Absolute mayhem broke out at the Huntington Center on Saturday night after Toledo Walleye forward Connor Crisp tallied a hat trick and Kansas City took out its frustration.
A fight ensued on the ice shortly after Crisp scored his third goal with 8 minutes, 4 seconds left in regulation, including a brawl between Toledo goalie Matej Machovsky and Mavericks goalkeeper Mason McDonald.
Crisp scored three goals and Machovsky earned a shutout to boost the Toledo’s season-high winning streak to seven games. Toledo maintained its winning ways with a wild 5-0 shutout of Kansas City before a capacity crowd of 8,000 at the Huntington Center. The Walleye (32-12-4) also increased their home winning streak to eight games.
The longest winning streak in franchise history was nine games, from Nov. 11 to Dec. 9, 2016.
PHOTO GALLERY: Walleye 5, Mavericks 0
After Crisp scored his third of the game, a fight broke out and fans went absolutely wild. Kansas City forward Garrett Klotz punched Walleye forward A.J. Jenks after play had stopped. Klotz then repeatedly cross-checked Jenks as he lay on the ice.
Walleye coach Dan Watson called the situation “absolutely embarrassing.”
“Their coaching staff should be embarrassed. Their organization should be embarrassed,” Watson said. “Klotz should be suspended for the rest of the year. I think he should be done. It’s unacceptable. Our league is trying to get rid of the image from the 1980s and 1990s. If this is going to continue, it won’t we’ll continue to get a bad rap.”
A scrum ensued, then Machovsky charged out of his net to faceoff with McDonald in a rare fight between goalkeepers.
“I’ve never been part of something like that,” Machovsky said. “It was just crazy. I had to defend my teammates. That’s what I did. It was quick sprint. I was tired when I got there, so it wasn’t a really big fight. I think I held my ground. It’s something you’re not going to [experience] very often in life. So you have to enjoy the moment and get the crowd going.”
Klotz immediately was issued a 5-minute game misconduct penalty and was ejected.
The incident was reminiscent of the one instigated by Kalamazoo captain Ben Wilson on Toledo’s Simon Denis during the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs this past spring.
“I don’t know what happened,” Jenks said. “It was almost like deja vu with what happened with Denis last year. I didn’t appreciate it. I think it was a really cowardly play. I thought if the guy has an issue, hockey is a game where you can take it up face to face. You don’t have to take a cheap shot on somebody.”
A total of 12 penalties were called for 79 minutes between six players involved in the incident. For the game, Kansas City was whistled for 13 penalties for 65 minutes, while Toledo was whistled for 11 penalties and a total of 55 minutes.
Crisp staked the Walleye to a 1-0 lead with 1:03 left in the first period. Crisp scored his 13th goal of the season off of a terrific setup by Dylan Sadowy, who earned his 15th assist. Sadowy skated in over the Kansas City blue line and his drop pass off of his backhand hit Crisp in stride. Crisp then skated across the front of the goal mouth and out-waited McDonald, getting him out of position before flipping the puck in for the lead.
The Walleye were outshot 9-6 in the opening period. Toledo forwards Shane Berschbach and Kyle Bonis both had open looks but fired high and/or wide.
Crisp then scored his second of the night, when he tipped in a shot taken by defenseman Ryan Obuchowski to make it 2-0 at the 8:35 mark of the second.
The Walleye then seized a 3-0 cushion on a power-play goal from Denis, a defenseman. Christian Hilbrich had the key assist with 2:12 left in the second.
Crisp, then Kyle Bonis finished the scoring in the third for Toledo. Crisp said it was his third hat trick of his career.
“What a feeling with the crowd after I scored that third goal. I enjoyed the moment,” he said.
Crisp, who also was involved in the aftermath of the Klotz/Jenks situation, called it unacceptable.
“I came in there hot. I wish I came in there hotter,” Crisp said. “I wanted to hurt him. He was trying to hurt Jenksy. There’s no place in the game for that anymore. It was disgusting.”
Kansas City coach John-Scott Dickson was not available for comment immediately after the game.
Machovsky, who finished with 22 saves, was sharp early. He made two good stops with the Mavericks on a power play minutes into the game. He had five stops during the first 5:30. Machovsky was equally effective in the early portions of the second with six more key stops.
The Walleye won the contenous season series with Kansas City with a 4-2-0 record. The Mavericks (25-23-1), who were playing their third consecutive game and looked fatigued at times, lost its fifth straight.
Watson said the Kansas City coaching staff was sending players out to specifically cause more trouble.
“That made me boil over,” Watson said. “I know we’re beating them and guys get frustrated but at the same time you have to have the ability to hold your emotions in check and understand if a guy wants to fight, ask him to fight. Do it that way. You don’t do it to guy that can’t defend himself. I think it’s a coward move. I’m not happy about it.
“But I love the way our guys stuck up for each other with team toughness. Kudos to Macho for going down there. He did that on his own. Good for him.”
Jenks called it team toughness.
“It was guys sticking up for each other,” he said. “That’s what you want to see. They took some cheap liberties. This is something to build off of. It was a great team win.”
Toledo wraps up a three-game homestand at 5:15 p.m. Sunday against Wichita.
The Walleye then play three straight on the road before retuning home for another three-game weekend homestand Feb. 23-25.
FISH TALES: There was a goal scoring change in Friday’s game. Berschbach is now credited with the game winner. Denis and Mike Borkowski (originally the goal scorer) earned the assists. Berschbach knocked in a rebound after Borkowski’s tipped shot was stopped by McDonald. Walleye officials made the decision after reviewing the play.
■ Temperance native Kent Nusbaum served as Kansas City’s emergency backup goalie. Nusbaum, a 22-year-old, also was the Walleye’s emergency back-up earlier this season.
■ Toledo is averaging more than a sellout per game this year with 7,471 fans per game. The Huntington Center seats 7,431 for hockey. It was the 17th sellout of the season.
■ The Walleye are 26-1-0 when holding teams to two goals or less.
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