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Kalamazoo right winger Matt Jones scored four goals to single-handedly pin Toledo with a 7-3 loss last night.
Jones doubled his season total in goals scored with two in the first period and two in the second. Kalamazoo (13-6-2) had 49 shots and extended its lead in the ECHL North Division, while the Walleye (9-8-4) remain in third place.
Jones put his team up 2-0 after one period. Then after Toledo tied it with three goals in a span of less than four minutes, Jones put his team in front 4-3.
"Obviously it's a great feeling," Jones said. "It felt like everything I was shooting was going in. My teammates were finding me and things were clicking."
Jones, who had 19 goals in a two-year college career, said the last time he scored a hat trick was in juniors.
"I'd have to [go] way back to high school for that," said Jones, who had seven shots. "It was a big night for the team."
In a wild six-goal second period, the teams combined to score five times in 4:22. Jones scored on two of three shots as the Wings took a 5-3 lead.
"He had one of those nights," Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. "The puck was just going in for him. Everything he did turned out to be golden."
Jones got an assist on a goal that made it 6-3 with 5:37 left. Moments later the 6,025 fans at Lucas County Arena cheered on two simultaneous fights. Toledo's Bryan Ewing fought with Travis Granbois while Walleye defenseman Jonathan Carlsson took on Bryan Jurynec.
Toledo's Ryan Stokes then smoked Jones with a big punch in a brief fight near the end. Kalamazoo added insult to injury with a goal with one second left.
The teams have combined for 40 goals in four games with Toledo winning three.
Walleye goaltender Alec Richards, who was reassigned before last night's game after playing for Rockford of the AHL on Friday, made 42 saves. Vitucci said Richards (5-2-3) may have been fatigued.
"He's been a warrior for us," Vitucci said. "It's kind of like a pitcher. I wanted to give him a chance to get out of the inning."
Toledo broke through on Justin Hodgman's fifth goal of the season. Just 29 seconds later, J.C. Sawyer (team-high 24 points) converted his rebound to tie it at 2. But a minute after that Jones notched his third as the teams combined for three goals in 1:35.
Toledo tied it on Maxime Tanguay's fine effort in the slot. But Jones put the Wings back in front 4-3 just 13 seconds later. Kalamazoo then went up 5-3 with 4:21 left.
Toledo wrapped up an eight-game homestand with a 3-4-1 record. The team travels to Wheeling today for a game at 6:35 p.m.
"We need more energy," Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. "We need more players that are going to get the fans out of their seats."
FISH TALES: Toledo was outshot 49-38. … Richards has posted a 2-1-0 record with a 2.02 GAA for Rockford. He started in a 2-1 win over Toledo's other AHL affiliate Grand Rapids. … After 10 games Toledo had posted a 6-3-1 record. But over the next 10 contests, the Walleye went 3-4-3.
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