TOLEDO, Ohio – Dylan Sadowy’s first-period hat trick propelled the Toledo Walleye to a 5-3 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings on Sunday before a capacity crowd at the Huntington Center.
The 7,779 in attendance were quickly brought to their feet, as Sadowy netted back-to-back power play goals 1:32 and 9:30 into the contest, before completing his first professional three-goal performance with an even-strength marker at 14:08. Meanwhile, Matt Register netted what proved to be the game-winning goal to go with an earlier assist, while Bryan Moore contributed a pair of helpers.
With the win, the Walleye (30-14-4-3) improved to 6-0-1-1 against Kalamazoo (26-21-1-2) in the regular season series, and ended the surging Wings’ eight-game point streak (7-0-1-0). Pat Nagle turned aside 25-of-28 shots to raise his record to 4-1-2 over his last eight appearances.
The Walleye took advantage of an early power play to grab a 1-0 lead just 92 seconds in. Sadowy was one of two Toledo skaters positioned in front of Jake Hildebrand when he tipped Register’s point shot into the top right corner.
Ranked 11th in the ECHL entering play, Toledo’s power play capitalized on its next opportunity with 9:30 gone in the first frame. From his own blue line, Ben Danford stretched a pass to Sadowy, who gained the Kalamazoo zone and fired a wrist shot from the left dot inside the far post.
The Walleye overwhelmed the visitors throughout the opening stanza, building up a 3-0 cushion with 5:52 to play. While Sadowy was unable to convert on Ryan Obuchowski’s shot off the end boards, he circled behind the Kalamazoo net and flipped a backhanded effort into the roof of the goal. That proved to be the end of the night for Hildebrand, who was replaced by Cleveland Monsters loanee Matiss Kivlenieks.
Kalamazoo responded with a shorthanded goal later in the same period, as Kyle Thomas slid his breakaway attempt between Nagle’s pads with 12.7 ticks left in the first.
After evading Greg Wolfe at the right point, Erik Kattelus set up Kyle Blaney for a redirection in front to cut Toledo’s lead to 3-2 at the 3:51 mark of the second. However, the Walleye restored their two-goal margin 1:03 later when Register blasted a slapshot from the left point through traffic and past the catching glove of Kivlenieks.
The Wings moved back within a goal on the power play with 8:04 to go in regulation when Kattelus one-timed a shot from the point that ricocheted inside the left post. The Toledo bench was assessed a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct following the goal, but the hosts managed to preserve their slim lead.
A.J. Jenks notched a power play tally of his own to put the game beyond any doubt. Shane Berschbach freed the puck to Wolfe at the bottom of the right circle, before the latter sent the puck across to Jenks for his 14th goal of the campaign with 1:08 remaining.
Toledo finished 3-for-5 on the man advantage, while Kalamazoo cashed in on one of eight opportunities. Hildebrand blocked 13-of-16 shots, but Kivlenieks was credited with the loss in his ECHL debut after turning away 21-of-23 in relief.
What’s Next:The Walleye return to action with a pair of road tilts against the Kansas City Mavericks on Wednesday and Friday. Both games start at 8:05 p.m. EST.
Three Stars:1. Toledo – Dylan Sadowy (hat trick)2. Toledo – Matt register (game-winning goal, assist)3. Toledo – Bryan Moore (two assists)