The Toledo Walleye had a two-game home stand against the Iowa Heartlanders to kick off their first weekend of hockey in December. Toledo held their first-ever Glow Weekend with fans waving glow sticks and wearing glowing wristbands that lit up to match the events and music of the game. To commemorate the event, the Walleye wore special jerseys highlighted with neon yellow and neon blue. The special jerseys were auctioned off after Sunday’s game, with proceeds benefitting the Walleye Wishing Well.
On Saturday, John Lethemon was in goal for Toledo and for Iowa, Peyton Jones. Toledo’s Antti Tuomisto was able to get one by Peyton Jones at 1:45 of the first period to put the Walleye up 1-0. The lead quickly fizzled as Iowa was able to squeeze two goals by Lethemon. The goals were scored by Yuki Miura (6:05) and Odeen Tufto (7:48). Late in Period one, Toledo’s Mitchell Lewandowski tied the game at 19:48. His goal was assisted by Trenton Bliss and Brandon Hawkins. The First Period ended with a score of 2-2.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in Period two. Iowa’s P. Jones had 13 saves in net, and Toledo’s Lethemon had seven. Toledo’s Will Cullen had the only penalty in the period for interference.
Toledo went to work in the Third Period as Bliss (2:14) struck first to put the Walleye up 3-2. His goal was assisted by Hawkins and Matt Anderson. The next goal came from Sam Craggs (4:25). His goal was assisted by Adrien Beraldo and Kirill Tyutyayev. Iowa tried to find momentum but fell short. Iowa’s David Spacek scored at a time of 12:03 but that would be the last time they got the puck by Lethemon. Toledo’s Bliss got his second goal of the game at the 19:40 mark of the third. His goal was assisted by Craggs and Conlan Keenan. Toledo would win the contest with a score of 5-3. Lethemon recorded 42 saves in net for Toledo, and for Iowa, P. Jones saved 19 shots.
On Sunday, the Walleye were hoping to win out during their glow weekend against the Heartlanders. In goal for Toledo was Jan Bednar and P. Jones was back in net for Iowa.
The First Period was straightforward. The Heartlanders struck first and early with a goal at a time of 5:02 by Davis Koch. Each team was assessed one penalty. Iowa for high sticking and Toledo for boarding. Iowa took the 1-0 lead heading into the Second Period.
Heartlanders came out and found the back of the net again at the beginning of Period Two. The goal was scored by Spacek, assisted by Robbie Stucker and Brett Budgell. Iowa scored two more goals by Koch and Budgell to go up 4-0. The Walleye were able to gain some momentum with two quick goals by Anderson (15:36) and Craggs (17:06). Anderson’s goal was assisted by Tuomisto and Craggs. Craggs’ goal was assisted by Anderson and Lewandowski. Despite the two goals, the Walleye ended the second with a total of 17 penalty minutes, while the Heartlands only had nine minutes.
The Walleye capitalized on a power play shortly into the third when Craggs scored his second goal of the night to put Toledo within one. He found the back of the net at 4:39 and was assisted by Cullen and Alexandre Doucet. Toledo took advantage of another power play to tie the game up at 4-4. Brandon Kruse scored the tying goal at 15:46. His goal was assisted by Bliss and Riley McCourt. At the end of regulation, the game was tied 4-4.
Neither the Walleye nor the Heartlanders were able to score within the three-on-three seven-minute overtime period. In a shootout, it was the Heartlanders who came out on top. Both Tufto and Koch were able to get one by Bednar. Neither Lewandowski nor Hawkins for the Walleye were able to get one by P. Jones. The Heartlanders take the win, 5-4.
Peyton Jones had a total of 38 saves for the Heartlanders, and Bednar had 32 saves for the Walleye.
The Toledo Walleye are proving to be the comeback kids despite falling short on Sunday night. The Walleye are back at the Huntington Center on Wednesday, December 6th. They are facing off against the Kalamazoo Wings. The puck drops at 10:35 a.m.