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 Toledo Walleye

Hawkins Pokes Game-Winning Goal in 3-2 Overtime Win

April 19, 2024 - ECHL (ECHL)
Toledo Walleye News Release

TOLEDO - The Toledo Walleye defeated the Kalamazoo Wings 3-2 in overtime on Friday night at the Huntington Center in game one of the Central Division Semi-Final in the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

What Happened:

The freshly-named ECHL MVP Brandon Hawkins and the Toledo Walleye kicked off their 2024 run to the Kelly Cup by welcoming the Kalamazoo Wings into the Huntington Center for the first game of the Central Division Semi-Final round.

John Lethemon defended the home net for the Walleye. Jacob Graves and Riley McCourt patrolled the blue line while Brandon Hawkins, Trenton Bliss and Mitch Lewandowski led the Toledo attack.

Hunter Vorva split the iron 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.

A back-and-forth first period saw the two teams head to the locker rooms in a scoreless tie. Toledo was outshot 6-11 by Kalamazoo in the period.

The Wings found the scoreboard first at 9:50 of the second period when Ayden MacDonald deflected the puck past Lethemon. Evan Dougherty and Joyaux assisted the icebreaker.

A Tripping call against Riley Sawchuk led to a Kalamazoo power play goal at 12:58, again by MacDonald. This time it was Keefer and Bradford assisting the tally to put Kalamazoo up 2-0.

The Walleye struck back at 13:25 when Sawchuk skated through the crowd and buried a goal. Alexandre Doucet and Jason Willms assisted the first Walleye score.

The Fish came back and tied it up at 18:29 when Sawchuk lit the lamp for the second time on the night. Matt Anderson and Hawkins added helpers to the equalizer.

That wrapped an electric second frame with the Walleye and Wings tied 2-2. Toledo outshot Kalamazoo 14-12 in the period, but trailed 20-23 overall.

An exhilarating third period between the two teams saw no goals, sending the first game of the series to overtime. Toledo outshot Kalamazoo 14-4 in the third period and 34-27 throughout regulation.

Hawkins launched a shot at Vorva and Hawkins dove for the loose rebound, just barely poking it into the back of the net for the game-winning goal at 2:29 of overtime. Lewandowski and Bliss assisted the overtime game-winning goal.

The diving score by the ECHL MVP gave the Walleye a 3-2 overtime win over the Kalamazoo Wings, giving the Fish a 1-0 advantage in the series. Toledo outshot Kalamazoo 6-0 in overtime and 40-27 overall.

Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:

Brandon Hawkins (GWG/OT, 1A) - TOL

Riley Sawchuk (2G) - TOL

Ayden MacDonald (2G) - KAL

What's Next:

The Toledo Walleye will remain at home for game two of the Central Division Semi-Final round against the Kalamazoo Wings tomorrow, Saturday, April 20, 2024, with puck drop coming at 7:15 pm ET.

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