TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye defeated the Iowa Heartlanders, 4-3, Friday night to extend their win streak to three straight games in front of 7,584 fans at the Huntington Center.
Brandon Hawkins tallied a goal and assist on eleven shots while Max Milosek stopped 29 shots in this third straight win in net for the Fish. The Walleye improved to 23-8-2 on the season and are undefeated in regulation in their last eleven home contests.
The Walleye and Heartlanders each scored once in a penalty-filled first period. With 6:20 gone, Iowa’s Ben Sokay and Toledo’s Keeghan Howdeshell received penalties for hooking and diving/embellishment, respectively, sending the contest to a four-on-four. Carter Shinkaruk joined Sokay in the box at 7:16 for slashing, putting Toledo on the power play.
Iowa made it back to full strength without allowing a goal, but Brandon Hawkins quickly found the back of the net at the 10:32 mark to put the Walleye on the board. The unassisted goal was Hawkins’ seventh of the season.
The Fish sent two more skaters to the penalty box in the second half of the period, giving the Heartlanders two power play opportunities. The Walleye earned the penalty kill following Chris Martenet’s high-sticking minor at 11:24, but Iowa tied the contest 31 seconds after Brady Tomlak’s cross-checking minor. Jack Billings and Riese Zmolek assisted Zach White on the power play goal, and the Walleye and Heartlanders played out the final 4:15 of the period in a 1-1 tie. Toledo took 15 shots to Iowa’s four.
The Walleye regained the lead in the second period, scoring twice in two minutes to take the 3-1 advantage. Chris Martenet found the back of the net with 6:23 gone for his first goal of the season. Mitchell Heard and Brett Boeing collected the assists. Austin McIlmurray followed at 7:57 to score for the second time this season. TJ Hensick and Cole Fraser earned the helpers as the Walleye took their largest lead of the period.
With 12:23 gone, Kaid Oliver found the back of the net for the Heartlanders, trimming the Walleye’s lead to one. Jake Smith and Carter Shinkaruk assisted on the equal strength goal. Iowa outshot the Fish in the second period, 19-15.
The contest became increasingly chippy late in the second period as confrontations occurred on both sides of the ice. However, the period ended with neither team picking up a penalty, and the Walleye entered the final intermission with the 3-2 lead.
The Fish entered the third period looking to cushion their lead, and Brandon Schultz delivered, scoring off a well-placed pass from TJ Hensick to give Toledo the 4-2 lead. The goal was Schultz’s third of the season. Hensick’s second helper of the game marked his 40th point this season. Brandon Hawkins dished the other assist for his second point of the contest.
Butrus Ghafari picked up the first penalty since the 15:14 mark in the opening period, entering the penalty box for slashing with 5:40 gone. The Heartlanders wasted no time taking advantage of the power play opportunity, scoring just 16 seconds into the man advantage to come within one. Riese Zmolek scored the goal with assists from Kaid Oliver and Ben Sokay. Iowa scored on two of their three power play opportunities during the contest.
Iowa’s Jake Smith was called for delay of game with 16:20 gone, sending the Walleye to the power play for the second time in the game. The Heartlanders threatened, looking to score shorthanded to send the contest to overtime, but the Walleye earned the penalty kill to return to full strength with 2:40 left in regulation.
Corbin Kaczperski left Iowa’s net empty, bringing on the extra skater for the Heartlanders with 54 seconds left, but Toledo successfully defended their goal as game time expired to secure the 4-3 victory.
The Walleye held the 41-32 shot advantage over the course of the game, outshooting the Heartlanders by 11 in the opening period. The Heartlanders scored on two of their three power play opportunities while keeping Toledo out of the net on two power play chances.
Max Milosek earned his third straight victory for the Walleye, saving 29-of-32 shots to move to 4-2-0 for the Fish this season. Corbin Kaczperski recorded the loss for Iowa, making 37 saves on 41 shots.
The Walleye have the day off tomorrow before returning to the ice Sunday evening to take on the Fort Wayne Komets. Puck drop from the Huntington Center is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.
- Toledo – Brandon Hawkins (goal, assist)
- Iowa – Kaid Oliver (goal, assist)
- Toledo – Austin McIlmurray (goal)