The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel’s Blake Sebring duly notes that Toledo Walleye goaltender Pat Nagle will be battling his former team, the Fort Wayne Komets, in the second round of the ECHL playoffs:
Pat Nagle will approach this playoff series just like he approaches everything, calm, prepared and ready. His outlook will be just like it was in October when he became the Toledo Walleye’s No. 1 goaltender after playing three seasons in Fort Wayne.
“Obviously, it’s a change of pace with new scenery this year,” Nagle said. “Anytime you are getting a fresh start somewhere, it’s always good for you to come in and be humble and do your work at the rink and try to get some victories on the weekend.”
In other words, he won’t get too excited about the Komets and Walleye rivalry. That’s simply not how he lives. He always tries to remain stable while everything else may be falling apart around him, slowing things down to give his teammates confidence.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Obviously, I think this rivalry has always been a fun one. I would say it’s two of the top teams in the league every single year, with great fanbases, great rinks to play in and the atmosphere in both of them is awesome. It’s almost unfortunate that we have to play each other so soon, but that’s just the way the seedings are.”
Update: Here’s more on the alumni match-up from the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe:
Nagle, who is 4-0 in the Kelly Cup playoffs with a 1.79 goals-against average, will be between the pipes against his former teammates in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series on Saturday at the Huntington Center.
Embach, who played with Nagle in Fort Wayne the last three seasons, said he is looking forward to squaring off against so many familiar faces.
“You always want to beat your buddies in everything, right? You want to have the bragging rights,” Embach said. “So I will do anything and everything I can to make sure I’m the one smiling when we go through that handshake line at the end of the series.”
The Central Division rivals are meeting for the third time in the last four postseasons, and the teams have been on a crash course to another playoff meeting throughout the year.
Division champion Toledo (105 points) and the second-place Komets (98) pulled away from third-place Cincinnati (81) and fourth-place Indy (78), then in the first round of the playoffs the Walleye swept the Fuel and the Komets needed only five games to get by the Cyclones.
In 2015 and 2017, the Walleye eliminated Fort Wayne at the same point in the playoffs, winning the division finals and advancing to the conference finals. Nagle and Embach were both on the losing end in each of those series.
Update: Also, from Toledo’s 13 ABC’s Andi Roman:
Schedule for Best of Seven Series (All Times Eastern)
• Saturday, April 28 vs. Fort Wayne at 7:35 p.m. (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN)
• Sunday, April 29 vs. Fort Wayne at 5:15 p.m. (5 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN)
• Wednesday, May 2 at Fort Wayne at 7:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN)
• Friday, May 4 at Fort Wayne at 8:00 p.m. (8 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN)
• Saturday, May 7 vs. Fort Wayne at 7:35 p.m. (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN) *If Necessary
• Tuesday, May 8 at Fort Wayne at 7:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN) *If Necessary
• Wednesday, May 9 vs. Fort Wayne at 7:35 p.m. (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Radio 1230, BCSN) *If Necessary
CONFERENCE FINALS: Best-of-Seven Series | May 11 to May 23
KELLY CUP FINALS: Best-of-Seven Series | May 25 to June 6
2017-18 Regular Season Meetings vs. Fort Wayne
(Toledo record 2-5-1, 2-2-0 at Home, 0-3-1 at Fort Wayne)
• October 14, 2017 – Walleye lose 4-2 at Fort Wayne
• November 16, 2017 – Walleye win 6-3 in Toledo
• November 23, 2017 – Walleye lose 5-4 at Fort Wayne
• December 1, 2017 – Walleye 3-2 in a shootout at Fort Wayne
• December 6, 2017 – Walleye lose 5-2 in Toledo
• December 31, 2017 – Walleye lose 3-0 at Fort Wayne
• January 12, 2018 – Walleye win 3-1 in Toledo
• April 6, 2018 – Walleye lose 5-2 in Toledo
• Brooms out against Indy: In a series that was close (three games decided by a goal) the Walleye took care of Indy in short order, posting the first-ever sweep in Toledo Walleye history. The last time a Toledo team swept a team out the playoffs was in the 2006 Kelly Cup Playoffs when the then Toledo Storm defeated the Johnstown Chiefs three games to none in a best of five series.
• Winning series: With its win over Indy, Toledo has won at least a round in the playoffs in three of the last four years. In 2015, Toledo advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals and last year reaching the Western Conference Finals. Since the start of the 2015 playoffs, Toledo has a playoff record of 27-22.
• Leading the way: Both Kyle Bonis (3G, 5A) and Tyler Barnes (1G, 7A) are tied for the league lead with eight points each. The seven assists for Barnes is the most for any player so far in the playoffs. Christian Hilbrich is tied for the league with five goals in the playoffs. Both Austen Brassard (2G, 2A) and Simon Denis (1G, 3A) each posted four points in the series win over Indy. Goaltender Pat Nagle allowed just nine goals in four games vs. Indy for a 1.79 goals against average and a .942 save percentage.
• Welcome in a Close Friend/Foe: The closest rivals in the ECHL (106 miles from Huntington Center to Memorial Coliseum) meet for the third time in the last four years during the postseason. Toledo took the previous meetings first during the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs in seven games to advance to the then Eastern Conference Finals and then in five games last year to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
• Stats during the Year: Toledo finished the regular season with a record of 2-5-1 (2-2-0 at the Huntington Center and 0-3-1 at Fort Wayne), and were outscored 29-21 in the season series. The total shots were fairly even with Toledo having 236 on Fort Wayne and the Komets with 243 on Toledo. The Walleye power play was 4-31 (12.9%) against Fort Wayne during the regular season while Toledo’s penalty kill stopped 16 of 17 power plays (94.1%). The two teams finished as the top two in attendance during the regular season (Fort Wayne 7,784 and Toledo 7,600).