TOLEDO, Ohio – Kyle Bonis and Gregor MacLeod each tallied a pair of goals as the Toledo Walleye routed the Fort Wayne Komets 7-1 on Friday before a sold-out crowd of 7,874 at the Huntington Center.
The Walleye (33-15-4-1) struck early in the contest with two goals 32 seconds apart, before breaking the game open by scoring four times in a 3:27 span late in the second stanza. At the other end, Billy Christopoulos turned aside all but one of the 38 shots he faced to garner third-star accolades as Toledo improved to 9-0 against Fort Wayne (27-22-6-2) this season.
MacLeod ended the night with two goals and a pair of assists, while Bonis showed two goals of his own along with an assist. Meanwhile, T.J. Hensick and Josh Kestner each dished out three helpers, as Shane Berschbach contributed a power play goal and an assist. In all, the Walleye finished 3-for-5 on the man advantage, while the Komets failed to score on three opportunities.
Bonis got the Walleye on the board first 3:12 into the opening period. After taking a pass from MacLeod at the Fort Wayne blue line, Hensick quickly sent the puck back toward the right point to MacLeod, who skated down to the right circle and backhanded a feed through the slot to Bonis for a one-timer into the top left corner.
The hosts needed all of 32 seconds to double their early advantage. Kestner worked his way to the lower edge of the left circle and sent the puck across the goal mouth to Nolan Gluchowski at the right side of the crease for a one-timer into an open cage.
Shawn Szydlowski got the Komets on the scoresheet with 8:52 gone in the first frame, but the Walleye padded their lead with a four-spot one period later. Although Toledo appeared to bungle a 2-on-0 in the Fort Wayne zone when Bonis nearly lost control of the puck at the left circle, he chipped a pass in front to Marcus Vela before the latter returned the bouncing puck to Bonis for a backhanded effort between the pads of Patrick Munson. The goal marked Bonis' 92nd in a Walleye uniform, passing current Komet A.J. Jenks for the third-most in franchise history.
Twenty-one ticks later, the Walleye were the owners of a commanding 4-1 lead. Bonis ripped a slapshot from the high slot that was fought off by Munson, but MacLeod gathered the rebound on his backhanded and chipped the puck over the sprawling Fort Wayne netminder.
MacLeod then added his second of the goal of the period on the power play at the 16:38 mark. Kestner sent a one-touch pass from the top of the left circle to MacLeod, who turned his body toward the net and snapped a shot in the high slot past a visibly frustrated Munson to make to a 5-1 game.
The Walleye tacked on another power play shortly after Brady Shaw, Fort Wayne's leading scorer, was called for boarding. Hensick’s rinkwide pass from the right point set up Josh Winquist at the top of the left circle for a sharp wrist shot that sailed past Munson’s catching glove and inside the right post at 18:50.
Toledo's five-goal lead widened on another power play goal with 1:10 left on the clock, as Berschbach put the cherry on top when he directed a rebound fromthe right circle past a sliding Cole Kehler, who came on in relief of Munson to begin the final frame.
Munson stopped 20-of-26 shots in a losing cause, before Kehler blocked 7-of-8 attempts over the final 20 minutes.What's Next:The Walleye return to the Huntington Center on Saurday for another battle against Fort Wayne. Game time is at 7:15 p.m.Three Stars:1. Toledo - Gregor MacLeod (two goals, two assists)2. Toledo - Kyle Bonis (two goals, assist)3. Toledo - Billy Christopoulos (W, 37 saves)