ESTERO, Fla. - The Walleye jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over Florida Friday night but the Everblades rallied with three unanswered goals to rally for the home win.
Toledo scored just 23 seconds into the game and added another less than three minutes later. But Florida got on the board with a goal in the second and then scored two more in the third to rally for a 3-2 victory.
Doug Clarkson scored on assists from Stephon Thorne and Phil Oreskovic to make it 1-0 just 23 seconds into the contest. Defenseman Olivier Dame-Malka then gave Toledo a 2-0 lead on assists from Travis Novak and Randy Rowe.
Toledo outshot Florida 40-27, including 19-4 in the opening period. But Florida goalie Pat Nagle proved to be the difference, making 38 saves on 40 shots.
“We needed to get our offense going tonight,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “To do that we stressed getting pucks deep and being aggressive. We did that for the most part, we just couldn’t get that third goal.”
Walleye goalie Kent Simpson (7-8-3) gave up three goals and finished with 24 saves in a chippy game that included 46 penalty minutes.
Clarkson scored in his second consecutive game. It was Malka's first goal in a Walleye uniform after being acquired in a trade last month.
Toledo went 0 of 3 on the power play, while the Everblades were 1 of 4 with the man advantage.
The teams meet again today at 7 p.m. in Florida.
The Walleye (19-15-4) will return home on Jan. 25 against Kalamazoo.