Toledo goaltender Jeff Lerg made 24 saves and even added an assist to lead the Walleye to a 2-1 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets in Game One of the second round in the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Komets forward Trevor Cheek had the lone goal for the Komets and forward Mike Embach added a helper. Walleye defenseman Landon Oslanski and forward A.J. Jenks netted the two goals for Toledo tonight.
The first period started quite uneventful, which is surprising given these two teams’ history. Komets goaltender Pat Nagle made a huge save five minutes in on Walleye forward Alden Hirschfeld to keep the game knotted at zero. The Komets finally broke free and took a 7-2 lead in shots on goal, but still couldn’t crack Walleye goaltender Lerg. The Komets killed off the only penalty, a Mike Embach cross-check. At the end of the period, there was a shoving match between Komets forward Travis Ewanyk and Walleye defenseman Jordan Hill and they got matching roughing minors. The Komets edged out the Walleye in shots on goal 7-6 at the end of the opening frame.
The crazy middle stanza started with Toledo breaking the scoreless tie with a wrister from the top of the circle by defenseman Oslanski on the power play 2:27 in. That was Oslanski’s third goal of the playoffs and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Walleye. Komets forward Cheek answered a little over eight minutes later with a wrister of his own to tie the game at 1. The Komets couldn’t stay out of the penalty box in the second with two penalties in about a minute. Toledo took advantage on the first penalty of two, as Jenks tipped home a Matt Caito shot from the point to retake the Walleye lead at 2-1. The middle frame ended with chaos, as Nagle took a two-hand slash at Walleye forward Tylor Spink and Cheek cross checked Spink afterwards, which drew a crowd with punches and cross checks happening everywhere in the Fort Wayne goal crease. The only penalty that came of the confrontation was a cross checking minor to Cheek. The second period ended with the Walleye leading 2-1 in goals and 19-17 in shots on goal.
The final frame was a goaltending duel between Nagle and Lerg as neither team got anything past either goaltender in the third. The Komets peppered Lerg in the final period, but couldn’t solve him, as Lerg stopped all eight shots in the final frame to lead the Walleye to a 2-1 victory over the Komets to take Game 1 of the series. The Komets beat the Walleye in shots on goal in the third period 8-5 and in the game 25-24.
The Komets lose Game One of the second round to go behind 1-0 in the series against Toledo. Cheek netted the lone goal for the Komets. Walleye goaltender Jeff Lerg played outstanding and made 24 saves to lead the Walleye to victory. The Komets had six penalties and the Walleye scored both goals on the power play. The Komets went 0/2 on the power play tonight and 3/5 on the penalty kill.
1.A.J. Jenks (TOL, GWG, 4 SOG)
2.Jeff Lerg (TOL, 24 SV, 25 SA, 1A)
3.Matt Caito (TOL, 2A, 2 SOG)
The Komets take on the Walleye in Game 2 of the second round at the Huntington Center in Toledo on Saturday, April 29 at 7:35 p.m. The Walleye lead the series 1-0.