KALAMAZOO, MI – After struggling in the regular season in Kalamazoo last year and then losing all the road games in the playoffs against the Wings, the Toledo Walleye went into their lone preseason game against the Wings with something to prove.
Toledo got off to a rocky start in the first period, when defenseman Brock Beukeboom would take a bad tripping call and new forward Daniel Gentzler would take a slashing call. The Walleye penalty kill would negate the Wings’ chances, though. New Walleye netminder Pat Nagle would do his part, too, stopping all 12 first period shots he faced.
In an interesting second period, Dan Cesarz would score the game’s first goal on a breakaway at 1:45 into the period. Still, Toledo would be badly outshot 17-6 in the period and looked flat overall. Mackenzie Stewart would put Kalamazoo on the board on a shot Nagle saw all the way.
Connor Crisp tried to provide the Walleye a spark, fighting Aaron Irving at 11:54 of the period. It’s worth noting that Crisp was one of the few Toledo players who had a spark throughout the entire game.
After being quiet offensively all game, Tyler Barnes would score the game-winner at 16:40 of the third period on Kalamazoo goalie Joel Martin. A third period in which Toledo played Kalamazoo even.
In the end, Toledo got outshot 36-20 and their offense was stagnant through most of the game. Still, Toledo was solid on the penalty kill (going three-for-four,) which really was the difference in the game.
Toledo opens the season on the road at Quad City this Friday night. Faceoff at Taxslayer Center is set for 7:05 pm Central time.