ECHL: Toledo Walleye Roster Transactions | 05/25/2024

The Toledo Walleye have announced that forward Mitchell Lewandoski has been activated from injured reserve, and defenseman Jed Pietila has been placed on reserve.

Walleye Welcome Back Lewandoski in Critical Game 5

Lewandoski missed game four due to an injury he suffered in game three of the Wheeling Nailers series. He missed the rest of the game and did not suit up for the Walleye’s 2-1 overtime loss against the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday night. He will be back in the lineup on Saturday, May 25, 2024, when the Walleye look to avoid elimination as they trail in the series 3-1. They will be counting on his leadership and offensive firepower to pull closer to tying the series. Lewandoski will be a welcomed addition, as the once-potent Toledo offense has not been as lethal in the past few games.

Defenseman Pietila was available for last night’s game and saw action on the third-pairing. He played well in a limited role and was solid on his end. He will be out of the lineup tonight against Kansas City at the Cable Dahmer Arena. This season, Pietila has one goal and two assists in five games for the Walleye in the regular season. Game four was the first playoff game as a pro for the Howell, Michigan native.

While Lewandoski’s back in the lineup is a boost to the offense, Toledo will need to rely on Brandon Hawkins and Riley Sawchuk to keep their season alive. Hawkins was the 2023-24 ECHL MVP with 93 points in the regular season and 14 points in 12 games this postseason, including three game-winning goals. Sawchuk leads the ECHL in playoff goals with 10 in 12 games to go along with four assists for 14 points, placing him tied for fourth among playoff scorers. Sawchuk also leads the league with four power-play goals this postseason.

To save their season, Toledo may have to play a boring game and slow down the pace. Kansas City is a team that likes to play a physical game and get into shenanigans after the whistle. The Walleye cannot get caught in that and need to let the Mavericks beat themselves, which has been done before in this series. Toledo has played well in this series, but find them down three games to one. Playing loose and mistake-free is a big ask in the biggest game of the year for Toledo, but if they try to play Kansas City hockey, they may be on the outside looking in.

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