T-Town, are you ready for some Toledo Walleye rivalry hockey?! Your Walleye are playing an away and home two game series against former Eastern Conference nemesis Wheeling today and tomorrow! Toledo looks to extend their winning streak to seven games, while the Nailers look to win their third in a row after losing their first three games of the year. I’m going to do a bit of a different format for today’s series preview, where I list each teams league rank for certain aspects, like goals per game or penalty kill, and any noteworthy player transactions or announcements. As always, let’s start off with your Toledo Walleye!
League Standing: 2nd place at 6-1-0-0 and 12 points
Western Conference Standing: 2nd
Central Division Standing: 2nd
Goals Scored Average: 4.57, with 32 total goals being tied for 2nd
Goals Allowed Average: 3, with 21 allowed this year being tied for 12th
Power Play: 12.1%, 21st
Penalty Kill: 83.3%, 16th
Player Transactions: Kyle Bonis will not be skating with the Walleye in the foreseeable future as he signed a professional tryout deal with the Rochester Americans of the AHL. Bonis leads the Walleye in points with five goals and five assists. Defenseman Scott Czarnowczan will be rejoining the due to the conclusion of his professional tryout with the Iowa Wild of the AHL. The Czar earned 20 assists and 25 points for the Walleye last season. Michael Leone and Derek Docken are still on IR.
Notes: Toledo has to step up their Power Play unit, 12.1% just isn’t going to cut moving further into the season. On a lighter note, Nolan Zajac and Jarod Nightingale both scored their first goals of the season last weekend against the Norfolk Admirals, with Zajac’s being the first of his professional career.
Now how about the Wheeling Nailers:
League Standing: 24th place at 2-2-1-0 and 5 points
Eastern Conference Standing: 11th
North Division Standing: 5th
Goals Scored Average: 3.4 over five games, 17 total goals puts them tied for 16th
Goals Allowed Average: 2.4, with only 12 goals allowed over 5 games giving them 5th place
Power Play: 25.0%, 2nd
Penalty Kill: 78.3%, 23rd
Notes: The Nailers have a seriously potent Power Play unit that Toledo needs to avoid. Wheeling would love to use that to their advantage as Toledo is also one of the most penalized teams in the ECHL. Watch out for that during this series A stingy defense may give the Walleye offense some trouble as well, especially without Kyle Bonis, so these games may be a little slower paced than normal.
I expect the home team to come out swinging, as the Nailers would sure love to put an end to the Walleye win streak tonight in West Virginia. I feel like they have a good chance of winning tonight as well, since Toledo will have to retool with the absence of Bonis and the addition of Czarnowczan. That being said, I am still confident the Walleye can find a way to win tonight, then come home to a roaring home crowd tomorrow. See you at the Huntington Center tomorrow night, and LET’S GO WALLEYE!
Stats acquired from the ECHL Website: