The Kalamazoo Wings scored two goals in the final five minutes to cap a three-goal rally, but were unable to score in the shootout and fell to the Toledo Walleye 4-3 during the 31st Annual “World Famous” St. Patrick’s Day Green Ice Game, presented by Fifth-Third Bank, WWMT and WRKR.
Kalamazoo came out of the gates firing on all cylinders; however it was Toledo who would score twice in the opening period. Todd Griffith (17th) got the scoring started for the Walleye with his power play tally 11:25 into the period.
A minute and a half later, Toledo would take a two-goal lead with the sixteenth goal of the season from forward, Harrison Reed. His wrist shot from the right side beat Kalamazoo goalie, Riley Gill over the glove.
In a penalty filled second period that featured 19 infractions for a combined 54 minutes, both teams actually found time to score. Capturing their third-goal on a odd-man rush, Andrej Nestrasil (7th) scored on a backhander 8:59 into the period.
Registering their first goal late in the second, Dwight Helminen (4th) stopped in front of the Walleye net and batted in a Darryl Bootland rebound with 49 seconds remaining in the period.
The third period featured the same hard hitting from both teams and remained scoreless until late in the period. Helminen (5th) took a hard wrist shot from the blue line the knuckled past the Toledo’s Alec Richards for his second of the game.
The K-Wings, however, where not done. With only 1:46 remaining in the regulation, Nick Sirota (16th) buried a shot from the slot off a pass from Kory Karlander to tie the game 3-3.
Toledo went into overtime with a 4-on-3 power play advantage but was unable to capitalize as the sudden death period remained scoreless and both teams headed to a shootout.
In the shootout Joey Martin tallied the only goal for either squad and to secure the victory for Toledo.
Kalamazoo and Toledo will meet again Sunday, March 18th with a 4 p.m. encounter at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.
The K-Wings will return to Wings Stadium this Friday, March 23rd versus the Chicago Express at 7:30 p.m. during Celebration! Cinema Night, featuring Batman and Spiderman and a Frugal Fan Friday, featuring $1 Beer, $1 Hot Dogs and $1 Pepsi Products.
Submitted by Mike Modugno