TOLEDO, Ohio — A hat trick by Brandon Hawkins with some extra insurance from John Albert advances the Toledo Walleye in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
A new record crowd of 8,600 fans packed into the Huntington Center for the do-or-die contest and the Walleye got the job done.
"They showed up. They did everything we needed them to do and a little bit more in some cases," said head coach Dan Watson. "We're happy we're moving on."
"You got to give credit to the boys for showing up do-or-die two straight games," said captain T.J. Hensick. "And you got to give credit to the fans. The energy that they create and bring is out of this world."
Eliminating the Cyclones in seven games after returning to the Huntington Center for two must-win games after losses to Cincinnati, the Walleye open the Central Division finals at home Friday with game 2 Saturday against the Wheeling Nailers.