Walleye Rally to Defeat Komets in Shootout
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Troy Loggins netted a game-tying, power play goal with 13:36 left in regulation, before he and Mark Auk scored in the eventual shootout to lift the Toledo Walleye to a 2-1 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday at the Memorial Coliseum.
Winners in three straight on the road, the Walleye (21-12-3-1) improved to 5-0 this season against the Komets (19-14-5-1) after emerging victorious in what proved to be a goaltending duel. Billy Christopoulos stopped 42-of-43 shots in regulation and overtime, and turned away both Fort Wayne chances in the shootout to boost his record to 12-2-2. Meanwhile, Cole Kehler blocked 43-of-44 at the other end to earn second-star honors, but failed to save either of Toledo's breakaway attempts.
Tied at 1-1 after 60 minutes, the Walleye successfully killed off the remaining 14 seconds of a T.J. Hensick tripping minor to begin the extra session, and survived another shorthanded stint after Kevin Spinozzi was called for kneeing 1:05 into overtime as the game headed to a skills competition. Loggins made no mistake in the opening round, staying on his forehand as he skated into the slot and guided the puck through a gaping five-hole.
After Toledo alumnus A.J. Jenks failed to answer for the home side, Auk lit the lamp in the top of the second inning. He faked a wrist shot near the lower part of the right circle, and moved from forehand to backhand as he lifted the puck past the left pad of Kehler. Christopoulos then used his right pad to push aside Brady Shaw's forehand effort as the Walleye picked up a much-needed two points.
The Walleye tallied 17 shots on goal during a scoreless opening period, but it was Fort Wayne who broke the deadlock with 8:57 to go in the second stanza. Moments after the Komets had an alleged goal disallowed due to a high stick, a Gage Torrel clearing attempt set up a 2-on-1 in which Anthony Petruzzelli passed the puck through the slot to Drake Rymsha for a sharp wrister inside the right post.
Fort Wayne's lead remained intact until Loggins restored parity on the power play with 13:36 remaining in the third. With Taylor Doherty in the sin bin for the second time in as many periods, Josh Kestner sent a rinkwide pass toward the right circle to Shane Berschbach, who in turn centered the puck to Loggins in front for a backhanded effort into the top right corner.
Toledo finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while Fort Wayne did not score on any of its four opportunties on the man advantage.
The Walleye will return to the Huntington Center next weekend for a stretch of three home games in three days, beginning on Friday, Jan. 24 when they battle the Atlanta Gladiators at 7:15 p.m.
1. Toledo - Troy Loggins (game-tying power play goal)
2. Fort Wayne - Cole Kehler (SOL, 42 saves)
3. Toledo - Billy Christopoulos (W, 43 saves)
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