ECHL Western Conference Final Recap: Toledo Walleye vs. Kansas City Mavericks Game 3 | 05/20/2024

Credit: Drake Harlett

In front of 7,500 of their closest Finatics, the Toledo Walleye took on the Kansas City Mavericks for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals at the Huntington Center on Monday night. Toledo came out knowing they had something to prove and would take the game in a 4-3 victory. 

John Lethemon was in goal for the Walleye and Cale Morris was between the pipes for the Mavericks.

The first period came and went quickly with a back-and-forth style of play. Each team was assessed one minor penalty. For Toledo, Michael Prapavessis was called for tripping, and for Kansas City, Max Andreev for slashing. With only a few seconds left on the power play, Toledo’s Riley Sawchuk lit the lamp at 18:40 to give the Walleye a 1-0 lead. Brandon Hawkins and Grant Gabriele assisted the goal. Toledo outshot Kansas City 10-9 in the period. 

Kansas City quickly tied the game up at 1-1 when Nate Knoepke scored at 4:50. Patrick Curry and Bradley Schoonbaert had the assists. At 12:03, Prapavessis put the Walleye back on top when he found the back of the net. Brandon Kruse and Brendan Michaelian were on the assist. Kansas City would not let Toledo keep their lead for very long. Knoepke netted his second goal of the night at 16:32 to knot the game at two apiece. Justin Nachbaur and Andreev added helpers to the tally. Toledo’s Sawchuk sniped right back at 16:51 with his second goal of the night. Orrin Centazzo and Jason Willms assisted the goal. Shortly after, Toledo’s Conlan Keenan found himself alone in the zone for a one-on-goal to put the Walleye up by two. Gabriele and Prapavessis assisted the goal. Keenan’s score would wrap up a goal-filled second period. Kansas City was assessed two penalties, Ryan Jones for slashing and Andreev for roughing. Toledo was assessed one, Matt Anderson for roughing. 

Kansas City came out of the locker room determined to take the game. Nolan Walker quickly scored at 1:30 to put the Mavericks within one. Curry and Theo Calvas assisted the tally. The third period was not all about scores. Kansas City’s Justin MacPherson and Toledo’s Willms dropped the gloves and were assessed a five-minute fighting major. On his way to the penalty box, Willms was revving up the Finatics to get on their feet, swing their rally towels, and make some noise. 

In the final minute of regulation, the loud atmosphere at the Huntington Center would not allow either team to hear the whistle blow the play dead from Hawkins playing the puck with a high stick. The play resulted in an empty net goal by Sawchuk that would be called off. But, not before fans peppered the ice with caps for what would have been a hat trick. The Walleye held onto their lead with strong defense to take the win over the Mavericks 4-3.

The remainder of the Western Conference Finals will be played in Kansas City. The Toledo Walleye will be back in action at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri, on Friday, May 24. The puck drops at 8:05 p.m. ET. Kansas City currently leads the series 2-1. 

Back in Toledo, watch parties will be held at Fifth Third Field for all remaining games. 

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