Toledo Is Too Much For Nailers
Wheeling falls at home by a 6-2 outcome
WHEELING — Any team that steps on the ice with Toledo understands that goals will not come easy.
Walleye goaltender Matej Machovsky leads the ECHL in goals-against average with a solid 2.01 and that trend continued on Tuesday as the Nailers fell to Toledo by a 6-2 count inside WesBanco Arena.
It was the fifth consecutive win for the Central Division leaders, who outshot Wheeling 43-34.
“They have two great goaltenders,” Nailers coach Jeff Christian said. “But I don’t think they did anything exceptionally well. We didn’t compete and we didn’t play a solid game.
“I’m very disappointed in our guys. Their last two efforts have been sub-par and that is not acceptable. We aren’t going to have a good January and sink in February again.
“We’re going to make some changes and we’ll have an intense practice (today).”
The Nailers were not given any favors as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton recalled top scorer Reid Gardiner, along with Troy Joesphs on Saturday, leaving Christian looking for someone to step up.
“In our last two games, we really needed that secondary scoring,” Christian said. “It is the responsibility of certain guys to get that job done and they aren’t getting it done. It’s time for guys to look in the mirror and decide which way we are going to go with this.”
Toledo grabbed a 1-0 lead halfway through the opening frame when former Nailer Christian Hilbrich netted his 17th goal of the season on a power-play shot from the right circle.
With the clock reading 2:17 left in the first, Cody Wydo cashed in on his 19th goal of the campaign as he fired a wrist shot off the post to knot the game at 1-1.
The goal came on the power play, giving Wheeling its ECHL-leading 43rd power-play goal of the season and extended Wydo’s point streak to nine straight games.
Christian’s squad looked to grab the upper hand in the second as defenseman Jeff Taylor swiped a Toledo pass, found teammate Cam Brown who raced down the ice and setup Garrett Meurs who lit the lamp, giving Wheeling the 2-1 edge 7:41 into the stanza.
The helper increased Brown’s assist total to 29, which leads all ECHL rookies.
“I thought Cam Brown was our best player,” Christian said. “His hustle created some offense and Garrett Meurs had a decent game, too. Other than that, I don’t think there was much out there.”
Midway through the period, Dylan Sadowy provided the equalizer with the Walleye’s second power-play goal and less than a minute later, Connor Crisp gave Toledo the lead for good as he collected a rebound and found the back of the net.
Toledo recorded a trio of power-play goals overall as it added three insurance goals in the final frame to secure the victory.
“Our penalty kill wasn’t great,” Christian said. “They’re a good team and they capitalize on other teams’ mistakes.
“Our defense is not competing hard enough and we are not executing well enough.”
Wheeling finished its seven-game homestand with a 3-3-1 record and will trek to Orlando this weekend.
Toledo 6, Wheeling 2
Toledo 1 2 3 — 6
Wheeling 1 1 0 — 2
1st Period-1, Toledo, Hilbrich 17 (Vandane, Obuchowski), 9:08 (PP). 2, Wheeling, Wydo 19 (Schulze, Tiffels), 17:43 (PP). Penalties-Bradford Tol (slashing), 3:29; Brown Whl (hooking), 9:02; Crisp Tol (hooking), 14:35; Gibson Tol (tripping), 17:22.
2nd Period-3, Wheeling, Meurs 16 (Brown, Taylor), 7:41. 4, Toledo, Sadowy 4 (Obuchowski, Vandane), 10:24 (PP). 5, Toledo, Crisp 11 (Embach, O’Connor), 11:10. Penalties-Zink Whl (hooking), 1:23; Sorkin Whl (slashing), 8:09; Tolkinen Whl (interference), 10:08; Berschbach Tol (hooking), 14:54.
3rd Period-6, Toledo, Embach 2 (Denis), 2:06. 7, Toledo, Bradford 11 (Hilbrich, Obuchowski), 12:27 (PP). 8, Toledo, Crisp 12 (Reno), 18:35 (SH EN). Penalties-Milan Whl (high-sticking), 2:23; Borkowski Tol (hooking), 3:45; Gibson Tol (interference), 8:04; Sorkin Whl (interference), 10:32; Gibson Tol (kneeing – major, game misconduct – kneeing), 17:53.
Shots on Goal-Toledo 14-17-12-43. Wheeling 10-14-10-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Toledo 3 / 6; Wheeling 1 / 7.
Goalies-Toledo, Machovsky 10-7-0-1 (34 shots-32 saves). Wheeling, Morrison 10-9-1-0 (34 shots-30 saves); King 6-5-1-0 (8 shots-7 saves).
Referees-Tyler Puddifant (28).
Linesmen-Michael Fusani (41), Zach Roberts (84).