to their totals tonight as Toledo defeated the Wheeling Nailers 5-3 at the Huntington Center.
Leading the way for Toledo in their Captain America themed jerseys were forwards Andrej Nestrasil and Willie Coetzee, who each had a goal and an assist.
Walleye captain Kyle Rogers and right winger Travis Novak each had two assists.
With tonight being superhero night in downtown Toledo, Coetzee could have been The Flash. Just 16 seconds in the final period and the game tied at 2, Coetzee used his speed and agility to dance past the defender and then deked past the goalie to have an open look at an easy go-ahead goal.
“I just went wide. I just dangled him and dangled the goalie and put it in. It was a lucky play for me,” Coetzee said. “That’s a great moment for our team to come out first in the third period and start with a bang.”
Walleye Head Coach Nick Vitucci said he changed up the lines for yesterday’s game and tonight and it seemed to work as the team has scored 10 goals in two nights.
“All three lines are contributing and going hard,” he said. “When things get stale, we’ll change them again. It’s just part of it.”
The Walleye power play started to show some life against Wheeling. The team has scored three goals with the one-man advantage in the last two nights.
The penalty kill, on the other hand, has gone cold. At one point in the early season, the Walleye were fourth in the ECHL, but tonight gave up two power play goals on three attempts.
“Well, the first goal things happen and the second you hope Jordan can make that save from that angle. You know, he comes back and makes some fantastic saves for us,” said Toledo Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “It’s a chess match and we win in some areas and lose in some and we’re just going to keep working at winning in all areas.”
With the win, however, came a tough drawback for the team. In the third period, Novak took a hard hit by Wheeling forward Keven Veilleux in the offensive zone. No penalty was called on the hit, but play did stop to help Novak get off the ice.
Vitucci said after the game Novak is concussed and will not play tomorrow and is questionable for the upcoming week.
While Vitucci said he did not see the play but described it as “disappointing.”
“You get penalties, guys step on sticks and get tripping penalties or holding sticks they get, those are calls, but you get a hit to someone’s head and a top player goes down for a couple of weeks and it doesn’t get called.”
The Nailers struck first as forward Stefan Chaput backhanded a rebound past Jordan Pearce to make it 1-0.
Toledo answered with almost 5:30 left in the first as Josh “Podge” Turnbull took a rebound off a Phil Rauch slap shot and hit with just enough force to get past goaltender Patrick Kileen.
The Walleye took the lead when forward Max Campbell took a pass from Coetzee on an odd-man rush and sent it to the twine almost seven minutes in the second period.
Wheeling responded with a little less than five minutes left in the period on a Cody Wild power play goal. Cam Fergus and Veillieux were credited with the assists.
Wheeling scored seven minutes into the third period on a power play goal by Cody Chupp, who took a shot that got past Pearce on the near-side post.
From there, it was all Toledo. A little over a minute later, Andrej Nestrasil intercepted a pass deep in Wheeling’s territory, cut in front of the net and sent it home for the game-winning goal.
Toledo added to their lead with a Randy Rowe power play goal to make it 5-3.
With the victory, the Walleye defeated Wheeling twice in as many nights.
Toledo won 5-2 in Wheeling, W. Va. Friday, Nov. 9.
Prior to the game was the second annual Battle of the Badges, a charity hockey match between Toledo Police Department and Toledo Fire Department.
While the police won for the second straight year 7-3, both groups raised over $2,000 for the Firefighters Local 92 Charities and the Toledo Police Museum.
The Walleye will play their fourth game in five days Nov. 11 when South Carolina comes to the Huntington Center. The puck is scheduled to drop at 5:05 p.m.