TOLEDO, OHIO - The atmosphere at the Huntington Center was nothing short of electric tonight as the Walleye took down the Kansas City Mavericks in front of the largest crowd in franchise history.
Tonight's game was the only one this season against the Kansas City squad. The teams have matched up just 13 times before, with the Walleye taking nine of those.
Toledo took an early penalty tonight as Cédric Lacroix made his way to the box for high-sticking at the 3:58 mark. With less than a minute gone in the Kansas City power play, Pascal Laberge sent the puck past Toledo's John Lethemon with a shot from the right circle. Toledo was next to go on the power play at 12:29 after Marc McNulty hooked a Walleye skater. The Mavericks killed off the penalty but went shorthanded once again at 15:59 for another hooking minor, this time against Joshua Lammon.
The Toledo pressure increased in the latter half of the man advantage with five shots in under 50 seconds. The fifth shot ended up tying the teams at one as Joseph Nardi blasted a one-timer from Kirill Tyutyayev past Kansas City's Shane Starrett. Walleye forward Brandon Hawkins picked up the second assist on the power play goal. After period one, shots were 12-7 in favor of Toledo.
The second period started strong for the Walleye as Gordie Green netted the game winner just 3:19 in. Trenton Bliss, the forward who recently won ECHL Rookie of the Month in January, registered the lone assist. Brandon Hawkins added the insurance goal just over four minutes later with a big blast from the top of the left circle right off the faceoff. The assist became the second of the night for rookie forward Trenton Bliss.
Just past the 15-minute mark, Kansas City's Nate Knoepke headed to the box for a tripping penalty. No scoring followed in the remainder of the period, but the Mavericks would begin the final third on the power play after an unsportsmanlike conduct minor went to Mitchell Heard following the buzzer.
Toledo's success carried into the final period with two more goals. At 13:39, Brandon Hawkins picked up his second on an unassisted wrister from the left of the crease. Kirill Tyutyayev was the final scorer for Toledo with the fifth unanswered goal at 17:58. Donovan Sebrango was the lone assister on Tyutyayev's night capper.
- Toledo took the final shots advantage of 23-21.
- John Lethemon advanced to 10-1-3 on the season with 20 saves in the win.
- The Huntington Center saw its largest regular season attendance of all time tonight with 8,408. The previous high was 8,401 on November 6, 2021 vs. Kalamazoo.
- Brandon Hawkins extended his five-game point streak tonight with three points (2G, 1A). The forward now has 12 points (6G, 6A) in his last six games. This was his 14th multi-point game of the season and the fourth in which he has notched three points. He also continues to lead the team in points this season with 43.
- After totaling 18 points (7G, 11A) in January, rookie forward Trenton Bliss kicked off February with a bang grabbing two assists tonight. Bliss has registered six points (3G, 3A) in his last three games.
- Gordie Green continued his point streak picking up a single goal tonight. The forward now has one point in each of his last four games and is tied with Brandon Hawkins for the most goals this season at 18.
- Kirill Tyutyayev notched his 10th multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - B. Hawkins (2G, 1A)
2) TOL - T. Bliss (2A)
3) TOL - J. Lethemon (20 SVS)
The Walleye are back on the road tomorrow for their last matchup in Cincinnati at 7:35 p.m.