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Walleye set single-season sellout record in loss to Wings

Sunday, March 31st
Walleye set single-season sellout record in loss to Wings

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye set a new franchise record with their 29th sellout of the season, but the capacity crowd of 8,203 saw the hosts fall to the Kalamazoo Wings in a 3-0 decision on Saturday at the Huntington Center.

Ivan Kulbakov stopped all 27 shots he faced to pick up his first professional shutout, while Pat Nagle turned away 28-of-30 as his record dropped to 5-1-1 this season against Kalamazoo (35-28-2-3). The Walleye (37-21-6-3), who also extended a team high by selling out their 14th consecutive game, finished 7-2-2-1 against the Wings in the regular season series.

The visitors failed to score on a four-minute power play during a scoreless opening period, but broke the deadlock 1:25 into the second frame. A Chris Collins face-off win set up Jimmy Mullin at the top of the right circle for a hard wrist shot between Nagle’s blocker and pad.

The Walleye continued to generate changes throughout the contest, only for Kalamazoo to grab a 2-0 lead with 5:48 to go in the third. Nagle used his left pad to block Kyle Bushee’s shot from the left point, but Kyle Blaney was stationed in front to place the rebound into an open cage.  One final glimmer of hope arrived for Toledo when Chad McDonald was whistled for cross-checking with 3:34 remaining in regulation, but the home team could not respond on the power play before Luke Sandler added an empty-netter with 28.2 seconds on the clock. 

Both sides finished 0-for-2 on the man advantage.

What’s Next:The Walleye conclude their five-game home stand on Sunday as they welcome the Cincinnati Cyclones to the Huntington Center for a 5:15 p.m. puck drop.

Three Stars:1. Kalamazoo – Ivan Kulbakov (SO, 27 saves)2. Kalamazoo – Jimmy Mullin (goal)3. Kalamazoo – Kyle Blaney (goal)

Fish Tales:• Prior to Saturday's game, the Walleye signed goaltender Jeff Lerg as the team’s emergency backup. The 32-year-old ranks among the franchise leaders with 5,449 minutes (1st), 2,459 saves (1st), 92 appearances (1st), 63 wins (2nd), seven shutouts (2nd), a 2.33 GAA (3rd), and a 0.921 save percentage (3rd).• Toledo's yellow game-worn helmets were raffled off during Saturday's contest, raising $3,640 for W.A.G.S. 4 Kids (Working Animals Giving Service for Kids) and the Walleye Wishing Well.

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