TOLEDO, Ohio – Brandon Hawkins and Patrick Curry each found the back of the net twice and three players collected multiple assists as the Toledo Walleye used a high-powered offense to earn a 7-3 victory over the Idaho Steelheads Saturday evening.
The Walleye used a three-goal outburst late in the second period to break a 3-3 tie, never looking back to earn their third straight home victory. Hawkins (2G, 3A) collected five points while TJ Hensick (1G, 3A) added four in impressive individual performances.
Brandon Hawkins gave the Walleye the lead just 3:07 after puck drop as Chris Martenet and TJ Hensick relayed the puck down the ice to find Hawkins near the top of the right circle. Hawkins put the puck past Jake Kupsky for his 19th goal of the season, and Toledo took the early lead.
Toledo picked up three penalties in the opening frame, starting with Matt Berry for cross-checking at 4:34. Idaho went on the power play for 1:20 before Willie Knierim was called for hooking for the Steelheads. The Walleye took a brief man advantage after returning to full strength but did not find the back of the net on their first power play opportunity.
At the midpoint of the period, Toledo lost Cole Fraser and Brett Boeing for high-sticking at 9:21 and hooking at 9:57, respectively, to give the Steelheads the 5-on-3 advantage. Toledo’s defense came through to hold off Idaho and maintain the lead.
Will Merchant entered the penalty box for tripping at the 16:50 mark, and the Walleye found the back of the net on their second power play opportunity of the game. TJ Hensick tapped in the rebound of a Brandon Hawkins shot to give Toledo the 2-0 lead. Hawkins and Randy Gazzola earned the assists as the Walleye finished the period with a 9-8 shot advantage.
Idaho opened the second period with a goal 14 seconds after the opening faceoff to cut Toledo’s lead to one. The goal came from Will Cullen, who was assisted by Mason Mitchell.
Brandon Hawkins responded with his second goal of the game at the 2:43 mark, deflecting Randy Gazzola’s shot from the blue line into the net. TJ Hensick provided the secondary assist as Toledo’s lead increased back to two.
Idaho then scored twice in under three minutes to tie the contest at three. Yauheni Aksiantsiuk, assisted by Matt Tugnutt and Kyle Marino, found the back of the net at 6:02 before Michael Prapavessis lit the lamp at 8:48 as Aksiantsiuk and Cullen collected the assists.
Idaho nearly took the lead at 10:53, putting the puck in the net on a wrap-around goal, but the goal was waved off to keep the contest tied at three.
Toledo then scored three goals in the final seven minutes of the period to take their largest lead of the game. Patrick Curry found the back of the net on a pass from TJ Hensick for his first Walleye goal with 13:36 gone to give Toledo the lead.
At 15:30, Randy Gazzola added insurance with his 11th goal of the season. Hensick and Hawkins each collected their fourth point of the game with the assists.
At the 17:47 mark, Ryan Lowney scored his third goal of the season to cap off a four-goal period for the Walleye. Brett Boeing and John Albert assisted on the goal as the Walleye took the 6-3 lead into the second intermission.
Patrick Curry found the back of the net for the second time with a goal 7:17 into the third period to increase the Walleye lead to four. Brandon Hawkins passed the puck ahead to Curry, who beat the Idaho defense to score the seventh Walleye goal of the game. Hawkins collected his third assist and fifth point of the night with the helper.
At the 7:21 mark, a fight broke out that resulted in seven penalties going to four players. Idaho’s Evan Wardley received secondary altercation and aggressor game misconducts and a fighting major, while teammate Kyle Marino received a five-minute fighting major and a two-minute minor for instigating. Chris Martenet was also called for fighting while Connor Walters received a two-minute roughing penalty. The penalties marked seven of 11 penalties called in the final frame.
Cole Fraser received a four-minute double minor for roughing at 13:09, putting Idaho on the power play one final time. The Walleye held off the Steelheads to return to full strength and cruised to the 7-3 victory, securing the series win.
The Walleye held the 31-30 shot advantage over the Steelheads while Idaho had seven power play opportunities to Toledo’s three. The Walleye converted once with the man advantage while Idaho went 0-for-7 on their opportunities.
Kaden Fulcher made 27 saves on 30 shots for the Walleye to earn the win in net. Jake Kupsky was credited with the loss for the Steelheads. He made 15 saves while giving up five goals in 35:26 of play. Colton Point relieved Kupsky in the second period and went 9-for-11.
The Walleye will look to sweep the season series with Idaho Sunday evening to conclude a three-game homestand. Puck drop from the Huntington Center is set for 5:15 p.m.
- Toledo – Brandon Hawkins (two goals, three assists)
- Toledo – TJ Hensick (power play goal, three assists)
- Toledo – Patrick Curry (two goals, assist)