Threes were wild for the Walleye on Wednesday night as Toledo scored three goals on three consecutive shots in the third period to break a three-game losing streak.
The Walleye tallied three goals in a span of 4:51 to break open a 2-2 tie against Wheeling and charged away with a 5-2 victory.
Forward Max Campbell and defenseman Wes O'Neill each scored two goals. Forward Willie Coetzee tallied the game winner with 10:08 left for Toledo (14-10-1).
“When you're in a slump you need something like this to get you out of it,” Campbell said.
“This was big for us. We were on that three-game skid so we knew we needed to get out of it in the third and we played simple and got shots to the net and it worked out.”
Rookie goalie Kent Simpson (6-6-1) was strong and finished with 30 saves before an announced crowd of 4,319 at the Huntington Center.
The game was tied at 2 with 10:08 left when the Walleye took the lead for good as Coetzee scored on a perfectly placed shot that went top shelf.
Less than two minutes later, Toledo went up 4-2 on Campbell's second of the game. Ben Youds, who had two assists, made a terrific pass from the side of the net out front to Campbell with 8:19 left.
O'Neill scored his second of the game when his shot deflected off a Nailer defenseman to add to his career-high season goal total. O'Neill, who also had an assist, has nine goals in 24 games. His eeeeeeeeprevious high was six in a season going back to his junior year at Notre Dame.
“When you're lucky, you're lucky sometimes,” O'Neill said.
“I don't think about it. I've never been a goal scorer so I don't plan on becoming one. I'd rather score no points and the team win."
Toledo had been outscored 15-10 in three straight road losses and looked listless in the first two periods, getting outshot 21-15.
“Our first two periods weren't very good,” coach Nick Vitucci said.
“But it's nice that we were able to pick it up and find a way to win because we've been finding ways to lose them lately.”
Vitucci said his team hung around for 40 minutes and took advantage of late opportunities.
“We finally got things going our way in the third period,” Vitucci said.
“We were on the back end of that at Evansville when they had three goals in about 45 seconds so it's nice that we got some bounces.”
The Walleye fell behind 1-0 early but tied it midway through the opening period. Toledo grabbed a 2-1 edge in the second period, but Wheeling tied it back up just moments later.
Wheeling was assessed a rare penalty for a mouth guard violation in the second.
Toledo cashed in as Campbell drilled a shot over Wheeling goalie Scott Darling's shoulder.
That lead didn't last long as Wheeling's Luke Pither scored his second of the game to tie it at 2 just 48 seconds later.
The Nailers struck first as Pither scored a power play goal 8:12 into the game. Simpson was screened on Pithers' backhander.
Toledo tied it at 1 less than two minutes later on O'Neill's long shot from just inside the blueline on a nice assist from Andrej Nestrasil.
Campbell just missed getting a hat trick late in the game.
“The third one would have been nice but it's great to get the win,” he said.
“There were a couple of nice plays by Wes and Youdsy to set me up. I just pretty much had to shoot those.”
Simpson made several strong stops in the second and third period.
“He made some huge saves for us, especially once we got the tie,” Vitucci said.
Toledo hosts Evansville on Saturday and Florida on Sunday.
FISH TALES: The Walleye have now won three straight at home to improve to 7-5-0 this season. … Coetzee, who leads the league with 100 shots, had a team-high four. He extended his goal scoring streak to three games. … Nestrasil extended his point to six games with an assist. … The Walleye, who average 31.67 shots per game, had 26 shots.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.