KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Toledo Walleye erased a pair of one-goal deficits to force overtime, but Chris Collins tallied a power play goal with 1:08 remaining in the extra session to give the Kalamazoo Wings a 3-2 victory on Wednesday at Wings Event Center.
Kalamazoo (29-22-1-2) was handed a 4-on-3 power play just past the halfway point of overtime, as A.J. Jenks received an extra minor when he and Zach Diamantoni were both whistled for high-sticking. On the ensuing man advantage, Erik Kattelus had his effort from the high slot blocked by Kaden Fulcher’s right pad, but Collins had two chances to lift the rebound into the top left corner and ice the game with 68 seconds on the clock.
Despite the setback, the Walleye (31-14-5-3) have earned at least a point in each of their nine meetings this season against Kalamazoo, holding a 6-0-2-1 record over their Central Division rivals. Fulcher matched his career high with a 35-save performance, but was outdueled by Matiss Kivlenieks, who turned away 39-of-41 shots to pick up his second career ECHL win.
The Wings grabbed a 1-0 edge with a power play marker 8:43 into the opening period. Kattelus sent a pass from the right circle through the slot to Chad McDonald at the lower part of the left circle for a wrister into the top right corner.
Brenden Kotyk netted his second goal in three games to restore parity a period later. Hunter Smith’s effort from above the left circle hit the left skate of Kotyk, who spun around in the slot and chopped the loose puck into the top right corner at the 6:29 mark.
Tied 1-1 after 40 minutes, Kalamazoo outshot Toledo 9-0 to begin the third frame before reclaiming the lead with 12:20 left in regulation. Luke Sandler was brought to his knees after getting brought down by Ryan Obuchowski on an odd-man rush, but managed to place his shot through Fulcher’s five-hole.
The Walleye capitalized on their fourth and final power play chance to pull even 1:16 later. Exactly one minute into a Kattelus slashing minor, Jenks took a pass from Shane Berschbach in front and sent a no-look feed across the goal mouth to Trevor Hamilton at the left post for a one-timer into an open cage. For the fourth time this season – and third time in the last four head-to-head matchups – the Walleye and Wings needed more than three periods to decide a winner.
Toledo finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while Kalamazoo converted on 2-of-4 opportunities.
What’s Next:Toledo will begin a stretch of three home games against three divisional opponents on Friday, as the Walleye welcome the Wheeling Nailers to the Huntington Center for a 7:15 p.m. puck drop.
Three Stars:1. Kalamazoo – Chris Collins (overtime goal)2. Kalamazoo – Luke Sandler (goal)3. Kalamazoo – Matiss Kivlenieks (W, 39 saves)