KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Western Conference champion Toledo Walleye tallied three power play goals en route to a 6-2 victory in their preseason opener against the Kalamazoo Wings on Friday at Wings Event Center.
Josh Kestner put the Walleye in front for good with a power play goal in addition to a pair of assists, while Zack Phillips added a shorthanded marker before dishing out two helpers. Brett Boeing and Tyler Spezia each recorded a power play goal and an assist, while Abbott Girduckis bookended the scoring. In all, Toledo finished 3-for-6 on the man advantage, while Kalamazoo converted on one of five opportunities.
The Walleye carried the play to begin the contest, and were rewarded 9:52 into the opening period when Girduckis jammed a rebound past Jake Hildebrand to give the visitors a 1-0 edge. The 6-foot-2 forward notched five points (3-2-5) in seven games with Toledo at the tail end of the 2018-19 campaign after completing his collegiate career at R.I.T.
Kalamazoo evened the score on a 5-on-3 power play at the 11:51 mark of the first frame, but the Walleye reclaimed the lead with a shorthanded goal 1:06 later. After Cory Dunn’s stick broke when he attempted a one-timer, Phillips capped an odd-man rush at the other end by placing a shot under the crossbar.
The Wings restored parity for a second time with 4:17 gone the middle period, but the Walleye jumped back in front on the second half of a double-minor moments later. While Zane Jones served four minutes for a high-sticking infraction, Spezia and Phillips combined to set up Kestner in front at 8:23 to lift Toledo to a 3-2 lead.
The Walleye continued to capitalize on Kalamazoo’s lack of discipline, as Spezia added a power play goal of his own when he slid a shot through Hildebrand’s five-hole at the 13:35 mark to extend the margin to 4-2 heading into the second intermission.
Cody Sol marked his first appearance in a Walleye uniform by dropping the gloves against Kalamazoo rookie Garrison Sanipass nearly three minutes into the final stanza. Moments later, the visitors added their third and final power play goal of the night when Boeing redirected a shot past Hildebrand at 5:56. With Toledo ahead by a 5-2 count, the Wings opted to pull Hildebrand in the latter stages, only for Girduckis to bury his second goal of the contest into the vacated net with exactly 60 seconds to play.
Kaden Fulcher stopped 26-of-28 shots to earn the win, while Hildebrand turned away 26-of-31 in a losing cause.
What’s Next:The Walleye return to the Huntington Center on Saturday to wrap up their preseason home-and-home set with Kalamazoo. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.