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Hawkins Puts on a Show as Walleye Shut Down Komets, 3-2

January 15, 2022 - ECHL (ECHL) - Toledo Walleye News Release

TOLEDO, Ohio - Brandon Hawkins scored twice, including a goal from behind the net in the second period, Max Milosek had another 40-save performance, and the Toledo Walleye skated past the Fort Wayne Komets, 3-2, at the Huntington Center on Saturday night.

The Fish never trailed in the contest, with Brett Boeing scoring the game-winning goal as the second period wound down. Toledo is unbeaten in regulation in their last ten home contests, improving to 21-8-2 on the season.

The Walleye held the Komets scoreless in the first period behind 16 saves from Max Milosek. The Komets applied pressure early, sending shots toward Toledo's goal one after the other, and Milosek kept Fort Wayne out of the net as the score remained even for most of the period.

The Fish received their first power play opportunity with 13:13 gone when Fort Wayne's Oliver Cooper caught Randy Gazzola with a stick to the face. Cooper received a four-minute double minor for the high-sticking penalty, giving Toledo the man advantage until late in the period. The Fish had multiple chances at a goal, but the Komets ultimately killed off the penalty to come back to full strength.

Less than a minute later, Brandon Hawkins found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season, putting the Walleye up, 1-0. Hawkins was assisted by Brandon Schultz and TJ Hensick. The Walleye maintained their lead for the final 1:54 of the period to enter the first intermission with the lead. Fort Wayne outshot Toledo, 16-14, in the period.

Hawkins extended the Walleye lead with a goal from behind the net at the 7:22 mark of a highlight-filled period, making the score 2-0 for the Fish. Conlan Keenan and Butrus Ghafari assisted Hawkins as he skated behind the net and wrapped the puck around past goaltender Mario Culina for the score.

The excitement continued as Austin McIlmurray and Will Graber fought with 11:33 gone in the period. Both players received five-minute fighting majors. 13 seconds later, Connor Jones netted Fort Wayne's first goal to trim the Walleye lead to 2-1. Zach Tolkinen and Anthony Petruzzelli recorded the assists. Then, Cole Fraser was called for interference to send the Komets to the power play. The Fish earned the penalty kill and looked to defend their lead as the period continued.

Brett Boeing netted Toledo's third goal of the night with 53 seconds remaining in the second period. The goal, assisted by Mitchell Heard, was his ninth of the season. As the period wound down, Cole Fraser and Matt Alvaro found themselves arguing in the penalty box after Fraser was called for cross-checking and Alvaro received a slashing call. Alvaro was released from the penalty box at the end of the period, followed by Fraser, and the Walleye entered the final intermission with the 3-1 lead.

The third period started out with 30 seconds of four-on-four hockey as Fraser and Alvaro served the remainder of their penalties. Then, Brett Boeing joined Fraser in the penalty box on a holding penalty, giving the Fish a two-man disadvantage. Toledo prevented the Komets from scoring, coming back to full strength unscathed. Just seven seconds later, Kellen Jones found the back of the net to bring the Komets within one score with 17:23 left to play. Matt Murphy and Connor Jones provided the helpers.

The Komets and Walleye ended up on the power play two more times during the contest, but neither team was able to score on the power play, leaving Fort Wayne searching for a goal as time ran down. The Komets emptied their net with 44 seconds remaining but could not get the puck past Max Milosek as time expired. The Walleye earned their 21st victory of the season with the 3-2 win and have not lost in regulation for ten straight home games.

Toledo edged Fort Wayne in the shooting battle, 43-42, as both teams earned four power play opportunities. Neither team converted with the man advantage. Max Milosek made 40 saves for the second straight night to come away with the win for the Walleye. He faced 42 shots while only allowing two goals. Mario Culina was credited with the loss for the Komets. He made 40 saves on 43 shots for Fort Wayne.

What's Next:

The Walleye travel to Cincinnati tomorrow to take on the Cyclones for the third time this season. Puck drop from Heritage Bank Center is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Three Stars:

Toledo - Brandon Hawkins (two goals)

Toledo - Brett Boeing (game-winning goal)

Toledo - Max Milosek (W, 40 saves)

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