Kalamazoo shuts down Toledo

2/4/2012
BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Nick Vitucci.
Nick Vitucci.

Picture Perfect night for the Toledo Walleye didn't produce a pretty picture inside the Huntington Center.

Kalamazoo came in and thumped the Walleye 4-0 on Saturday night before an announced turnout of 7,266 fans at the Huntington Center.

Toledo's home loss to Kalamazoo came only a day after the Walleye defeated the Wings 5-4 on the Wings' home ice in Kalamazoo.

The latest loss for the Walleye (18-23-4) didn't sit well with Toledo coach Nick Vitucci.

"Tonight was the night of the living dead -- that was our locker room," Vitucci said. "In our locker room there was no emotion."

Kalamazoo (25-15-4) blitzed Toledo with three goals during the second period to quickly turn the meeting between the top team in the East Coast Hockey League North Division -- the Wings -- and the worst team in the North Division -- the Walleye -- into a one-sided contest.

Kalamazoo forward Darryl Bootland, who was a member of the 2002-03 Toledo Storm, scored a goal and registered an assist to lead the rout.

The Wings' forward said his time with the Storm represents one of his fondest years of playing hockey, and he always looks forward to performing before a Toledo crowd.

"Coming back is a lot of fun for me," Bootland said. "It definitely wakes you up a little bit."

After the Walleye and Wings played a nearly clean first period that ended in a scoreless tie, the scene quickly changed during the next 20-minute session.

The Wings came out in the second period playing at a much faster tempo than they did in the first.

It materialized into Kalamazoo putting the puck into the back of the net three times during a five-minute stretch.

Trent Daavettila gave the Wings a 1-0 lead when he scored his ninth goal of the season on a power-play with 12:04 remaining in the second period.

Daavettila retrieved a shot attempt and quickly flipped it by Toledo goalie Dustin Carlson into the back of the net.

Taylor Ellington and Sam Ftorek assisted on the goal.

Kalamazoo's lead over Toledo increased less than two minutes later as Elgin Reid got the puck from Bootland, and flicked it past Carlson with 10:25 to play in the period.

Bootland, who entered the contest having recorded eight goals in six meetings against the Walleye this season, continued to be a thorn in the side of Toledo.

Bootland recorded an unassisted goal on a shot from 15 feet out with 7:48 left in the period.

His goal drew the ire of Vitucci and a Walleye home crowd looking for something positive to cheer for on Picture Perfect night, which gave fans an opportunity to take photographs with Walleye players after the contest.

"That's a team with Bootland, obviously, who scored another goal tonight, and Ftorek, [Kory] Karlander, and Elgin Reid -- skilled hockey players," Vitucci said. "If you give them time and space to make things happen, they will absolutely pick you apart.

"For the first 20 minutes we didn't lay a body on anybody and that was the warning in-between periods, 'You better pick it up or they will pick you apart.' We didn't, and they picked us apart.

"By the end of the game we looked like dogs chasing their tails."

Kalamazoo's Justin Taylor topped the evening for Kalamazoo by scoring with 51.6 seconds remaining in the final period. Ellington and Karlander were credited with assists on the goal.

Carlson finished with 28 saves, while Wings goalie Riley Gill recorded a shutout by making 33 saves.

The Walleye are off until Wednesday night when they play at Cincinnati.

They return to the Huntington Center on Saturday to host the Cyclones.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.