TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye took the Kalamazoo Wings all the way to a shootout in Sunday night’s outdoor contest, but the Wings ultimately prevailed, 3-2, to halt the Walleye’s home win streak at six games.
Brady Tomlak and John Albert found the back of the net in the first and second period, respectively, while Billy Christopoulos made 34 saves in front of a Winterfest record 11,231 fans at Fifth Third Field. The Fish remain unbeaten in regulation in their last four contests, bringing their record to 16-6-2 with one game remaining in 2021.
While the Walleye and Wings played an even first period with 11 shots on goal each, it was the Wings who came away with the scoring advantage through one period, holding a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. Kalamazoo netted their first goal 1:14 into the contest as Collin Saccoman assisted Kyle Blaney on an equal strength goal. The Walleye evened the contest exactly eight minutes later on Brady Tomlak’s fifth goal of the season, with Conlan Keenan and Steve Oleksy picking up the assists. The K-Wings regained the lead at 13:17 on Erik Bradford’s goal, assisted by Max Humitz. The score put Kalamazoo up, 2-1, and the Wings led for the remainder of the period.
The Fish had one power play opportunity in the opening period, taking the man advantage at the 18:54 mark on a Justin Murray slashing penalty. The penalty carried over to the first 54 seconds of the second period, and Andrew DeBrincat joined Murray in the penalty box at 0:46 to give the Walleye a five-on-three advantage for eight seconds. With 2:35 gone in the second period, John Albert netted a power play goal to tie the contest at two goals each. Gordi Myer and Brett Boeing provided the assists.
With 14:42 gone, Butrus Ghafari was called for tripping, giving the Wings their first power play opportunity of the game. The Walleye earned the successful penalty kill, and Toledo and Kalamazoo played out the rest of the period in a 2-2 stalemate. The Walleye outshot the Wings, 13-10, in the frame.
The third period consisted of 20 minutes of scoreless hockey, sending the contest to overtime. The Walleye picked up two penalties in the final period of regulation but killed off both penalties to keep the score even.
Just 29 seconds into overtime, Kalamazoo’s Zach Jordan went to the penalty box for hooking, bringing a fourth skater on the ice for the Walleye. The Walleye could not score with the man advantage, finishing 1-for-3 on the power play during the contest. Kalamazoo threatened as overtime progressed, but Billy Christopoulos made a couple big saves to keep the Wings out of the net. Ultimately, neither team scored on seven shots each in the overtime period, sending the contest to a shootout.
Toledo’s Gordi Myer missed the first shot of the shootout while Kalamazoo’s Justin Taylor got the puck past Billy Christopoulos on the other end. The Walleye evened things up in the second round as Brandon Hawkins netted his shot while Max Humitz missed. Marcus Vela and Erik Bradford each found the back of the net in the third round, bringing Josh Dickinson and Matheson Iacopelli onto the ice. Dickinson missed his shot, while Iacopelli scored, giving the Wings the 3-2 shootout victory.
The Walleye outshot the Wings, 43-37, in the contest, including 25-18 between the second and third period. Both teams had three power play opportunities, with the Fish netting the only power play goal of the evening.
Kalamazoo’s Jet Greaves earned the victory in net for the Wings, making 41 saves on 43 shots while giving up two goals. Toledo’s Billy Christopoulos took the shootout loss in a 34-save performance. He extended his unbeaten in regulation streak to ten straight games (8-0-2). Christopoulos’ overall record falls to 10-2-2 through 14 games this season.
The Walleye will play their second and final Winterfest game on New Year’s Eve against the Indy Fuel. Puck drop from Fifth Third Field is set for 6 p.m.
- Toledo – Brady Tomlak (goal)
- Toledo – John Albert (power play goal)
- Toledo – Butrus Ghafari (+1)