TOLEDO, OH- Home ice advantage played a big part in the 2016-17 season series between the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye, and that trend has continued this season as well. After Wheeling picked up a 4-3 victory at home on Friday, the Walleye responded at Huntington Center on Saturday, earning a weekend split with a 5-3 win. The Nailers battled back to even the score with a pair of goals in the third period, but Kyle Bonis snapped the deadlock with 10:41 left, and Mike Borkowski completed a hat trick with an empty net goal.
Power plays were the theme of the first period, as the two teams combined to take six minor penalties. The Nailers made Toledo pay for a pair of its infractions, netting the lone goal during a two-man advantage. Reid Gardiner took a pass from a teammate in the left corner of the offensive zone, and proceeded to drift all the way up to the blueline. Gardiner proceeded to dish a pass to his left, where Derek Army powered in a one-timer from the top of the left circle.
Wheeling outshot Toledo 16-11 in the middle frame, but a three-minute spurt turned the score in the opposite direction. Mike Borkowski put the Walleye on the scoreboard at the 7:55 mark, when he tipped Ryan Obuchowski's point shot into the lower left corner of the net. 1:28 later, Toledo netted a second straight power play tally, when Kevin Tansey blazed in a one-timer from the blueline. 1:20 after that, Borkowski tacked on his second of the night, converting a 3-on-2 rush by snapping in a wrist shot from the right circle.
In the opening five minutes of the third, the Nailers put together a rally, tying the score. 1:47 into the frame, Jeff Taylor threaded a pass to the right side of the crease, where the puck was chipped in by Freddie Tiffels for his first professional goal.
Pat Nagle earned the win for Toledo, turning aside 36 of the 39 shots he faced. Sean Maguire suffered the defeat for Wheeling, despite making 23 saves on 27 shots.
The Nailers will return home on Sunday afternoon for a 3:05 game against the Norfolk Admirals. McDonald's presents $6 kids tickets, and there will be a post game skate with the team (odd-numbered players). The next big promotional game takes place on December 2nd, which is Star Wars Night. The Nailers will wear special jerseys, and the first 2,500 fans will receive a light saber. To purchase tickets, or to receive more information about season tickets, flex plans, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.