Walleye inch closer to top spot in division

After missing the postseason each of the last two seasons, the Toledo Walleye are well-positioned to return to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in 2013. With their current five-game winning streak, the Walleye are 26-17-4 for 56 points, good enough for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, and just two points behind Cincinnati for first place in the North Division.


Toledo’s goaltending has been solid during the five-game winning streak, allowing one goal or less in each of the five wins. The Walleye have outscored their opponents 17-4 during the winning streak.


The Walleye opened last week with a 2-0 win at Cincinnati on Thursday. Joey Martin and Stephon Thorne tallied for Toledo and Kent Simpson made 20 saves to record his first professional shutout.


On Friday, Toledo used a three-goal second period to defeat Elmira 4-1. Martin scored two goals and Andrej Nestrasil provided three assists to lead the way offensively, and Simpson made 29 saves, coming within 1:31 of another shutout.


Toledo ended the week with a 2-1 win against Reading on Saturday. Randy Rowe opened the scoring midway through the first period and Travis Novak scored the eventual game-winner with a shorthanded tally late in the second period. Simpson once again was solid in goal, making 30 saves.


Simpson has won each of his last four starts, and is 5-1-0 in his last six decisions, improving his record on the season to 12-9-3 and he ranks 10th in the ECHL with a 2.51 goals-against average.


Nestrasil leads the Walleye this season with 40 points (10g-30a) and a +18 rating while Willie Coetzee, who leads the league with 184 shots on goal, paces the club with 18 goals.


Rowe continues to move up the ECHL all-time leader board, ranking ninth all-time with 597 games and 14th with 232 goals. With three more games, Rowe will become just the seventh player in ECHL history to reach the 600 games played plateau.


Toledo opens a four-game road trip this weekend, visiting Greenville on Thursday and South Carolina on Saturday.