Unlike their NHL affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings have clinched a spot in the playoffs. Not only have they clinched a spot (4th seed in the Central Division) they also know the identity of their opponent — the Toledo Walleye. Since the division seedings are set up, the ECHL has released the schedule for the first-round matchup. The battle for the Kelly Cup will begin on Friday April 14th (home games in bold).
- Friday, April 14 @ Toledo, 7:35 p.m.
- Saturday, April 15 @ Toledo, 7:35 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 18 @ Kalamazoo, 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 19 @ Kalamazoo, 7 p.m.
- Friday, April 21 @ Toledo, 7:35 p.m. (if necessary)
- Sunday, April 23 @ Kalamazoo, 3 p.m. (if necessary)
- Tuesday, April 25 @ Toledo, 7:35 p.m. (if necessary)
The winner of this series will take on either Fort Wayne or Quad City in the next round.
Kalamazoo played decently against Toledo throughout the season, picking up nine points in ten meetings. Two of their wins came at the Huntington Center where the Walleye had put up an impressive 25-7-1-2 record this year.
Justin Taylor led the way with nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in the season series while both Nick Riopel and Joel Martin had two wins. With the possibility of three sets of back-to-back games it wouldn’t be surprising to see both goaltenders get action in the series.
The K-Wings will have to find a way to slow down the most prolific offense in the league. The Walleye have rack up 283 goals this season (with three games remaining) and scored six goals in a game twice against Kalamazoo. Twenty-eight times in 2016-17, Toledo has scored five or more goals in a game.
Toledo boasts four players with 20 or more goals, led by the Spink brothers - Tyson (33) and Tylor (27). Shane Berschbach leads the team in points with 78. Tylor Spink is currently in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, but is expected to return to Toledo before the playoffs start.
Kalamazoo finishes the regular season this weekend with a Friday game in Wheeling before returning to the Wings Event Center on Saturday to take on the Nailers in the final game of the regular season.