The Toledo Walleye open their second-round series against the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday night, and the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe spoke with the Walleye’s players and coach regarding the match-up:
Both teams had a full week of practice and time to rest after ousting their first-round opponents. Toledo swept Indy, while Fort Wayne eliminated Cincinnati in five games. But each was a hard-fought series, with two games going to overtime in each series.
“Both teams found ways to get through them to get some days off to rest. I think both teams will be very excited coming into Saturday night,” [Pat] Nagle said. “It’s almost unfortunate that we meet so early in playoffs.”
[Tyler] Barnes has a team-high seven assists, which is the most for any player in the playoffs. Forward Christian Hilbrich is tied for the league lead with five goals in the playoffs. Forward Austen Brassard and defenseman Simon Denis, with three assists, posted four points against Indy.
“It’s a different mentality,” Brassard said. “Playoffs are the time of year that really count, so it’s important to play your role and work hard and do whatever you can to help the team out.”
Fort Wayne forward Gabriel Desjardins scored two goals and had seven assists against the Cyclones, and he leads the ECHL in playoff scoring. Rookie Phelix Martineau had four goals and three assists. Goalie Michael Houser went 4-1 with a 2.56 goals-against average.
Nagle, who earned All-ECHL second-team honors in the regular season and ranks sixth in the league with a 1.79 GAA in the playoffs, said the Huntington Center and Memorial Coliseum are “equally tough” venues.
Game 2 also will be at the Huntington Center at 5:15 p.m. Sunday, with the series shifting to Indiana for Games 3 and 4 next week.