Walleye close in on playoff spot

With a season-high four-game winning streak, the Toledo Walleye have moved to within four points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 48 points (22-23-4).


Toledo opened last week with a 2-1 win at Cincinnati on Wednesday. Alec Richards, who was reassigned to the Walleye from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Monday, made 40 saves in his first appearance for the Walleye this season, and Harrison Reed scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period.


On Friday, the Walleye traveled to Wheeling and skated away with a 3-2 shootout victory. Joey Martin and David Gilbert tallied in regulation for Toledo and Gilbert tallied the lone goal of the shootout. Richards was once again stellar in net, stopping 42 shots in regulation and overtime, and turning aside all four Wheeling attempts in the shootout.


The Walleye returned home on Saturday and picked up a 4-3 win over Cincinnati. Toledo started quickly, scoring three times in the first period on goals from Kyle Rogers, Paul Zanette and David Toews, with Martin scoring the eventual game-winner seven minutes into the second period.


Toledo capped its week with a come-from-behind 4-3 overtime win over the Cyclones on Sunday. Cincinnati led 3-2 after two periods, but the Walleye tied the game on an Andrej Nestrasil power-play goal midway through the third period and got the game-winner off the stick of Rogers with just 42 seconds remaining in the extra session.


Richards started all four games last week for the Walleye, turning aside 128 of 136 shots for a .941 save percentage to go along with a 1.93 goals-against average.


Rogers leads the Walleye on the season with 17 goals and 34 points, and is third on the club in plus-minus at +8. Martin, who is second on the team with 14 goals and 33 points, is sixth among ECHL rookies in points, while fellow first-year player Bryan Rufenach is third among league defensemen in goals with 11 and is tied for 10th among blueliners with 26 points.


Toledo heads south for a pair of games this week, visiting Greenville for games on Friday and Sunday.