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 Wheeling Nailers

Walleye Hold Serve in Toledo

May 4, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Wheeling Nailers News Release

Wheeling Nailers battle the Toledo Walleye
Wheeling Nailers battle the Toledo Walleye
(Wheeling Nailers)

TOLEDO, OH- The Wheeling Nailers will return to WesBanco Arena in the coming week and match what the Toledo Walleye did at Huntington Center - hold serve on home ice in the Central Division Final Series. Mitchell Lewandowski notched a goal and an assist for the Walleye, who held off a late push by Wheeling to secure a 5-3 win and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven set. All three Nailers goals came from defensemen, including Justin Lee, who lit the lamp twice.

The first period was filled with momentum swings, and when the buzzer sounded, Toledo found itself ahead 2-1. The Walleye got the first successful penalty kill of the night, and led that into the opening goal just 13 seconds after the minor expired. Mitchell Lewandowski slid a pass across to Jason Willms, who stepped into the right slot, and drove a wrist shot into the right side of the cage. Wheeling pulled even with 2:47 remaining. Matt Koopman set a pass back for Justin Lee a few feet inside of the offensive blueline. Lee waited for traffic to pile up in front of the goal, then smoked a slap shot into the left side of the net. 37 seconds later, Toledo went back on top. Jacob Graves wound his way deep on the right side of the offensive zone, then plated a pass into the low slot, where it was tipped home by Lewandowski.

The goals followed a similar pattern in the middle frame, as one Nailers strike was sandwiched around two by the Walleye. Matt Anderson put Toledo's third marker on the board at the 4:02 mark, when he redirected in a feed from Michael Prapavessis from just outside of the crease on the left side. Wheeling temporarily pulled within one, thanks to a hard-working shift in the offensive zone. The goal was ultimately created by Louie Roehl's low right point shot, which kicked out to defensive partner Isaac Belliveau for a slam dunk from the left side. Orrin Centazzo put the Walleye back on top by two with 4:13 to go, when he crashed the net and poked in a lead pass from Brandon Kruse.

Wheeling pushed hard to come back in the third period, and pulled within a goal with 11:03 left on the clock. Davis Bunz patiently held the puck along the right wing wall, then connected with Lee, who made a gorgeous dangle move in the right circle and roofed his second tally of the night. Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to find an equalizer, and Riley Sawchuk's empty netter iced the 5-3 Toledo win.

Jan Bednar picked up the victory in goal for the Walleye, as he thwarted 30 of the 33 shots he faced. Jaxon Castor had a busy night in the Wheeling crease, as he came away with 37 saves on 41 shots.

The Nailers and Walleye will have a few days off before the Central Division Final Series resumes with game three at WesBanco Arena on Wednesday at 7:10. Game four will be in Wheeling on Friday at 7:10, followed by game five on Saturday at 7:10. To purchase tickets for the playoffs or for any questions or concerns about ticketing, please visit or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.


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Wheeling Nailers battle the Toledo Walleye
Wheeling Nailers battle the Toledo Walleye


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