INDEPENDENCE, MO – After taking care of business at home last weekend, the Toledo Walleye went on the road for a three-game weekend series against the Kansas City Mavericks.
When these teams last met on January 13, the Walleye beat the Mavericks 6-1 en route to their fourth straight win. Toledo entered the weekend on a five-game win streak with the intention of extending their Central Division lead. On Friday night, your starting goaltenders were Matěj Machovský for Toledo and Mason McDonald for Kansas City.
Toledo’s offense started off strong with early pressure on McDonald that resulted in the games the first goal at 5:23. Kevin Gibson was able to find the back of the net after ripping a shot from beyond the right faceoff circle to put Toledo up 1-0. Austen Brassard and Shane Berschbach assisted on the goal. A little over five minutes later, Toledo extended their lead when Kyle Bonis got in on the scoring. Bonis got the puck from Brassard and made no mistake with a short-range shot from the left side of the net. Shortly after the game became 2-0, the tempers began to flare. Former Walleye and current Mavericks defenseman Tyler Elbrecht went after Parker Reno to try and spark for his team. After the fight concluded, another broke out after the following faceoff when Kevin Tansey responded to the Mavericks challenge of Troy Donnay, and after one punch Donnay fell to the ice. He sprang right back up though, with a shouting match going on both to and inside the penalty boxes between the opposing players. The rest of the period continued without any fights, along with a power play for each team that did not result in any goals.
The second period started off with more conflict when Connor Crisp and Elbrecht had something to say to each other before the period began, resulting in each receiving a roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty. That seemed to calm things down though, as the rest of the period went without a penalty or a goal. Machovsky played a solid period, as the Mavericks outshot Toledo 7-1 over the course of ten minutes but could not beat the Czech netminder. The teams combined for 17 shots on goal throughout the period.
Kansas City found themselves down 2-0 to start the third and sent their offense into attack Machovský. Despite a slow first half of the period, the Mavericks got their chance when Berschbach and Ryan Obuchowski were called for penalties within a minute and a half of each other. The penalty kill was able to keep the Mavs off the board though as Machovský stopped all four of the shots he saw during the penalties. Kansas City couldn’t recover from those missed opportunities, even when they pulled McDonald for the extra attacker, Patrick McCarron made them pay with an empty-netter to seal a 3-0 victory for Toledo. Three stars of the game from third to first were Kyle Bonis (one goal), Kevin Gibson (one goal, two assists), and Matěj Machovský with the 24 save shutout.
For Saturday’s contest, Pat Nagle and Chris Nell took the creases for their respective teams. Both offenses had chances early, but this time it was Kansas City who struck first when Danny Smith beat Nagle with a shot from the slot to give the Mavericks their first lead of the series 1-0. Toledo had a chance to respond seven minutes after the goal when Jordan Kwas was called for hooking, but the Walleye power-play continued their struggles and failed to convert to the man advantage. Davis Vandane and Mark Cooper found themselves in the box one after the other a few minutes later, but both penalties came without consequence regarding the score. The Walleye offense made a strong push in the final four minutes of the first, but Nell made key saves to keep Toledo off the board.
The Walleye offense picked up where they left off at the start the second by putting Nell under fire. Dylan Sadowy and Crisp both had opportunities, but it was Crisp who struck first at 4:33 to tie the game up at 1. Kansas City went on the power play two minutes later when McCarron was called for holding, but the league’s best penalty kill unit continued their dominance to keep the game knotted up. The Maverick offense kept the pressure on after the power play expired, but Nagle, in turn, kept them from finding any success. With 54 seconds left in the period, Kayle Doetzel was sent to the box for high-sticking, but Toledo could not score before the period expired.
As the third began Toledo continued their power play, and Mike Borkowski had a chance denied by Nell before the man advantage expired. Kansas City followed up with some return pressure of their own, four shots in a minute and a half, but no success. Toledo had one more power play to try and take the lead after Shawn Pauly was caught holding, and peppered Nell with five shots. Nell was fantastic throughout the game, and this penalty was no exception, as he prevented the Walleye from taking the lead. Toledo’s forwards just couldn’t capitalize on their multiple chances. Kansas City’s forwards could though, as they regained the lead 6:06 left in the game when Patch Alber scored his fourth goal of the season for a 2-1 Maverick lead. Toledo responded with one last offensive push after pulling Nagle, but it was not to be as Kansas City iced the game with an empty-net goal by Pauly with 34 seconds left. The final score stayed at 3-1. The three stars were all Mavericks and from third to first were: Danny Smith (one goal), Patch Alber (game-winning goal), and Chris Nell with a 33 save the win.
Toledo started the scoring Sunday afternoon in the third game as Tyler Barnes would score from Sadowy after a bad turnover from Mavericks defenseman Elbrecht. A first period that saw Toledo outshoot Kansas City 9-8. A period still Kansas City played well as they got the scoring chances and attacked Toledo netminder Matej Machovsky.
The Mavericks would get on the board in the second though as Cooper would beat Toledo goalie Machovsky nicely with the puck out in front at 5:51 into the period. Kansas City would put the momentum in the Mavericks favor late in the second at 15:54 as Greg Betzold would score on a tip from a blast from Bryce Aneloski. Kansas City would dominate the end of the second which would be a big key to the game.
On an odd goal that Machovsky saw, Aneloski would score on a blast only 36 seconds into the third period as they kept the momentum going to make it 3-1 Kansas City. Toledo would get some life late when Charlie O’Connor scored at 15:59 after muscling his way to the net. Jared VanWormer would seal the win though for Mavericks with an empty net goal at 18:59 making it a 4-2 final.
In the end, Toledo was lucky to be in the game though as they only they got 22 shots for the game, only four shots in the third as Toledo didn’t challenge Mavericks goalie Chris Nell. Mavericks played solid defense for the entire game, which was another key to win Sunday.
The Walleye continue their road trip by playing the Reading Royals on the road Wednesday. It will wrap up with a game against the Brampton Beast on Friday night.
This weekend recap was a collaboration between Alex Wolff and Michael Scott.