Walleye’s Josh Kestner, Shane Berschbach go back-to-back

Andi Roman

Toledo Walleye forward Josh Kestner was named Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week for the week of December 30 through January 5.
The award came just a day after it was announced he is heading to the 2020 ECHL All-Star Game. Kestner joins teammate Shane Berschbach who took home the award the previous week. This is the first time in Toledo ECHL history (Storm and Walleye combined) they have won the award two consecutive weeks.
A seven-point (four goals, three assists) week for Kestner netted him the honors as he posted a pair of assists in Tuesday’s 8-4 win at Fort Wayne to open the week. The 26-year-old had a pair of goals in the Walleye 5-2 win over Kalamazoo on Friday plus a goal and an assist in Saturday’s loss to Indy. The week was capped when Kestner netted one of the three shorthanded goals Toledo scored in Sunday’s 8-1 win at Wheeling.
The native of Huntsville, Alabama is currently leading the Walleye in scoring with 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists) in only 32 games, while having at least one point in all but four of the 32 games he has played this season. Kestner is also tied for the team lead with a plus-17 rating.
On behalf of Kestner, a case of pucks will be donated to a Toledo youth hockey organization by Inglasco, the exclusive puck supplier of the ECHL. Since beginning its sponsorship of the award in 2000-01, Inglasco has donated more than 41,000 pucks to youth hockey organizations in ECHL cities.
Kestner has been selected to represent the Walleye at the All-Star Classic on Wednesday, January 22 at 8 p.m. at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas.
Kestner’s 38 points are tied for fifth among all ECHL players.. Kestner is currently on a run with 10 points (4G, 6A) over a seven game point streak, his second seven game point streak this year. Earlier this season, he posted a season high 11-game point streak from October 19 through November 15.
Berschbach was named ECHL Player of the Week for the week of December 26-29. It is the third time in his career that he has taken home the award with both of the previous times coming in the 2015-2016 season (January 4-10 and February 15-21).
The highlight of the week for Berschbach came Sunday night when the veteran posted his first career hat trick in Toledo’s 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones. He also collected an assist in that contest to go along with the helper he collected in Friday’s 2-1 win over Wheeling. The 28-year-old finished the week with a plus 5 rating with the five points.
The native of Clawson, Michigan is currently second to Kestner in scoring for the Walleye with 30 points (eight goals, 22 assists) and is tied for the team lead with a plus-13 rating. In a strong early December Berschbach had 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in just 12 contests. He already is the Walleye all-time leader in games played (346), points (360), assists (256) and ranks second in goals (104).
Following the format established last season in Toledo, the Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic will feature a 3-on-3 tournament with four teams competing for the top spot. The host Wichita Thunder will make up two of the four teams and face-off against the other two teams made up of All-Star players from the Eastern and Western Conference. These four teams will compete in a 3-on-3 tournament with rally scoring in order to crown a winner. The 2020 Kansas Star Casino/ECHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place in between rounds of the tournament, with results counting towards the cumulative score.
There have been 68 players from the ECHL All-Star Game have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 52 since 2002 when the lineups began having players who coaches felt were prospects to move up to a higher level.
The Wichita Thunder will host a draft party on Wednesday where the team will be split into Team Bolts and Team Hammers for the All-Star Classic.
In partnership with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, four members of the U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey Team will participate in the All-Star Classic as part of the PWHPA’s barnstorming “Dream Gap Tour” that is visiting several cities in Canada and the United States.
Taking part in the All-Star festivities will be three members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal squad – Dani Cameranesi, Kali Flanagan and Gigi Marvin – along with three-time World Champion Annie Pankowski. Each player will be assigned to one of the four All-Star Classic teams, as well as participating in the Kansas Star Casino/ECHL All-Star Skills Competition.
The 13th class of the ECHL Hall of Fame will be officially inducted at a banquet, presented by BFL Canada and Sutton Special Risk, on Tuesday, January 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview, the Official Host Hotel of the 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic.
For more information on the Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic and to purchase tickets, visit www.echlallstarclassic.com. For Walleye tickets, go to www.toledowalleye.com or call the box office at 419-725-9255.  (— Andi Roman/Toledo Walleye)


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