Editor's Note: The attached video originally aired on May 20, 2022.
The Toledo Walleye are taking on the Florida Everblades in this year's Kelly Cup finals, which begin with game one in Toledo Friday night.
The best-of-seven series determines the champion of the ECHL.
The Walleye were last in the finals in 2019, when they were defeated by the Newfoundland Growlers.
The Kelly Cup was canceled in 2020 and the Walleye opted out of playing in 2021, both times because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toledo clinched the Brabham Cup for best record in the regular season and with it, home-ice advantage throughout the entire playoffs.
The Walleye have a 12-2 ECHL playoff record this year. To reach the finals, they defeated Cincinnati Cyclones in the first round, the Wheeling Nailers in the second round and the Utah Grizzlies in the third round.
While Toledo has won championships in the past, the Walleye have not won the Kelly Cup in the history of the franchise.
This is only the second trip to the finals for the fish.
Wednesday, June 8: Kelly Cup Finals, game 3
The fish head down to Estero for games 3, 4 and 5 on the Everblades home ice at Hertz Arena.
Brandon Hawkins and John Albert scored in the first period to make it a 2-0 game. Marcus Vela added a shorthanded goal in the second period and Hawkins would put the game away with an empty-net goal in the third period.
Florida holds a 2-1 lead over Toledo, but the Walleye pick up the much-needed win before Friday's Game 4.
Saturday, June 4: Kelly Cup Finals, game 2
Florida wins 3-1.
Florida takes a 2-0 series lead over the Walleye.
Game 3 is Wednesday, June 8 in Florida.
Forward Marcus Vela gets the Walleye their first goal of the game with 11:05 left to go. It's 3-1 Everblades.
At the end of 2 it's 3-0 Everblades. Everblades have taken 16 shots to Toledo's 15.
Everblades tack on another one on a power play goal 15:52 into the second period. Take 3-0 lead over the Walleye.
Walleye have some work to do. 2-0 Everblades at end of 1st period.
Everblades get a short-handed goal and take a 2-0 lead over the Walleye. Not a great start for Toledo.
Everblades get on the board first after just 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
The Walleye take a 4-minute penalty just 20 seconds in. It looked like they scored a shorthanded goal. The officials reviewed it and said no goal. Chaos, but looked like the right call after review.
The sell out crowd of 8600 rowdy hockey fans is getting pumped.
Toledo Walleye and Florida Everblades begin warm-ups before the 7:35 p.m. puck drop. It's another packed house as the Walleye host their 10th consecutive sold-out game of the playoffs. It's the Walleye's 30th sell-out of the season.
Friday, June 3: Kelly Cup Finals: Game 1
Friday marks Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Finals.
The Toledo Walleye face off against the Florida Everblades at the Huntington Center. The puck drops at 7:35 p.m.
As of 10 a.m., tickets are limited, but still available, for fans who wanted to catch the action. Currently, the cheapest ticket is going for $184.
Puck drop is in about 90 minutes.
The traditional hockey pre-game warm-up of two-touch is underway.
"Mr. Walleye" Evan Rankin drops the ceremonial puck.
Game one is underway.
GOAL! Randy Gazzola blasts a pass from Mitchell Heard past Florida goaltender Cam Johnson at 14:01 of the first period. Toledo has the first goal of the Kelly Cup Finals.
Walleye lead 1-0.
GOAL! Walleye special teams get to work on a Florida penalty. John Albert finds the back of the net. It's a powerplay goal.
Walleye lead 2-0.
End of the first period of play.
Walleye head to the dressing room up 2-0 over the Everblades.
Start of the second period.
Florida gets on the board with a powerplay goal.
Walleye still lead 2-1.
End of the second period. Walleye hold the lead 2-1.
Officially a sellout at the Huntington Center with a capacity crowd of 8,600.
Florida scores. Game is tied 2-2 with 13:15 to go in the third period.
Florida's Alex Aleardi nets his second of the game and the period.
Everblades lead 3-2 with 1:41 left to play in regulation.
Final score Florida Everblades 3, Toledo Walleye 2.
Here's a look at the ECHL's full schedule.
- Game 1 – Friday, June 3 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo
- Game 2 – Saturday, June 4 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo
- Game 3 – Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
- Game 4 – Friday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
- Game 5 – Saturday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)
- Game 6 – Tuesday, June 14 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo (If Necessary)
- Game 7 – Thursday, June 16 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo (If Necessary)