KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Toledo Walleye outshot the Kalamazoo Wings, 35-25, during Saturday night’s season-opening match, but the hosts took advantage of a four-goal opening period to down the Walleye, 5-2, at the Wings Event Center.
The Walleye opened their 2021-22 season in front of 4,509 fans in Kalamazoo, holding the hosts scoreless for the final 39:55 of the game behind Kaden Fulcher’s 14 saves. However, Toledo was unable to trim a three-goal deficit as Kalamazoo’s Trevor Gorsuch tallied 34 saves.
Six of the contest’s seven goals were scored in the opening period, beginning with a shorthanded goal from Kalamazoo’s Erik Bradford with just 14 seconds left in a Toledo power play. The K-Wings followed up less than a minute later with an equal strength goal from Max Humitz, extending their lead to 2-0 with just 4:46 gone in the period.
Kalamazoo’s Zach Jordan received a tripping penalty at the 10:31 mark in the first frame, and Gordi Myer immediately capitalized on the opportunity, netting Toledo’s first goal of the season on an assist from Billy Christopoulos. John Albert followed up with a goal of his own just 35 seconds later, tying the score at two apiece with 11:25 gone.
Toledo’s lead was short lived, as Kalamazoo’s Brenden Miller netted the puck at the 12:49 mark. Humitz found the back of the net for the second time with five seconds remaining in the period, leaving the Walleye down, 4-2, heading into the first intermission.
After Kalamazoo scored their fifth goal of the night just 55 seconds into the second frame, Kaden Fulcher entered the game for the Walleye. He held the Wings scoreless for the remainder of the game, saving all 14 shots that came his way in 39 minutes of action.
Toledo outshot Kalamazoo, 29-15, over the last two frames, but the two teams remained in a stalemate for the remainder of regulation, ultimately sealing the victory for the K-Wings. The Walleye spent two minutes on the power play early in the second period but were unable to capitalize on their scoring opportunities over the final 40 minutes.
The Walleye went 1-for-3 on the power play while Kalamazoo was unable to convert on its lone opportunity. Fulcher (14-of-14) and Christopolous (7-of-12) combined for 21 saves on the night.
The Walleye will head to Coralville, Iowa, to take on the Iowa Heartlanders on Friday, Oct. 29. Puck drop at Xtream Arena is set for 8 p.m.
- Kalamazoo – Trevor Gorsuch (W, 34 saves)
- Kalamazoo – Max Humitz (two goals)
- Kalamazoo – Erik Bradford (shorthanded goal)