KALAMAZOO, MI – The Toledo Walleye fell 4-3 in overtime to the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday night at Wings Event Center.
The Walleye travelled to Kalamazoo to finish the home-and-home preseason series with the Wings ahead of the 2023-24 ECHL regular season.
The Walleye would send Jan Bednar to defend the net, with Thomas Farrell and Jake Willets as the defense. Mitch Lewandowski, Conlan Keenan and Brandon Kruse would get the nods up front.
The Wings would start Jonathan Lemieux between the pipes. Chaz Reddekopp and Michael Joyaux would man the defense, while David Keefer, Erik Bradford and Brad Morrison would start up front.
The first period of play would be similar to Friday night, no scoring and multiple fights. Adrien Beraldo and Nico Blachman would get sent to their respective boxes, both with five-minute majors for fighting at 7:28. Then at 14:51, Willets and Ted Nichol would also be assessed five-minute majors for fighting, showing that tempers from the previous game carried over. Jordan Seyfert would head to the penalty box for the Wings at 17:48 with a slashing minor, giving the Walleye their first powerplay of the night. Kalamazoo would successfully kill off the penalty as the first frame came to a close. The Walleye were 0/1 on power plays, while the Wings did not have an opportunity. The two teams were even in shots at 8-8.
The second period action began when Morrison was assessed a hooking minor and was sent to the Wings box. The Fish would gain their second power play of the night, but were unable to convert. The Wings would get on the board first as Keefer found the back of the net for the Wings at 11:15. Morrison and Kurt Gosselin were awarded assists. That would round out a fairly quiet second frame, as the Walleye went 0/1 on power plays in the period, as well as outshooting Kalamazoo 12-9, and cumulatively 20-17 on the night.
Mariah Fujigamari would enter to defend the net for the Wings in the third period. Nichol smacked a shot past Bednar at 3:11 to put the Wings up 2-0. Seyfert and Reddekopp were given assists. Carson Denomie would put a rebound into the net at 4:42 with some help from Sam Sternschein and Beraldo, making it 2-1 Wings. Alexandre Doucet would power home a rebound at 9:59 to knot the game at 2-2. Grant Gabriele and Trenton Bliss would each tally an assist. Kruse would finesse his way through the defense to slide the unassisted go-ahead goal into the net at 11:14. Lewandowski would be assessed a hooking minor at 14:53, giving the Wings their first power play of the game. The Wings would convert the power play as Morrison put the equalizer in the net. Bradford and Justin Taylor assisted the goal. Joshua Passolt would be assessed a high-sticking minor at 15:25, giving the Walleye a third power play chance. The Fish could not convert, and it would head to overtime deadlocked at 3-3. The Walleye went 0/1 on power plays in the third frame, while Kalamazoo converted their lone attempt. The Walleye outshot the Wings 12-9 in the period and 32-26 overall in regulation.
Overtime was a duel between the two teams, and it appeared to be heading to another shootout until 6:18 when Bradford scored the game-winning goal on a two-on-one with Morrison getting the assist, his second assist and third point of the night. The Wings outshot the Walleye 6-5 in overtime. The Walleye outshot the Wings 37-32 overall despite the 4-3 overtime loss.
Three Stars Presented by Local 245:
- Erik Bradford (KAL) – 1G, 1A
- Brad Morrison (KAL) – 1G, 2A
- Mariah Fujimagari (KAL) – W, 14/17 SV
The Walleye will return to Kalamazoo on Saturday, October 21st to begin the 2023-24 ECHL regular season. Puck drop will be at 7:00 pm ET at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, MI.