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After being held scoreless for two periods, the floodgates opened for the Toledo Walleye, who exploded with five goals in the final period last night.
The Walleye scored all five of their goals in a span of 13:17 in the final period to post a 5-3 victory over Trenton before 7,461 fans at Lucas County Arena.
Defenseman J.C. Sawyer scored on two long shots from the point and tallied the game-winner with a power play goal with 11:34 left. Maxime Tanguay, Toledo's leading scorer, had two goals and two
assists, and Scooter Smith finished with three assists.
Toledo (30-24-4) gained two valuable points and held off the Devils (24-25-9), who are chasing the Walleye.
Toledo had outshot Trenton 27-16 through two periods, yet the Devils led 1-0.
But the Walleye scored two goals just 1:21 apart early in the third period. Defensemen Jonathan Carlsson and Sawyer gave the Walleye a 2-1 lead.
But Trenton's Dan Eves notched his second goal of the night to tie it 24 seconds later. Tanguay scored 6:05 into the third period for a 3-2 lead off a beautiful centering pass from Sal Peralta.
Sawyer's power play goal then made it 4-2 before Trenton's Andy Thomas made it a one goal game on a fluke shot from center ice that caught goalie Alec Richards off guard. But Tanguay pounced on a long rebound for the final goal with 4:55 left.
"We were getting a lot of chances, and everyone was really confident," Tanguay said. "We just needed to get traffic in front of the net. Coach told us not to panic and not to try to do it all yourself. Those points were really huge because this division is unreal."
The game was played on pink-colored ice and the Walleye wore pink jerseys that were auctioned off after the game. Proceeds from the auction benefited the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Sawyer's jersey went for $2,000.
"What a great night. What a great cause," Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. "The players were very excited about it."
Richards finished with 35 saves. "I knew we would pop a few in, I just had to hold down the fort in the back," he said.
Richards made a save to keep the game scoreless when Trenton created a solo breakaway while shorthanded early in the first. Devils goalie Dave Caruso (38 saves) then stopped Chris Robertson on a shorthanded breakaway.
Toledo looked to have scored 7:08 in when Evan Rankin knocked in a rebound, but referee Jarrod Ragusin called it off. The Walleye carried the play in the first, finishing with a 13-5 advantage in shots. But Eves tallied the lone goal.
"We had good scoring opportunities - we just weren't getting rewarded," Vitucci said. "We just try to be too creative at times. We just had to get pucks deep and drive the net."
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