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Walleye ground Wings, 6-4, in back-and-forth contest

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Toledo Walleye scored three goals in the third period, outshooting the Kalamazoo Wings, 20-5, in the frame to capture a 6-4 victory in the Wings Event Center on Friday night.

The Walleye outshot the Wings, 38-30, in the final game of their season-opening road trip to even the season series with Kalamazoo. Toledo moves to 4-1-0-0 on the season and currently holds a four-game winning streak ahead of their home opener tomorrow night.

The Walleye scored just 21 seconds into the game and never relinquished the lead, repeatedly denying Kalamazoo the opportunity to stay tied for more than a couple minutes. Josh Dickinson gave the Walleye their first lead of the night on the assist from Cole Fraser and Keeghan Howdeshell. A back-and-forth period with eight shots on goal for each team kept the score at 1-0 for the Walleye heading into the first intermission.

Kalamazoo’s Raymond Brice tied the game at the 8:29 mark in the second period, but Marcus Vela had other ideas, scoring just 1:01 later to put Toledo up, 2-1. Dickinson and Howdeshell assisted on the goal, which marked Vela’s fifth in as many games. Following Vela’s goal, over nine minutes went by without a goal on either side.

The next 5:30 of game time across the second and third periods saw the puck enter the net five times between Toledo and Kalamazoo. The K-Wings netted a goal, courtesy of Greg Betzold, with 1:11 remaining in the second period, tying the game at two apiece. Blake Hillman prevented the Walleye from entering the second intermission without the lead, finding the back of the net with 43 seconds left in the period on assists by Matt Berry and Randy Gazzola.

Jake Slaker tied the game for the Wings exactly one minute into the third period, but Dickinson responded with his second goal of the night to give the Walleye the one-point advantage. TJ Hensick scored the deciding goal at the 4:19 mark to put Toledo up, 5-3. Kalamazoo’s Betzold recorded his second goal of the game with 7:12 remaining in regulation to close the gap, but Matt Berry provided an insurance goal for the Walleye with 2:01 left, scoring for the second time this season.

The Wings ended the game on the power play following multiple roughing calls on both sides, but they were unable to get the puck past Billy Christopoulos on the other end despite emptying their own net in the final minutes. Christopoulos stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced, picking up his second win of the season to move to 2-1.

Both teams failed to convert on the power play in the contest, with Toledo receiving three opportunities and Kalamazoo earning two.

What’s Next:

The Walleye return to the Huntington Center for their first regular season home game in 605 days when they complete their home-and-home series with the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday, Nov. 6. Puck drop from Toledo is set for 7:15 p.m.

Three Stars:

  1. Toledo – Josh Dickinson (two goals, assist)
  2. Kalamazoo – Greg Betzold (two goals)
  3. Toledo – TJ Hensick (game-winning goal, assist)