TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Toledo Walleye advanced to the second round of the ECHL playoffs by defeating the Kalamazoo Wings 3-1 in Game 7.
Breaking from the offensive trend in the first six games of the series, game 7 featured stiff defense and strong play by both goalies.
The first puck dropped just after 7:30 p.m. at the Huntington Center.
Both defense were stout in the first period, with neither team allowing a goal. However, just barely a minute into the game, Toledo's Landon Oslanski and Kalamazoo's Kyle Blaney were both sent to the penalty box for five minutes after a fight broke out between the two.
Late in the second period, AJ Jenks assisted Kyle Bonis on a goal that gave the Walleye a 1-0 lead.
Less than one minute of game time later, Kalamazoo tied the game at one with a goal by Charlie Vasaturo.
The 1-1 score held for the remainder of the period.
The Walleye exploded midway through the third and final period.
First, Evan Rankin slapped in a goal to make the score 2-1. Barely 30 seconds of game later, Zak Nastasiuk scored to give Toledo a 3-1 lead.
It was an up-and-down series for both teams, where home ice meant all the difference.
The Walleye took the first two games 4-3 and 4-1 respectively.
But when the series shifted back to Kalamazoo, the Wings dominated Toledo's defense with scores of 6-4 and 8-5.
With series now tied at two, Toledo won the pivotal fifth game with an goal by A.J. Jenks with only 23 seconds remaining.
However, the Wings could not be counted out. They tied the series with a 4-3 victory in Kalamazoo.
Toledo's victory helps the team get past a devastating loss in Game 7 of the first round of the 2016 ECHL playoffs.
Toledo will now play the Fort Wayne Comets. Game 1 will be Friday night at the Huntington Center.