TOLEDO, Ohio — Despite mother nature trying her best, there would be no stopping hockey Friday night at the Huntington Center! Kansas City defied the icy elements and made the trip up from Cincinnati after their contest to begin a three-game series against the Walleye. A.J. Jenks played in his first game since November 22nd and made his presence known by throwing multiple big hits on opponents throughout the night. The first game of the three in three began with a goaltending matchup of Pat Nagle for Toledo going up against Mason McDonald of the Mavericks.
After only 21 ticks of the clock, Toledo found themselves down a man as Erik Bradford went to the box for slashing to give Kansas City their first power play (PP) of the game. Physicality would be the name of the game tonight as penalties were handed out rather frequently. The Mavericks were able to get two shots on Nagle during the PP, but Toledo killed it off and went on the counterattack. Now McDonald withstood the pressure as he turned away three Walleye shots before his teammates skated down the ice with the puck. Shawn Pauly carried the puck into the zone and let a shot fly from the left faceoff circle. The puck beat Nagle short side top shelf over his right shoulder after 4:45 of play to give KC the early 1-0 lead. A minute and a half after the goal the Walleye had a chance to respond when Troy Donnay sat for two minutes due to slashing. Superior Kansas City shot blocking prevented Toledo from getting more shots to the net, as McDonald made two saves while a man down. Shortly after the power play expired play stopped as McDonald froze the puck, and Dylan Sadowy and Tyler Elbrecht went at each other after the play which led to four on four hockey. Toledo and Kansas City would spend the remaining 11 minutes of the first struggling to get shots through to the net, as both defenses were effectively blocking and preventing pucks from getting to the net. In that 11 minute time span both teams would only have three more shots on goal, but no additional goals scores.
The second period opened up, and it was all Toledo from the drop of the puck. Over the first 4:26 of play Toledo would put seven shots on McDonald while preventing any shots on Nagle. Sadowy would tip the seventh Walleye shot of the period past McDonald to tie the game and earn his fifth goal of the season. Less than a minute after the goal Toledo would get their second power play opportunity of the night when John Schiavo was caught tripping. Toledo would fail to convert on the man advantage, however, though they would put six shots on McDonald over the course of five minutes while again preventing KC from getting a shot on goal. After that length of time passed a bit of controversy occurred on the ice. Kansas City entered the zone and was able to get a shot away from the left faceoff dot which found it’s way past Nagle. Before the shot, Davis Vandane shoved a Mavericks player as he skated to the net causing him to fall into the netminder. The officials talked it over, and it was determined to be no goal due to incidental goaltender interference. At the 11:29 mark Parker Reno would sit for two minutes due to tripping, but K.C. couldn’t make anything happen. From the start of this power play to the end of the period there would only be five more shots, as the period would end in a 1-1 tie.
Toledo would once again bring the noise as the third period began, continuing their assault on McDonald. Just over a minute into the period, Mike Borkowski would get his first goal of the game to put the Walleye ahead 2-1. Kansas City attempted to answer by blitzing with four shots over 46 seconds but couldn’t beat the Michigan native. Four more penalties were called during the period, but none resulted in a goal. As a result, both teams would finish 0/4 on the man advantage. Despite making 34 saves on 36 shots and playing a great game, the Maverick offense just couldn’t tie it up as Toledo held on for a 2-1 victory.
Shots on goal finished at 36-25 in favor of Toledo, picking up their sixth straight win Friday night. Pat Nagle improves to 21-4-2-1 to maintain the league lead in wins, while McDonald dropped to 10-11-0-1. Saturday night Toledo and K.C. will retake the ice and continue their three-game series at the Huntington Center.
Three Stars of the Game
★ – Mike Borkowski – Game-winning goal, Assist
★★ – Dylan Sadowy – Game-Tying goal
★★★ – Pat Nagle – Win, 24 saves on 25 shots.