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Walleye’s season ends in Game 5 of Kelly Cup Finals

Sunday, June 12th
Walleye’s season ends in Game 5 of Kelly Cup Finals

ESTERO, Fla. – After a deep playoff run, the 2021-22 season came to a close for the Toledo Walleye in Game 5 of the Kelly Cup Finals on Saturday night as the Fish fell to the Florida Everblades, 4-2.

Matt Berry and John Albert found the back of the net for the Walleye, but a Florida run of three goals in three minutes helped secure the series victory for the Everblades, 4-1, on their home ice. The Brabham Cup and Western Conference Champion Walleye finish as runners-up in their second Kelly Cup Finals appearance since 2019.

The Walleye got on the board first on a Matt Berry goal 4:07 after puck drop. Ryan Lowney and Marcus Vela assisted as Berry collected his fifth goal of the playoffs.

The Walleye held the lead for the next four minutes before things turned south at the 8:12 mark. Zach Solow, assisted by John McCarron and Jake McLaughlin, found the back of the net on the power play to tie the game following a Ryan Lowney high-sticking minor at 7:13.

Just under three minutes later, the Everblades scored two goals in seven seconds to take a two-goal lead. Matteo Gennaro, assisted by Joe Pendenza, scored from the left circle at 10:57, while Levko Koper found the back of the net from between the circles at 11:04 for the second goal. Alex Aleardi assisted on the tally.

At the 18:23 mark, the Walleye pulled back within one as John Albert scored his tenth goal of the playoffs. Brandon Hawkins and TJ Hensick added helpers as the Walleye scored their second goal of the game.

The Everblades responded with 18:51 gone to bring the lead back to two as Solow scored his second goal of the game. Koper and Aleardi assisted as Florida headed into the first intermission with the 4-2 lead. The Walleye outshot the Everblades, 15-7, in the period.

Toledo outshot Florida again in the second period, 13-9, as the Fish looked to chip away at the lead. Each team went on the power play once in the frame. Levko Koper went to the box for slashing at 2:05, and Mitchell Heard was called for high-sticking at 13:25. Neither team found the back of the net with the man advantage.

The Everblades maintained their 4-2 lead through the second period and into the third. Like the middle frame, each team took the man advantage once, this time starting with the Everblades. TJ Hensick was called for high-sticking at 4:59, sending Florida to their third power play of the game. The Fish earned the penalty kill to remain within two as time continued to tick away.

The Fish took the man advantage at 11:10 after a Dylan Vander Esch tripping minor, seeking to get back in the game with under nine minutes to play. Florida killed off that penalty, leaving the Walleye with 6:50 left to tie the game.

With 2:11 to play, Billy Christopoulos vacated the net in a last-ditch effort for Toledo. Florida held the Walleye to just one more shot and earned the 4-2 victory, securing the Kelly Cup.

The Walleye dominated shots on goal, 38-22, in the game, outshooting the Everblades in every period. Both teams went 1-for-3 on the power play, with John Albert netting Toledo’s goal with the man advantage and Zach Solow earning the power play goal for Florida.

Cam Johnson recorded the win for the Everblades in a 36-save performance. Billy Christopoulos was credited with the loss, saving 18-of-22 shots. Christopoulos finished with a 13-5-3 record in the playoffs.

Three Stars:

  1. Florida – Zach Solow (two goals)
  2. Florida – Levko Koper (game-winning goal, assist)
  3. Florida – Cam Johnson (W, 36 saves)

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