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Hensick scores a pair, but Walleye fall to Wings in OT

Saturday, February 15th
Hensick scores a pair, but Walleye fall to Wings in OT

KALAMAZOO, Mich.T.J. Hensick tallied a pair of goals for the Toledo Walleye on Friday, but the Kalamazoo Wings rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit to force overtime before Justin Taylor scored 2:23 into the extra session to clinch a 4-3 result at Wings Event Center.

Despite the overtime setback, the Walleye (28-13-4-1) have moved within five points of first-place Cincinnati in the Central Division standings with five games in hand, as the Cyclones fell 5-3 at home to Wheeling. In all, Toledo owns a combined 16-1-1 record against Cincinnati, Fort Wayne and Kalamazoo this season, along with a 5-2 mark over the Nailers following seven head-to-head meetings.

Erik Kattelus opened the scoring for Kalamazoo (19-22-6-1) on his team's first power play chance 5:26 into the contest. The Walleye pulled even moments later as Gregor MacLeod answered with his third goal in four games at the 10:45 mark of the same period.

Toledo then seized a 2-1 lead with a power play goal of its own during the second stanza. Exactly one minute after Kalamazoo blueliner Ian Edmundson was penalized for delay of game, Hensick netted his 11th goal of the campaign at the 12:32 mark.

The Walleye doubled its lead early in the third period as the battle between the division rivals became increasingly chippy. With both teams skating four aside, Hensick buried his second goal of the game past Jake Kielly to build a 3-1 cushion with 17:40 to go in the frame.

The hosts responded by scoring on their first shot of the third period. Josh Tevez, who played one game for the Vancouver Canucks during the 2018-19 season after a four-year spell at Princeton University, notched his first professional goal to cut Toledo’s lead to 3-2 with 14:06 remaining in the third. Kattleus then added his second power play goal of the night with 8:54 left in regulation to salvage a point for the Wings, who fell at home to the Walleye in extra time by a 4-3 count on Oct. 29, 2019.

Kalamazoo then completed its comeback bid with 4:37 to play in the extra frame. After taking a behind-the-back pass from Matt VanVoorhis in neutral ice, Taylor gained the Toledo zone with a burst of speed and got behind Kevin Spinozzi in the slot, before moving to his backhand and guiding a breakaway effort between the pads of Billy Christopoulos.

Kalamazoo finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while Toledo converted on 1-of-5 opportunities. Kielly stopped 35-of-38 shots – including all three Walleye attempts in overtime – to earn third-star honors, as Christopoulos turned away 19-of-23.

What’s Next:The Walleye return to the Huntington Center on Saturday for the first of two straight matchups against the Idaho Steelheads. Game time is set for 7:15 p.m.

Three Stars:1. Kalamazoo – Justin Taylor (overtime goal)2. Kalamazoo – Eric Kattelus (two power play goals)3. Kalamazoo – Jake Kielly (W, 35 saves) 

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