TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye flexed their offensive muscle for the second time in as many nights on Saturday, earning a 5-2 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings before a sold-out crowd of 8,072 at the Huntington Center.
Josh Winquist was among three Walleye (9-5-1-0) skaters to notch multiple points as he registered a power play goal and an assist, while Justin Buzzeo added an even-strength goal and a helper. Fresh off a three-point performance against Fort Wayne the previous night, Abbott Girduckis earned first-star honors for the second consecutive contest as he also contributed a goal and an assist.
After the start of the game was delayed by 15 minutes as two of the three officials were stuck in traffic, the Walleye needed 4:16 to open the scoring on the power play. With two seconds remaining in a Yannick Veilleux high-sticking minor, Charle-Edouard D’Astous’ one-timer from the point was redirected in the slot by Winquist and crawled between the pads of Jake Hildebrand.
Toledo doubled its advantage with 9:21 gone in the first frame. Mark Auk threw the puck toward the net from the left point, and Marcus Vela was in the slot to redirect the shot out of mid-air and into the top right corner for his third goal of the campaign.
Kalamazoo (5-7-0-2) responded 53 seconds later when former Walleye Dylan Sadowy gained the puck near the left corner and centered a pass to Kyle Blaney, who guided a shot past Pat Nagle’s outstretched left pad. -
The Walleye restored their two-goal margin near the halfway point of regulation. Steve Oleksy retrieved Brett Boeing’s long pass in the right corner, and quickly centered the puck to Girduckis for a one-timer past Hildebrand’s blocker at 9:54 to become the first Toledo skater to reach double-digits this season.
Buzzeo padded the hosts’ lead moments later, as he scooped up a loose puck just inside the Kalamazoo line, before skating down to the left circle and placing a sharp wrist shot into the top left corner at the 14:49 mark.
With the Walleye still in front by a 4-1 count, Josh Kestner added his name to the scoresheet exactly three minutes into the final period. On an eventual 2-on-1, Winquist opted to backhand the puck over to Kestner, who eased his way around Hildebrand’s left pad and tucked a shot into an open cage.
The Wings tacked on a consolation goal with 11:03 remaining, as Chad McDonald’s wrist shot from near the top of the right circle sailed past a screened Nagle. The result improved Toledo to 4-0-1-0 on home ice, while Kalamazoo has failed to record a point in four road games to begin the 2019-20 season
The Walleye finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while the visitors did not score on a trio of opportunities. Nagle blocked 19-of-21 shots to improve to 9-3-1, as Hildebrand turned aside 25-of-30 in a losing cause.
What’s Next:The Walleye return to the road on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29-30 for a pair of matchups against the Reading Royals, Both games will start at 7 p.m.
Three Stars:1. Toledo – Abbott Girduckis (goal, assist)2. Toledo – Josh Winquist (power play goal, assist)3. Toledo – Justin Buzzeo (goal, assist)