TOLEDO, OH. – The Toledo Walleye scored two goals in the first 90 seconds of the second period, the latter of which proved to be the game-winner, as Toledo topped Colorado 4-2 in Game One of the Western Conference Finals on Friday. Eagles forwards Darryl Bootland and Alex Belzile accounted for Colorado’s goals in the contest. The win now gives Toledo a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Colorado notched the game’s first goal when Bootland gathered a loose puck in the low slot and fed it into the back of the net to put the Eagles on top 1-0 with 1:57 remaining in the first period.
The Walleye would fight back with a quick response, as forward Alden Hirschfeld corralled a pass from behind the net and tapped it home to knot the game at 1-1 with just 20 seconds left in the opening frame.
A penalty to defenseman Teigan Zahn late in the first period would give Toledo a power play to open up the middle frame and they would capitalize, as forward Dane Walters finished a chance down low to give the Walleye the 2-1 lead just 29 seconds into the second period.
Toledo’s advantage would grow to 3-1 less than a minute later when a shot from the shortside post from forward A.J. Jenks beat Eagles goalie Kent Simpson at the 1:33 mark of the second period.
The Eagles would finally put the brakes on three straight goals from the Walleye, as Belzile tracked down a centering feed on top of the crease and forced it past Toledo goalie Jeff Lerg to cut the Walleye edge to 3-2 with 2:28 remaining in the second period of play.
Colorado would generate several quality scoring chances in the third period and would ultimately pull Simpson in favor of the extra attacker. The move would, however, lead to an empty-netter for forward Shane Berschbach with 53 seconds remaining in regulation, sealing the 4-2 victory for the Walleye.
Simpson suffered the loss in net, stopping 24 of 27 shots in the contest. Lerg collected the win by turning aside 30 of Colorado’s 32 shots on goal. The Eagles finished the evening going 0-for-3 on the power play, while surrendering one goal on Toledo’s four opportunities on the man-advantage.
The Eagles return to action when they face the Toledo Walleye in Game Two of the ECHL Western Conference Finals on Saturday, May 13th at 5:35pm MT at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.
Tickets for all third round games are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Budweiser Events Center box office, online at ColoradoEagles.com or by calling the Eagles ticket office at (970) 686-SHOT (7468).