Published: 67 days ago
TOLEDO, OH— A last-minute game winner by the Toledo Walleye’s A.J. Jenks finished off a 3-2 loss for the Kalamazoo Wings in game five of their best-of-seven series on Friday night at the Huntington Center. The Wings now trail the series 3-2 and will play to force a game seven on Sunday at home.
The first period was highlighted by back and forth chances from both teams, while great goaltending by Nick Riopel of Kalamazoo and Jake Paterson of Toledo stole the show. With under three minutes to go, the Wings earned their first power play chance of the game and wouldn’t be silenced. Blake Kessel slid the puck to the top of left circle and Cam Darcy hammered a one-timer into the stick-side corner of the goal for his third of the playoffs.
The Wings’ lead held for the remainder of the first period and into the first half of the second frame. Toledo ended up on the scoresheet for the first time of the night after a great individual effort by Zach Nastasiuk at the 10:14 mark of the period. Nastasiuk drove to the outside of the Kalamazoo zone and then crashed the goal with a sliding forehand that crossed the line and tied the game at one.
Just over six minutes later, Kalamazoo rebuilt their one-goal advantage and took a 2-1 lead. The Wings gained the Walleye zone and patiently waited for reinforcements to join the attack. Eric Kattelus caught up to the play and was delivered a drop pass from Tyler Biggs which was snapped towards the net. Paterson stopped the drive from Kattelus, but Brian Hart hurried to the loose rebound and turned the puck into the net for his third of the playoffs.
With less than a minute remaining in the second period, the Walleye drew the game at 2-2 after a battle in front of the goal allowed Tyson Spink to chip the puck past the stick-side of Riopel. The goal was Spink’s third of the playoffs and set the tone for a dramatic third period.
During the third period, Kalamazoo spent most of the time in the Toledo zone, but couldn’t find a tiebreaker. With under a minute remaining in regulation, the Walleye won a faceoff in their own zone and floated the puck up the ice for Jenks, who chased it down and barreled into the Kalamazoo end with a defender on his hip. Jenks looked up and picked the short-side corner of the goal for the game winner with just 23 seconds left.
Next: Kalamazoo vs. Toledo Walleye, Round One-Game Six (best-of-seven series)- Sunday, April 23, 3:00 p.m., Wings Event Center.
Broadcast information: Sunday’s game will air on AM 1660 The Fan in Kalamazoo or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live.
Notes: Toledo lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2… Peter Schneider has points in 19 straight games dating back to March 5… Darcy is second among all ECHL playoff scorers with nine points in five games…Kalamazoo went 1/3 on the power play and 3/3 on the penalty kill…
Single-game tickets are on sale! Tickets start as low as $10 and can be purchased at www.kwings.com/tickets/schedule or at the Wings Event Center box office.
Wings Event Center, owned and operated by Greenleaf Hospitality Group, is home to the minor league hockey team Kalamazoo Wings and a full entertainment venue offering concerts, sporting events, family shows and trade shows. Built in 1974, Wings Event Center values partnerships with the community to bring events and attractions that enrich the lives of residents in the Kalamazoo area.