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Berschbach propels Walleye to sixth straight victory

TOLEDO, Ohio – After seeing a two-goal lead evaporate in the third period, Shane Berschbach’s game-winning tally with 5:59 remaining propelled the Toledo Walleye to their sixth straight victory in a 3-2 decision over the Idaho Steelheads on Saturday before a sold-out crowd of 7,471 at the Huntington Center.

In addition to netting his team-high seventh goal of the season, Berschbach added a pair of helpers and finished with a plus-3 rating alongside linemate A.J. Jenks. Making his second start in consecutive nights, Pat Nagle turned away 33-of-35 shots to extend his individual point streak to six to begin the campaign.

Tyler Spezia potted his first professional goal to start the scoring 5:21 into the opening period. After Berschbach won a battle for the puck at the left half-boards, Samuel Thibault sent a pass down low to Spezia, who moved to the backhand and slid a shot underneath the left pad of former Bowling Green teammate Tomas Sholl to stake the Walleye (7-1-1-0) to a 1-0 edge.

No love was lost between the two sides as the hosts held on to their one-goal advantage. Bryan Moore wrestled Steve McParland to the ice at the 9:21 mark of the second, before Ben Storm and Keegan Kanzig dropped the mitts in a heavyweight matchup a couple moments later.

Toledo gained some much-needed breathing space in the waning seconds of the middle frame. Moore’s feed from the right wall reached Jenks in the high slot for a wrister into the top right corner to make it a 2-0 contest with 50.8 ticks left in the stanza.

The Steelheads (4-5-0-1) cut their deficit in half 5:13 into the third, as Brad McClure found A.J. White alone in front to spoil Nagle’s second shutout bid of the weekend series. After the Walleye couldn’t cash in on a 5-on-3 lasting 66 seconds, Idaho restored parity on the power play when McParland’s breakaway attempt rested in the lower left corner at the 12:08 mark.

The Walleye bounced back and recaptured the lead with fewer than six minutes remaining in regulation. Daniel Leavens had his wrist shot from the right half-boards pushed aside by Sholl’s right pad, but the rebound came straight to Berschbach at the left circle for a slapshot into an empty cage with 5:59 on the clock.

Idaho finished 1-for-5 on the man advantage while Toledo was unable to convert on five opportunities. Sholl blocked 25-of-28 shots as the Steelheads dropped their second straight game.

What’s Next:
The Walleye begin a three-game road trip on Friday as they take on the Kalamazoo Wings. Puck drop from Wings Event Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Three Stars:
1. Toledo – Shane Berschbach (game-winning goal, two assists)
2. Toledo – Tyler Spezia (goal)
3. Toledo – Pat Nagle (W, 33 saves)