ESTERO, Fla. - The Walleye's five-game road trip got off to a bumpy start tonight as Toledo suffered a 4-1 setback to the Florida Everblades.
Left winger Doug Clarkson scored the lone goal for the Walleye on assists from Stephon Thorne and newly-signed forward Patrick Knowlton.
Florida scored first with a power play goal but a little more than two minutes later Clarkson tied it up at 1.
However, Florida went on to score the next three goals, including an empty netter with 29 seconds left. Leigh Salters scored twice for Florida.
The Walleye (19-14-4), who were hit hard on Sunday by the loss of five players to call ups, have now lost three in a row and five of their last six games.
Toledo outshot Florida 26-24, including 14-8 in the first period. But the Walleye went 0 of 3 on the power play, while the Everblades converted on 1 of 2 chances with the man advantage.
Walleye goalie Jordan Pearce (10-6-1) finished with 20 saves on 23 shots. Clarkson, who scored on a one timer, also later got into a fight.
“Limiting turnovers and staying out of the penalty box are the biggest keys to be successful down here,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “We had great energy tonight, but we made too many mistakes that we need to clean up.”
Toledo plays at Florida again on Friday and Saturday.
The organization signed two defensemen and a forward today to fill the gaps on their roster left after a multitude of call ups to the American Hockey League.
Toledo agreed to terms with defensemen Dean Moore and Tyler Miller and Knowlton. All three were in the lineup tonight.
Knowlton and Miller have been playing for Pensacola in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
Knowlton, who has appeared in 15 ECHL games, has scored 15 goals with 13 assists in 26 games this season.
Miller, who has played in 22 games in the ECHL, has two goals this year with Pensacola.
Moore, who has spent the last few years playing hockey overseas, has appeared in three games in the ECHL.
The signings were necessary after Toledo lost six of its top 11 scorers to promotions to the AHL due to the resolution of the NHL lockout.
Toledo saw a three-game road winning streak snapped and fell to 10-8-1 away from home.
The Walleye return to the Huntington Center on Jan. 25 to host Kalamazoo.
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