The Walleye's Joe Sova stands amidst stuffed bears that were thrown onto the ice as part of Teddy Bear Toss night on Saturday.
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Goals in bunches were just what the doctor ordered for a struggling Toledo Walleye club on Saturday night.
The Walleye erupted for four goals in the second period to break a four-game losing streak. Toledo trailed Evansville 1-0 after one period before a sellout crowd at the Huntington Center. But the Walleye exploded in the second period and skated away with a 6-2 victory.
Walleye defensemen C.J. Chartrain and Joe Sova scored to overcome the one-goal deficit. And then forwards Kevin Lynch and Trevor Parkes scored just 27 seconds apart as Toledo seized a 4-2 lead late in the middle period.
Louis-Marc Aubry gave the Walleye insurance with his first goal in a Toledo uniform with 11:12 left in the game. Just 42 seconds later Parkes scored his second of the night for a 6-2 cushion.
Parkes, the team's leading scorer, tallied his ninth and 10th goals and added his seventh assist.
“This game was huge for us and getting those goals in bunches got the momentum going,” Parkes said. “This was a big step for us coming together.”
Walleye rookie goalie Jared Coreau earned his first win as a professional and finished with 42 saves.
“It's hard to describe. It's a weight off my shoulders,” Coreau said. “It was getting pretty tough. I started to doubt my abilities. But I knew it was going to turn over. I came ready tonight.”
Ten Walleye players recorded points and four had multiple points.
“It's been a struggle. This was a gut check,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “That's a very good hockey team over there. I thought we had an inspired effort from start to finish. The guys grinded it out all night. This gives a few days of feeling good.”
Toledo was without captain Kyle Rogers, who is out with a lower body injury. Rogers' absence is significant because he had played in 225 straight games in a Walleye uniform without missing a start.
Evansville (8-2-3) lost for just the second time this season and outshot the Walleye 44-35.
The Walleye's Alden Hirschfeld dives to get to the puck before Evansville's Nathan Moon.
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Chartrain scored on a nice assist from Lynch as the pair were on a three-on-one breakaway with Martin Frk to tie it at 1.
Toledo took a 2-1 lead on Sova's goal that came just 2:40 later on an assist from Frk. Sova now has two goals and three assists is six games for Toledo since being signed on Nov. 6.
The IceMen evened it up as Matt Schepke scored while the teams were skating four on four.
But Lynch scores on an assist from Daniel Koger to give the Walleye a 3-2 lead with 9:01 left in second period.
Parkes scored less than 30 seconds later as he tipped in a shot from the point by Max Nicastro.
Toledo's quick two-goal outburst in the second came just after Toledo's Stephen Thorne (6-0, 180) took on Sawyer Hannay (6-4, 210) in a fight as soon as both stepped out of the penalty box.
“Everyone was excited when Thorne did that,” Vitucci said. “He is going to grind and battle for us. We rebounded with two goals right after that and you have to look at that as a turning point.”
Evansville took a 1-0 lead 13:43 into the first period on Josh Beaulieu's goal. Bealieu was able to backhand his own rebound past Coreau.
Hundreds of stuffed animals then were hurled on to the ice on Teddy Bear Toss night. The only problem was that Toledo's goal was disallowed because the net was off its moorings with 4:10 left in the period.
Evansville goalie Mike Clemente appeared to knock off the net just before Lous-Marc Aubry scored. The fans celebrated as the ref waved off goal.
Aubry was assigned to Toledo on Thursday from Grand Rapids of the AHL.
The Walleye (5-6-2) had fallen into last place in the ECHL North Division with four straight losses.
Toledo has two home games against South Carolina this week. The Walleye host the Stingrays on Wednesday and Friday.
Coreau made 10 saves in the first, 17 in the second, and 15 in the third.
“Once we got the third and fourth goals, the fans were doing a great job. The guys were excited,” Coreau said. “We were rolling then and couldn't be stopped.”
Parkes nearly got a hat trick in the waning moments but was more pleased with the team's win and for Coreau.
“He is going to be a really good goalie in time,” Parkes said. “There are many more to come.”
FISH TALES: In a charity game prior to the Walleye contest, the Toledo Police Department defeated the Toledo Fire Department 8-5. Former Storm defenseman Jason Gladney scored for the cops.
Barry Smith, the ex-Red Wings assistant coach, was in attendance. Smith is the Chicago Blackhawks' director of player development.