For the second night in a row, the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye battled to a tied score in the first two periods of action. Unfortunately, for the second night in a row, the Walleye prevailed. Willie Coetzee broke a 1-1 tie at the 10:40 mark of the third, and Joey Martin added an insurance tally, leading Toledo to a 3-1 victory on Saturday night at Huntington Center.
The Walleye wasted little time in opening the scoring, utilizing a power play to light the lamp at the 2:01 mark of the contest. Joey Martin took a wrist shot from the right circle that was redirected in front by Trevor Parkes, who was able to split Scott Darling’s legs. Willie Coetzee also snared an assist on the goal, as the home team had a 1-0 lead after the first period, which saw 27 combined shots on goal.
The Nailers evened the score midway through the second period. Matt Germain jammed the puck into the low slot, while his teammates crashed the net. One of those teammates was Chris Barton, who found the loose puck at the top of the crease, where he deposited his 18th goal of the season. Paul Crowder also assisted on Barton’s marker, which sent the game to the third period all square at one.
Halfway into the third period, Toledo regained the lead. While playing with the man advantage, Joey Martin slid a pass across to Willie Coetzee, who ripped a wrist shot into the right side of the net. 36 seconds later, the Walleye picked up an insurance marker. Cody Lampl whipped a shot wide of the net, but the rebound off of the end wall deflected out to Joey Martin, who flipped the puck over a sprawling Darling. That goal turned out to cap the scoring, as Toledo defeated Wheeling, 3-1.
Kent Simpson played a terrific game in goal for the Walleye, stopping 35 of the 36 shots he faced for the win. Scott Darling played well for the Nailers, but took the loss, making 26 saves on 29 shots.
The Nailers and Walleye will clash one more time in Toledo, with that game taking place on Sunday at 5:05.