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Walleye blank Steelheads for fifth straight win

TOLEDO, OhioPat Nagle stopped all 27 shots he faced as the Toledo Walleye seized their fifth consecutive victory with a comfortable 4-0 win over the Idaho Steelheads on Friday at the Huntington Center.

The Walleye (6-1-1-0) used goals from Greg Wolfe, Shane Berschbach and A.J. Jenks in the opening 16:05 to put the game beyond reach, before T.J. Hensick added an insurance marker early in the final frame. Berschbach and Hensick each logged a goal and an assist while Tyler Spezia contributed two helpers in the first of five regular season meetings against Idaho (4-4-0-1).

Toledo started the scoring 1:26 into the contest when Wolfe dropped his shoulder and drove the net from the right circle, overmatching Phillippe Desrosiers with a shot inside the left post.

Berschbach’s team-best sixth goal of the campaign doubled Toledo’s advantage 6:59 into the first. Marcus Crawford chipped the puck from center ice to Spezia, who spun around at the right half-boards and found Berschbach with plenty of space in front to place a shot into the top left corner.

Toledo added to its lead on the man advantage on a near tic-tac-toe sequence. Fifteen seconds into a Clint Lewis tripping minor, Hensick fired a pass through the slot to Berschbach at the bottom of the right circle before the latter reached Jenks in front for a tap-in at the 16:05 mark to open up a three-goal cushion.

Neither side found the net in the middle stanza, though Nagle dazzled between the pipes to keep Idaho off the scoresheet. With just over six minutes gone in the second, Nagle stuck out his right pad to deny a pair of chances from Elgin Pearce. A couple moments later, the Toledo netminder caught and held Kale Kessy’s breakaway attempt to maintain a 3-0 lead heading into the second intermission.

Hensick wrapped up the scoring for the hosts with 2:10 gone in the third. Spezia raced down to the left corner and slid the puck across the goal mouth to the four-time AHL All-Star at the right post for a simple finish.

The Walleye finished 1-for-4 on the power play while Idaho failed to cash in on three opportunities. Desrosiers turned away 27-of-31 shots in a losing effort.

What’s Next:
The Walleye return at the Huntington Center tomorrow night for another matchup against Idaho. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Three Stars:
1. Toledo – Pat Nagle (SO, 27 saves)
2. Toledo – Shane Berschbach (goal, assist)
3. Toledo – T.J. Hensick (goal, assist)

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