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Toledo spoils St Patrick's Day for Atlanta. The Walleye's 3 unanswered 2nd period goals are the difference in their 3-2 victory over the Gladiators

Preview: Toledo Walleye (36-14-4-5/81 points/3rd place in the Western Conference) vs Atlanta Gladiators (20-37-3-1/44 points/14th place in the Eastern Conference)

As the regular season for the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) gets closer to winding down, the remaining games are of significance for all teams. Ranging from competing for an elusive playoff spot (Toledo) or focusing on closing out the season on a positive note (Atlanta), both teams come into today's St Patrick Day's special (3pm at the Gas South District) with something to play for.

The Walleye looks to leading scorers Brandon Hawkins (36 goals/43 assists/79 points) and Trenton Bliss (22 goals/38 assists/60 points) to lead the team against Gladiators' goalie Josh Boyko (2-5, 3.60 GAA, and an .895 save percentage). On the flipside, Atlanta looks to get their 11 win at home for the season as they are led on offense by Jackson Pierson (14 goals/23 assists/37 points) and Reece Vitelli (10 goals/27 assists/37 points). They'll look to make it a tough time for Toledo goalie John Lethemon (21-7, 3.12 GAA, and an .883 save percentage).

Game recap: The Walleye hold off the Glads' late rally to win 3-2

The Gladiators would take a 1-0 lead in the 1st period (9:11) thanks to Seth Benson's 1st goal of the season (assisted by Nolan Burke and Mitch Walinski).

However, momentum shifts swiftly in the 2nd period.

Toledo's 3-unanswered goals provide breathing room between them and Atlanta. Riley Sawchuk would score twice in the period (3:20 and 6:32); his first goal is unassisted and his second goal is assisted by Mitchell Lewandowski and Michael Prapavessis.

The 3rd goal of the period would be scored by Trenton Bliss (23rd of the season, assisted by Brandon Hawkins and Michael Prapavessis.

The Glads would make it interesting in the 3rd period, as a late goal by Jackson Pierson (15th, assisted by Carson Gicewicz and Reece Vitelli) gives the team a late chance with 21 seconds remaining in the game (19:39). They would have a late power play opportunity, but Toldeo would hold on for the 3-2 win.

The Walleye's John Lethemon saves 31 of 33 shots (as Atlanta outshoots Toledo) in the win, despite the Glads' excellence in the power play (Atlanta is 1 for 2 while Toledo is 0 for 4). Atlanta's Josh Boyko saves 24 of 27 shots in a spirited effort by the team.

For post-game, Atlanta's Seth Benson takes time to share his reflections ranging from adjustments the team can make going into their remaining games, to the team's overall chemistry and work ethic during the season (you may watch the full interview below):

Notes: All photos and video are recorded by CCSLLC (click HERE to subscribe to the 2023-24 season playlist).


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