Kestner Scores Hat Trick as Walleye Tame Beast
BRAMPTON, Ontario - Josh Kestner recorded his first hat trick of the season as the Toledo Walleye rolled to a 6-3 victory over the Brampton Beast on Wednesday at the CAA Centre.
Kestner scored twice during the last half of the third period, and also dished out an assist as part of a four-point performance. Additionally, Shane Berschbach showed a goal and two assists, while Brett Boeing contributed a pair of helpers. At the other end, Filip Larsson turned away 38-of-41 shots, including all 15 he faced during the final frame, to collect second-star honors.
Brampton (30-23-3-0) started the game with a flurry of scoring chances, and was rewarded when former Toledo (32-15-4-1) skater Daniel Leavens found the net 2:46 into the contest. Leavens, who netted four goals in 30 games with the Walleye during the 2018-19 campaign, is in sole possession of the team lead with 26 goals this season.
The Walleye responded with a pair of goals early in the middle frame to capture their first lead of the day. Brenden Kotyk sent the puck through the goal mouth to Berschbach at the right side of the crease for a quick shot into an open net at the 1:27 mark. Toledo jumped ahead moments later, as Berschach centered the puck to Kestner, who unloaded a wrister from the high slot past the catching glove of Alex Dubeau 5:46
After David Vallorani ripped a slapshot from the top of the left circle, the Walleye scored twice in a 2:28 span. Boeing recorded the primary assist on both goals, setting up Abbott Girduckis at the 11:05 to stake the visitors to a 3-2 lead, before Dylan Zink doubled Toledo's advantage 13:33. However, the Beast remained within striking distance as Perry D'Arrisso sliced the lead to 4-3 at the 16:31 mark of the same frame.
Kestner gave the Walleye a much-needed cushion when he guided his breakway attempt past Dubeau to extend the lead to 5-3 with 9:03 remaining in regulation. With the Brampton netminder on the bench for the extra skater, Berschbach unselfishly delivered the puck to Kestner for his team-best 27th goal of the season with 1:10 on the clock.
Toledo finished 0-for-3 on the man adavntage, while Brampton failed to score on a pair of opportunities. Dubeau stopped 19-of-25 shots in a losing cause.
The Walleye return to the Huntington Center for three home games this weekend, beginning on Friday and Saturday with a pair of matchups against Fort Wayne. Both games against the Komets will start at 7:15 p.m.
1. Toledo - Josh Kestner (hat trick, assist)
2. Toledo - Filip Larsson (W, 38 saves)
3. Brampton - Perry D'Arrisso (goal)
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