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Walleye stay hot with 10th straight win

Monday, February 27th
Walleye stay hot with 10th straight win

TOLEDO, OHIO - The Walleye went three-for-three for the third straight weekend as they battered Wichita by a score of 5-1 tonight in their tenth straight win. 

What Happened:

Tonight concluded the back-to-back home series between the Walleye and Thunder at the Huntington Center. It was also Toledo's final game against a Mountain Division opponent in the regular season. After Friday night's 5-0 shutout in front of a sold out T-Town crowd, the Walleye extended their all-time record over the Thunder to 6-0-0. 

Wichita came out with a higher intensity than in the previous matchup on Saturday night. With just over three minutes gone, Mark Liwiski put the Thunder on the board with an equal strength goal. Toledo got their first opportunity on the man advantage at the halfway mark of period one as Wichita's Zack Hoffman picked up a hooking penalty. The Toledo power play was shortlived as Riley McCourt headed to the box with a tripping penalty 17 seconds later. 

No scoring followed in the 4-on-4 period, but the Walleye got a full power play opportunity early in the 14th minute after Mark Liwiski collided with Toledo netminder Sebastian Cossa on a Wichita scoring opportunity. It only took 17 seconds for the Walleye to capitalize on this man advantage as Brett McKenzie rebounded Brandon Hawkins' blue line shot past Wichita's Justin Kapelmaster to make it a tie game. Defenseman Riley McCourt was the second assister on the power play goal. 

Shortly after play resumed, Drew Worrad picked up a cross-checking penalty to send the Thunder on their first full power play of the game. Only one Wichita shot was allowed on the Walleye penalty kill. Early in the 19th minute, Andrew Sturtz netted the game-winner with a tip on Charlie Curti's shot from the blue line. Thomas Ebbing was the second assister on the even strength goal. With ten seconds remaining in the opening period, Wichita's Kyle Rhodes picked up a holding penalty to send Toledo into the middle frame on the power play. In the first 20 minutes of play, the Walleye outshot the Thunder by a count of 20-12. 

With less than three minutes gone in period two, Sam Craggs added the insurance goal to make it 3-1 in favor of the Walleye. Right off the draw, the puck was laid off to Ryan Lowney for a blue line shot that was tipped by Craggs into the Wichita net. Conlan Keenan instigated the play that resulted in the third Toledo goal. Two minutes later, Wichita's Kelly Bent sent Andrew Sturtz into the boards with a hit from behind. Matching roughing minors went to Charlie Curti and Kelly Bent after the Toledo defenseman came into the mix. 

Late in the tenth minute, the teams went 4-on-4 again as Toledo's Joseph Nardi received a hooking minor, and Cameron Hough headed to the Wichita box for diving. Three shots came in the next two minutes, all from Walleye forward Gordie Green, but the score remained 3-1 late into the second period. Wichita went on their third man advantage at the 15:45 mark after a toss-up in front of the Toledo bench. Both Brandon Hawkins and Mark Liwiski received matching roughing minors, but Hawkins got an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct for Wichita to continue on the power play. This concluded the action for a second period that saw the Walleye add 21 more shots compared to Wichita's nine.

The physicality continued well into the final period as Toledo's Chays Ruddy and Wichita's Kelly Bent squared up at center ice following a big hit moments before. Both skaters ended up with five minutes in the box for fighting. At 11:37, Conlan Keenan added the fourth Toledo goal off a one-timer from Drew Worrad and Ryan Lowney. One minute later, Michal Stinil made his way to the Wichita box with a cross-checking penalty to put the Walleye on the power play. Less than a minute into the man advantage, Brett McKenzie added his second marker of the night as he tipped a shot from Brandon Hawkins past Kapelmaster with his hip. Kirill Tyutyayev registered the second assist on the final Toledo goal. 

With two minutes to play in regulation, the extracurriculars returned as Toledo forward Patrick McGrath and Wichita forward Mark Liwiski got tangled up at center ice. Both men received ten-minute misconducts with the addition of a roughing minor to McGrath. Toledo finished the night on the power play as two more penalties were assigned to Wichita after the altercation, a misconduct to Michal Stinil and a hooking minor to Jay Dickman. The Walleye outshot the Thunder for the third period in a row, this time by a count of 10 to 7, and sent Wichita packing with two more losses under their belt. 

Speed Stats:

  • Tonight's win was the 10th straight for the unstoppable Toledo squad, tying a franchise record set in 2019. 
  • The Walleye outshot the Thunder by a count of 51-28. This is the most shots Toledo has recorded in a game this season. 
  • Sebastian Cossa extended his career-best winning streak to five games. In those appearances, he has allowed only five goals and recorded back-to-back shutouts. 
  • Brandon Hawkins extended his point streak to seven games with two assists tonight. The first ended up being his 200th professional point. The team-leading scorer has totaled 13 points (7G, 6A) in his last seven games. 
  • Brett McKenzie notched two goals to extend his point streak to four games. The forward has picked up six total points (4G, 2A) in those last four appearances. 

Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:

1) TOL - B. McKenzie (2G)

2) TOL - B. Hawkins (2A)

3) TOL - C. Keenan (1G, 1A)

Up Next:

Toledo will kick off the final third of the regular season on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Fort Wayne.

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