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 Toledo Walleye

Craggs' Hat Trick Powers 5-3 Walleye Win Over Wings

April 20, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Toledo Walleye News Release


TOLEDO - The Toledo Walleye defeated the Kalamazoo Wings 5-2 on Saturday night at the Huntington Center in game two of the Central Division Semifinals in the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

What Happened:

Sam Craggs' pure hat trick in the third period led the Walleye past the Wings on Labatt Hockey Night in Toledo.

Jan Bednar split the iron for the Walleye. Jacob Graves and Riley McCourt skated the blue line while Brandon Hawkins, Trenton Bliss and Mitch Lewandowski led the Toledo attack.

Fellow rookie Jonathan Lemieux opposed Bednar in the net for the visiting Wings. Michael Joyaux and Chaz Reddekopp manned the defense while David Keefer, Erik Bradford and Josh Passolt filled out the Kalamazoo front.

The Walleye kicked off the scoring at 9:12 when Conlan Keenan turned the puck into the net to give the Fish the early lead. Hawkins and Michael Prapavessis assisted the initial tally.

The Wings knotted the score at 1-1 at 13:42 when Chad Nychuk lasered one past Bednar. Passolt and Bradford assisted the tally.

Kalamazoo took a 2-1 lead at 18:08 when Quinn Preston lit the lamp. Nychuk and Collin Adams assisted the score.

That wrapped the first period with the Walleye trailing the Wings 2-1. Toledo outshot Kalamazoo 14-13 in the period.

The Fish came out of the locker room and quickly evened things up as Lewandowski buried a rebound falling away from the net, making it 2-2. Bliss and Hawkins assisted the equalizer.

That wrapped a fairly quiet second frame with the Walleye and Wings tied 2-2. Toledo outshot Kalamazoo 23-7 in the period and 37-20 through two periods.

After a back-and-forth start to the third period, the Walleye pulled ahead 3-2 when Sam Craggs deflected the puck into the net. Graves and McCourt assisted the go-ahead goal.

The Walleye added some late insurance at 18:27 when Craggs sniped a long rebound into the twine, making it 4-2 with his second goal of the night. Hawkins added his third assist of the night with a solo assist.

Craggs decided to ice the victory cake with an empty-netter just 15 second later at 18:42 for a playoff hat trick, setting the score at 5-2. Keenan and Prapavessis added helpers to the empty-netter.

The horn sounded with the Toledo Walleye claiming a 5-2 win over the Kalamazoo Wings to take a 2-0 series lead. Toledo outshot Kalamazoo 16-4 in the third period and a Toledo Walleye playoff record 53 shots overall to Kalamazoo's 24.

Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:

Sam Craggs (3G, GWG) - TOL

Brandon Hawkins (3A) - TOL

Jonathan Lemieux (L, 48/52 SV) - KAL

What's Next:

The Toledo Walleye will take their 2-0 advantage into game three of the Central Division Semi-Final against the Kalamazoo Wings on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at Wings Event Center with puck drop coming at 7:00 pm ET.


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