Kalamazoo (28-22-1-2) vs Toledo (31-14-4-3)
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Last Time Out:
The K-Wings scored each of the first three goals as they took a 5-2 victory over the Mavericks on Saturday night in Kansas City. Brandon Anselmini got Kalamazoo on the board just over five minutes into the opening period to open the scoring. Chris Collins and Zach Saar added on goals of their own before the Mavs finally got a puck past Jake Hildebrand. Kansas City would score twice to cut the Kalamazoo lead to a single goal, but that was as close as the Mavs would get. Kalamazoo got a pair of goals in the final period from Tanner Sorenson to retake a three-goal lead, and round out the scoring at 5-2. Kalamazoo stayed in third place in the Central Division with the victory, tied with the Fort Wayne Komets. Sorenson finished the night with four points, while Chris Collins tacked on a pair of points for Kalamazoo. Jake Hildebrand stopped 21 of 23 shots on the way to his 11th straight victory.
Saving His Way Into the Record Books:
Jake Hildebrand's 11th straight victory on Saturday night moved the goaltender into a tied with seven other ECHL netminders for the sixth longest win-streak all time. Florida's Jeremy Helvig already played his way into the ECHL record books this season with a 13-game streak that put him into a tie for the third longest streak with Roanoke's Danial Berthiaume (94-95). Missouri's Josh Robinson (2015-16) holds the league record with a 21-game winning streak. Hildebrand has already set a career high for wins in a season (19).
Tight in the Central:
After Wheeling defeated the Brampton Beast on Tuesday morning the Central Division playoff race tightened up even more, with only four points separating third place from sixth. Cincinnati (83pts) and Toledo (69pts) sit in first and second with slight breathing room, before the tight race for third through sixth begins. Kalamazoo and Fort Wayne are tied for third place with 59 points, while Wheeling is in fifth with 56 points, and Indy is in sixth with 55 points. Kalamazoo will play 16 of the last 19 games of the regular season against Central Division opponents. The top four teams from each division qualify for the playoffs.
Head to Head:
The Walleye have held the edge over the K-Wings this season having won five of the first eight meetings between the teams. Five of those victories have come in regulation, while the K-Wings only two wins have come after in either a shootout or overtime. Chris Collins leads the K-Wings so far in the series, having notched seven points (4g, 3a). Kyle Blaney (3g) and Tyler Ganly (2g) are the only other K-Wings to have notched more than a single goal against the Walleye this season. Tanner Sorenson is second on the team with six points (1g, 5a). Toledo's Greg Wolfe leads all skaters in the series with 11 points (2g, 9a), while Shane Berschbach is second with ten points (4g, 6a). Altogether ten different Walleye skaters have scored more than once against the K-Wings this season.
A four point night for Tanner Sorenson on Saturday night against the Mavericks helped the forward continue his rise up the K-Wings leaderboards, improving his point totals to 49 points (16g, 33a) while having appeared in 36 games for Kalamazoo. Sorenson ranks third on the team in scoring behind Reid Gardiner and Chris Collins. The Anchorage, AK native is only two points back from Collins, while having played five less games. He also leads the K-Wings with 15 power play assists this season.
Defenseman Brandon Anselmini was recalled to the Utica Comets on Monday afternoon, making him the third player in the last two weeks to be recalled to the Comets. Anselmini joins forwards Reid Gardiner and Kyle Thomas with the Comets. Utica currently sits in fourth place in the North Division, two points back from third place Toronto, and four back from second place Syracuse.