ECHL Western Conference Final Preview: Toledo Walleye vs Kansas City Mavericks

Lewandowski goes through the line after tying the game at 1.
Drake Harlett/Inside The RInk

The ECHL Western Conference Final between the Toledo Walleye and Kansas City Mavericks will feature two of the best teams in the league. The series will begin on Friday, May 17, at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, and will have an unusual format due to scheduling conflicts. The first three games will be in Toledo, with the last four in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Cable Dahmer Arena.

Walleye and Mavericks Set for Big Showdown

The teams come in with several stats that are similar in every category, almost identical. The style of play is the same, and both teams have elite goaltenders. Kansas City has been near the top of the league for most of the season, posting a record of 54-12-4-5 for 114 points in the Mountain Division. The Walleye were not far behind and not far off those totals, posting a record of 48-14-4-5 for 105 points in the Central Division. Toledo forward Brandon Hawkins led the league in scoring with 93 points in 70 games, while the Mavericks’ Patrick Curry was second with 87 points.

How They Got Here

Toledo has been on fire and remains without a single loss in the postseason through two rounds. The Walleye swept the Kalamazoo Wings in round one and did the same thing in round two, sweeping the Wheeling Nailers. Kansas City has been just as dominating, eliminating the Tulsa Oilers via a sweep in round one, and almost did the same thing in round two against the Idaho Steelheads but eventually won the series four games to one.

Team Stats

Toledo has a postseason record of 8-0, while the Mavericks are 8-1. Goals scored in the playoffs favor the Walleye, 35-34. Goals against also favor the Walleye, giving up only 17 goals through two rounds, while the Mavericks have given up 22. The penalty minutes in the postseason favor Kansas City, 83-55. Toledo is 4-0 at home and on the road, while Kansas City is 3-1 at home and 5-0 on the road. The power play favors Kansas City by a small amount, 22.2%, to the Walleye’s 21.7%. The Mavericks also have a better penalty kill advantage, 95.8%, to Toledo’s 88.9%.

Individual Stats

For Kansas City, the top three scorers include Patrick Curry (six goals and six assists for 12 points), Noah Walker (4-5-9), and Jeremy McKenna (4-4-8). For the Walleye, Riley Sawchuk (7-4-11), Sam Craggs (6-5-11), and Brandon Hawkins (5-6-11) are leading the Walleye attack with the same amount of points. Hawkins leads the team with three game-winning goals and a +10 rating, while Sawchuk has three power-play goals.

The goaltenders for both teams have been outstanding. Walleye goaltender John Lethemon has a 4-0 record with a 1.90 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. For the Mavericks, Cole Morris has been tremendous between the pipes. He has posted a record of 5-0 with a 2.60 GAA and a .923 save percentage.

Players on hot streaks

Walleye forward Mitchell Lewandoski has been one of Toledo’s secret weapons in the postseason, providing secondary scoring behind Hawkins, Craggs, and Sawchuk. He has nine points in his last seven games. Kansas City’s Jake Jaremko has been equally as good, posting six points in his last five games.

Series Schedule

Game 1- Friday, May 17 at 7:15 p.m. ET at Toledo

Game 2- Saturday, May 18 at 7:15 p.m. ET at Toledo

Game 3- Monday, May 20 at 7:15 p.m. ET at Toledo

Game 4- Friday, May 24 at 7:05 p.m CT at Kansas City

Game 5- Saturday, May 25 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City (if necessary)

Game 6- Monday, May 27 at 4:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City (if necessary)

Game 7- Wednesday, May 29 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City (if necessary)

* The two teams did not face off in the regular season

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