TOLEDO, OHIO - With a dominating performance, the Walleye shut out Kalamazoo tonight at home in their 500th all-time regular season win.
Just over 30 seconds into the opening period, Toledo's Andrew Sturtz got tangled up with Kalamazoo's Justin Murray in the Wings zone. The result was matching roughing minors and a 4-on-4 hockey game for the next two minutes of play. Conlan Keenan got the sold out Huntington Center crowd on their feet just before the six-minute mark on a one-timer from Kirill Tyutyayev. Mitchell Heard kept his hot point streak going with the second helper.
The next Toledo shot put the Walleye up by two as Andrew Sturtz found Gordi Myer for a one-timer from the top of the left circle that was tipped into the Kalamazoo net by Drew Worrad. At the 19:20 mark, Joseph Nardi put the Wings on their first power play after a holding penalty. Shots were tied at nine apiece after the opening period.
Kalamazoo's man advantage carried over to the second period, but it was Toledo who did all the scoring in the next 20 minutes. Just past the seven-minute mark, Kalamazoo's Leif Mattson landed a hit on Charlie Curti from behind that constituted a boarding minor. With 11 seconds gone in the Walleye man advantage, Trenton Bliss tipped Hawkins' blue line shot past Kalamazoo netminder Evan Cormier for the third Toledo goal. Kirill Tyutyayev notched the second assist on the power play goal.
The Wings got their second power play of the night after Gordi Myer sent the puck out of play at 11:16. Seven seconds after returning to full strength, Andrew Sturtz made it a 4-0 game with a snipe into the top left corner of Cormier's net. Defenseman Donovan Sebrango picked up the lone assist on Sturtz's marker. Another Kalamazoo penalty, this time against Matheson Iacopelli for holding, put the Walleye on their second power play. After shots from Brandon Hawkins and Gordie Green were stopped by Cormier, Trenton Bliss picked up the rebound for his second power play goal of the night. Toledo doubled Kalamazoo's seven shots with 14 in tonight's second period.
Just over a minute into the final third, Collin Saccoman put Kalamazoo on a penalty kill for sending the puck out of play. The Wings kept Toledo scoreless on their third power play, but Mitchell Heard capitalized on another man advantage that came just under two minutes later after Mason McCarty received a tripping minor. Heard's goal, a laser from the right circle, was assisted by Charlie Curti and Drew Worrad.
In the remaining 13:15 of the game, Kalamazoo got two more power play opportunities, the first after a Toledo bench minor and the second following a hooking penalty against Kirill Tyutyayev. The strong third period defensive effort from the Walleye resulted in only four Kalamazoo shots while Toledo added nine to cap off a 32-20 advantage.
- Tonight's win marked the seventh straight for the Walleye, the longest streak the team has seen this season.
- In his 13th Walleye start, goaltender John Lethemon registered 20 saves for his first shutout of the season. This comes just a week after Sebastian Cossa recorded his first last Saturday night in Iowa.
- Three of Toledo's six goals tonight came on the power play. With that, the Walleye went 3/4 on the power play and 5/5 on the penalty kill.
- Drew Worrad picked up a goal and an assist in his 50th pro game.
- Mitchell Heard extended his 11-game point streak with a goal and an assist. The forward now holds the longest point streak for a Walleye skater this season and has registered 20 points (6G, 14A) in his last 12 games.
- With two assists tonight, Brandon Hawkins now has seven points (3G, 4A) in his last four games.
- Although his 11-game point streak came to an end last night in Kalamazoo, Trenton Bliss picked up two power play goals tonight. The forward has registered 16 points (6G, 10A) in 12 January games.
- Gordie Green added another assist to his impressive January point record of 17 (11G, 6A).
- Conlan Keenan extended his four-game point streak with another goal. The forward notched his first professional hat trick on Sunday in Iowa and picked up two more last night in Kalamazoo. He now has eight points (7G, 1A) in his last five games.
- Forward and Detroit Red Wings prospect Kirill Tyutyayev notched two assists tonight for nine points (1G, 8A) in his last four games.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - T. Bliss (2G)
2) TOL - J. Lethemon (20 SVS)
3) TOL - D. Worrad (1G, 1A)
The Walleye are back home again tomorrow to take on the Cincinnati Cyclones at 5:15 p.m.