Following a dramatic Wednesday morning home game last week against the Atlanta Gladiators fueled by a Evan Rankin hat-trick, the Toledo Walleye would continue the week with two games at home with the Kalamazoo Wings. A divisional match-up that’s both so familiar for both teams and both so important for the Central Division.
Kalamazoo started the series on Friday with the scoring on a Ben Wilson goal at 2:07 of the period on an assist by the positive Anthony Camara. Kalamazoo would even come out stronger in the second period scoring this time from Lane Scheidl, a goal that took an odd bounce off the boards and Toledo’s backup goalie Cal Heeter completely out of position. Kalamazoo would continue it’s positive period adding to their lead on a Tyler Shattock goal at 15:33 that would increase the K-Wings lead to 3-0.
Once, though, the third period started, it was Toledo dominating from the start. Toledo would start the comeback early with Tyler Sikura scoring only 2:05 into the period followed by a Evan Rankin goal only a few minutes later at 4:30. Toledo would officially tie the game up at three on a A.J. Jenks goal at 9:24 of the period. Unlike the previous Walleye comeback win against the Cincinnati Cyclones last weekend, who still didn’t look bad in defeat, Kalamazoo struggled mightily in the third period and had no answer for Toledo whatsoever.
After a scoreless overtime and a shootout that went a long seven skaters, Evan Rankin would win it for Toledo and continue his positive week. A shootout goal by Rankin that involved a pretty dangle and him going between the legs with the puck, a goal that would make SportsCenter at number two that night for a good reason.
Onward to Saturday game on 16-Bit Video Game night in Toledo, Toledo would this time start the scoring on a Alden Hirschfeld goal at 5:24 of the period. Hirschfeld would continue the scoring again on wraparound goal this time at 7:47 of the period. A.J. Jenks would then add to his point total to the weekend with a goal at 8:10 of the second period to increase Toledo’s lead to 3-0.
Similar to how Toledo responded so well in the third period, Kalamazoo came out in full force in the final frame. Lane Scheidl was back again scoring only 3:42 into the period for Kalamazoo. Only seconds after Toledo found it themselves on full strength after a hooking call on Tyson Spink, Kalamazoo would cut Toledo’s lead to one on a Brain Hart rebound goal. In a surprise way though, Toledo would get the momentum back on a Simon Denis goal. It would be Denis first ever professional goal who looked beyond excited about after it all unfolded. Late in the game at 17:10 of the period, K-Wings defenseman Michael Trebish would take a really bad high-sticking penalty, landing a double minor for it, and sending the Walleye’s Evan Rankin out of the game. Even though Toledo still had a comfortable two-goal lead, the high-sticking would take the K-Wings out of the game as Shane Berschbach and Tyson Spink would each score on the power play.
After many struggles last year against Kalamazoo for the Walleye, Toledo should be happy to have won three meetings so far in regular season against them. Still though, with seven games still remaining between the two clubs, the series remains to be seen.