RAPID CITY, SD - The Walleye, backed by standout performances from forward Brandon Hawkins and goaltender Sebastian Cossa, kept their winning streak alive with a 6-0 shutout in Rapid City tonight.
Tonight's game was the second of a three-game stretch in Rapid City for Toledo. After the Rush took an early first period lead in Wednesday morning's game, the Walleye came back to score five unanswered goals and claim their fifth straight win. The victory was also the 12th straight road game in which they have gone unbeaten in regulation.
The Walleye wasted no time getting on the board tonight as Conlan Keenan finished on Rapid City's Nicholas Latinovich just 2:35 into period one. Kirill Tyutyayev and Ryan Lowney registered the assists on Keenan's early marker. The floodgates opened in the ninth minute when the forward line of Brandon Hawkins, Trenton Bliss, and Gordie Green combined for three goals in just over five minutes. Hawkins, the scorer of all three, earned his first hat trick this season on the scoring spree. Bliss and Green also earned three assists apiece in the process.
To cap off the first period scoring, Conlan Keenan netted his second of the night at 16:08 with assists from Kirill Tyutyayev and Riley McCourt. After 20 minutes, the Walleye more than doubled Rapid City's six shots with 14.
To start the middle period, Adam Carlson replaced Latinovich in the Rapid City net. No scoring followed in the next 20 minutes, but both teams spent some time in their penalty boxes. It was Riley McCourt to go first for the Walleye with a hooking penalty exactly four minutes in. Gordi Myer made his trip six minutes later for high-sticking. Last for Toledo was Ryan Lowney at the 13:50 mark for hooking.
Rapid City's penalties ended up putting the Walleye on a 5-on-3 man advantage as Jimmy Soper went first for slashing at 18:49, followed by Carter Robinson for holding at 19:12. The Rush took the shots advantage in the second period with ten to Toledo's nine.
The Walleye went into the final period with 49 seconds left in their 5-on-3 advantage and just over a minute on the remainder of the power play. With 31 seconds gone, Trenton Bliss tipped Gordie Green's shot from the left circle past Carlson to make it 6-0. Kirill Tyutyayev picked up his third point of the night with an assist on the power play goal.
Just before the two-minute mark, Toledo's Patrick McGrath and Rapid City's Jimmy Soper got into it up against the Walleye bench. Both skaters headed to their boxes with matching roughing minors to follow. Less than two minutes after leaving the Rapid City box, Jimmy Soper headed right back as he got tangled up with Brett McKenzie for another roughing penalty. McKenzie made his way to the Toledo box with a matching roughing minor and did it again later in the 11th minute. The Walleye, with the number one road penalty kill in the league, kept Rapid City scoreless on all of their four shorthanded occurrences to secure their fourth shutout of the season.
- Toledo took the final advantage in shots with 32 to Rapid City's 28.
- Sebastian Cossa registered his third shutout this season and his second consecutive in tonight's 28-save game. Toledo's first four shutouts of the season have all come within the last 13 games.
- Brandon Hawkins became the third Walleye player to pick up a hat trick this season, but the first to do it with three uninterrupted goals. The forward has totaled six points (5G, 1A) in his last three games.
- Gordie Green joined Hawkins with four points tonight, all coming in the form of assists. This extends his point streak to three games; the forward has totaled six assists in those three contests.
- In his 150th pro game, Conlan Keenan tallied two goals to bring his season total to 14.
- Kirill Tyutyayev reclaimed his team lead of assists with three tonight. The forward currently has 31 assists in 24 games this season with Toledo.
- Riley McCourt picked up an assist in his 100th pro game. The defenseman sits at 18 total points (4G, 14A) in 26 appearances for Toledo this season.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - B. Hawkins (3G, 1A)
2) TOL - S. Cossa (28 SVS)
3) TOL - C. Keenan (2G)
The Walleye will wrap up their weekend in Rapid City tomorrow at 9:05 p.m. ET.