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With four lead changes, momentum and emotions swung at the Huntington Center on Sunday and ultimately ended in frustration for the Walleye.
Trenton's Stephen Schultz tallied a hat trick, including the game winner with 2:17 left in overtime as the Titans beat Toledo 5-4.
Nino Musitelli scored twice and Trevor Parkes remained hot for Toledo (31-20-9) with three points, but the Walleye have now lost eight straight games that have gone to overtime.
“Hockey is an emotional game,” Walleye captain Kyle Rogers said. “It was a hard game. We fought. We should have taken the two points but we had a couple of breakdowns. And that is frustrating.”
Toledo trailed 3-2 early in the third when Musitelli tied it on a rebound goal. Rogers put Toledo ahead on an assist from Randy Rowe with 9:39 left.
Trenton knotted it back up on Schultz's second of the game with 3:16 left. The contest, which featured 81 shots, then went to overtime where Schultz ended it before a crowd of 6,892 at the Huntington Center.
The Walleye earned four out of an available eight points in the last four games played over five days. They went 1-1-2 in the stretch. With 12 games left in the regular season, Toledo is right in the thick of the playoff race.
“We looked at this four-game stretch and we were worried about it,” coach Nick Vitucci said. “To get four out of eight is average. But maybe average is good enough now the way the standings are.”
The Walleye scored first but the Titans reeled off three unanswered goals in the second period.
Parkes, who had a hat trick in Toledo's 7-1 win on Saturday, put his team on the board first with 5:50 left in the first period.
After Trenton scored three goals in a 15-minute span, Musitelli cut the lead to 3-2 late in the second period. Parkes also had two assists.
Goalie Kent Simpson, who finished with 37 saves, had a huge stop with 6:47 left in regulation and another with 3:39 left in OT.
Toledo is 2-9 in games that have gone to overtimes or shootouts.
“Overtime hasn't been good to us all year,” Vitucci said. “Maybe we are a little tentative.”
Emotions peaked in the second period when Phil Rauch was issued a four-minute, double-minor penalty for high sticking. It led to two power play goals for the Titans.
“We were frustrated with that,” Vitucci said. “The guy wasn't bleeding. The ref said he lost teeth but he had teeth missing anyway. It ended up with two pucks in our net. But we played hard in the third period and we erased that deficit.”
Down 3-1, Toledo scored just seconds into a power play as Musitelli beat Brooks Ostergard (35 saves) on a great assist from the side of the net from Joey Martin.
“The four minute penalty hurt us a lot,” Musitelli said. “But that is the way the game goes sometimes. We battled back.”
Rogers beat Ostergard through his legs to give the Walleye a 4-3 lead with 9:39 left. Hard work from Rowe behind the net set up the go-ahead goal.
Musitelli's second of the game came after Byron's Froese's shot hit the cross bar. Both of Musitelli's goals came on the power play as the Walleye went 2 of 4.
Toledo has suddenly found success on the power play with eight goals in the last 23 chances. Vitucci has five forwards playing when his team has the man advantage.
“It's going well,” Vitucci said. “Even when it wasn't going, we were still generating chances. You worry about it when your not creating chances. Now pucks are going in.”
The Walleye are at Cincinnati on Friday and at Kalamazoo on Saturday.
“We need the points,” Musitelli said. “Everyone will think about this one. But you can't dwell on it too much. There is still a lot of hockey to play. We have a big weekend coming up.”
FISH TALES: Toledo has six more home games. … Toledo is now in fifth in the Eastern Conference. The top eight teams make the playoffs. …. American Idol star Crystal Bowersox sang the national anthem. … The organization celebrated “Pink in the Rink” weekend and breast cancer survivors were recognized during the game. … Walleye have outscored their opponents 83-58 in the third period.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.