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Published: Sunday, 11/3/2013

SPORTS COMMENTARY

Parkes a weapon for Walleye

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

A point-per-game pace would be an objective for any offensive-minded hockey player. But few ever realize it.

Trevor Parkes, on the other hand, is well ahead of the curve.

Parkes played his 29th career game in a Walleye uniform, or whatever it was Toledo was wearing Saturday night, and lifted his points total to 43.

One night after scoring two goals in a 6-4 setback in Kalamazoo, Parkes assisted on Toledo’s first two goals and then iced a 3-1 win over the K-Wings with a third-period tally in front of a full house at the Huntington Center.

The 22-year-old forward now has nine points in the first six games of the 2013-14 season. It’s a level of production the Detroit Red Wings farmhand hasn’t always enjoyed at higher levels.

“In the Red Wings organization he’s one of those guys who gets lost in the shuffle a little,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said of Parkes. “He gets up there and doesn’t have a defined role. It’s more of a defensive role. Here, he has all the freedom he wants on offense. While he’s here, we’ll keep giving him those opportunities.”

Parkes has spent parts of the past three seasons with the Walleye while also playing for the Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. It figures he may be back there before long.

Toledo fans will recall that Parkes was among very few effective scorers in last season’s short Kelly Cup playoff run. He had three goals in the six games.

He now has 23 goals and 20 assists while in a Toledo uniform.

Speaking of Walleye jerseys, they were orange Saturday night because that’s what the X-Wing pilots of the Rebel Alliance wore in Star Wars. I mention that only because the editors said this was short and I had to write a few more paragraphs.

The visiting K-Wings wore Darth Vader-themed sweaters, which made them the bad guys.

So, with Parkes leading the way, good trumped evil. And since the uniforms were auctioned off after the game to benefit a couple charities, presumably never to be seen again, all’s well that ends well.

The beginning of the end for Kalamazoo came seconds after killing a Walleye power play early in the second period. Parkes dug the puck out of the corner, fed it to Scott Arnold, who swung it across the ice to Marek Tvrdon, who got his first goal of the season on a hard shot from the deep right point.

About five minutes later, after sitting out a cheap hooking penalty, Parkes was back on the ice to shoot a pass ahead to a breaking Kyle Rogers, whose shot glanced off the inside of goalie Jordan Binnington’s leg and trickled into the crease.

“I just try to contribute as much as I can,” the 6-foot-2, 202-pound Parkes said. “I want to get my all-around game going. I want to be bigger and stronger and be physical on the puck. I want to use my body to bring the puck to the net. I want to be hard to play against. I want to keep building on my all-around game and hopefully my scoring touch will stick around and get me to the next level.”

Parkes got his goal, Toledo’s team-high fifth, from the slot with less than six minutes to play.

“It’s fun to score goals,” he said. “I’m getting a lot of ice time and I try to do whatever I can to help this team win games.”

His goal made it 3-0 and that was more than enough for a stout defense and goalie Mac Carruth, who came within 70 seconds of a second shutout this season.

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.



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