ECHL Central Division Semifinals Game 2 Recap: Toledo Walleye vs. Kalamazoo Wings | 04/20/2024

Drake Hartlett/InsideTheRink

The Kalamazoo Wings played against the Toledo Walleye in Game 2 of the Central Division Semifinals on Saturday night. The game took place in a packed-out Huntington Center in downtown Toledo, Ohio, and the Wings were hoping to level the series at 1-1. The Wings had lost 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 on Friday night. The first 9 minutes of the game were similar to the previous night, with both teams playing tight defense. However, Conlan Keenan of the Toledo Walleye scored the opening goal with a tip-in from a shot outside, making it 1-0. Two roughing penalties were called later in the period, resulting in 4 on 4 play, and Kalamazoo managed to tie the game with a wrist-shot goal from Chad Nychuk. A little under 5 minutes later, Kalamazoo extended their lead to 2-1 with another 4 on 4 goal, caused by roughing penalties. Quinn Preston scored the goal past Jan Bednar of Toledo.

Photo by Drake Harlett- Game 2- Toledo Walleye vs. Kalamazoo Wings- Central Division Semifinals
Drake Hartlett/InsideTheRink

The second period was less exciting compared to the action-packed first. Both teams engaged in rough play, and there was exciting 4 on 4 action in the first period. Kalamazoo’s goaltender, Jonathan Lemieux, was the highlight of the second period. He faced 23 shots from Toledo and allowed only one goal. This kept Kalamazoo in the game. Early on, Mitchell Lewandowski of Toledo scored a rebound goal to tie the game at 2-2 less than four minutes into the period. Jonathan Lemieux faced many more shots throughout the period and was able to kill a key penalty midway through. Orrin Centazzo of Toledo was called for a boarding penalty with just over a minute left in the period, which would carry over into the third period.

Photo by Drake Harlett- Game 2- Toledo Walleye vs. Kalamazoo Wings- Central Division Semifinals
Drake Hartlett/InsideTheRink

During the third period, Toledo managed to take over and win with a score of 5-2, giving them a 2-0 series lead. Sam Craggs was the star player of the third, scoring three consecutive goals in the third period, achieving a natural hat-trick. With six minutes left in the game, he scored a goal with his right foot to extend Toledo’s lead to 3-2. He then scored again with a slap-shot off a Kalamazoo turnover a little under four minutes later and finally sealed the win with an empty net goal as hats flew onto the ice. Kalamazoo will have another chance to redeem themselves on Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET in Kalamazoo, Michigan. However, they must limit their turnovers and play lockdown defense to prevent Toledo’s high-octane offense from taking a 3-0 series lead. If they want a chance at a comeback, they must focus and put in their best effort the rest of the series.

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Matthew Buhrmann

Writer l Inside the Rink l Studying Operations Management at the University of Cincinnati

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