Atlanta was hoping to continue their recent success and carry over the momentum from Sunday's thrilling 7-6 win in Reading, PA. A season series victory over the Walleye and third straight win was in sight in front of a large education day crowd in Toledo, OH.
Atlanta scored first for an ECHL leading 12th time this season, 7:36 into the opening period. Shane Bakker earned his third point as a Gladiator when he found Blake Kessel at the right point. The Madison, WI native wound up and blasted a slap shot over the left should of Walleye goaltender, Jake Paterson. The only goal of the first period was the seventh point in Kessel's last four games and fifth tally of the season.
Toledo came out to start the second frame firing and tied the game at one just :50 seconds into the period. Dane Walters redirected a point shot from Jake MacDonald that was stopped by Gladiator netminder, Matt Ginn. With the rebound laying in the crease, Evan Rankin pushed the puck into the goal for his fourth score of the season.
The Walleye took their first lead of the game :48 seconds later. After a quick passing play between Shane Berschbach and A.J. Jenks behind the Atlanta net, Jenks sent a pass out front to an awaiting Matt Caito. The second-year pro chipped the disc over the glove hand of Ginn into the goal for his first tally of the season.
Toledo increased their lead to two goals 7:59 into the second period. Rankin came into his offensive zone on a 1-on-1 rush with speed. The Portage, MI native spun and twisted away from a Gladiator defender and lasered a back hand shot off the crossbar into the net. The second tally of the contest for Rankin gave him his second straight multi-goal game.
Rankin completed the hat trick at the 14:32 mark of the middle frame and put the Walleye up 4-1. Alden Hirschfeld stole the puck from the Gladiators as they tried to move out of their own end. Hirschfeld then threw a saucer pass to the right wing circle where Rankin wired a wrist shot past Ginn for his third tally of the period.
Brock Higgs scored his third goal of the season to bring the visitors back to within two early in the third. Eric Neiley and Justin Buzzeo jammed the puck into the Walleye crease. Higgs, after a flurry of shots that were stopped by Paterson, slid the puck between the legs of the second-year netminder making the score 4-2 in favor of Toledo just 1:17 into the third frame.
Toledo added an insurance score from Tylor Spink at the 14:50 mark of the final period. Tylor's twin brother Tyson Spink placed a cross-crease pass right on the fellow Colgate University product's tape. The slightly younger of the two brothers tapped in his sixth goal of the season and put his Walleye up 5-2.
The Walleye added a late 5-on-3 power play goal from Matt Santos and completed the 6-2 win over the Gladiators. With the loss, Atlanta dropped to 7-7-1-1 with 16 points but remain in second place in the South Division. Toledo improved their record to 10-3-0-0 with a point total of 20 with the victory on home ice.