After scoring his first professional goal, Walleye rookie Jake Chelios knew exactly who would get the puck.
Chelios scored one of Toledo's five goals in Sunday's 5-1 win over Kalamazoo. Chelios, the son of NHL legend Chris Chelios, tallied his first late in the second period.
“In any level of hockey, you remember your first goal and obviously this is a special one for me,” Jake said. “I have [the puck] in my locker. I think I will give it to my grandparents.”
With his father looking on from behind the Walleye bench, Chelios scored Toledo's last goal. The defenseman’s one-timer came from the slot after a perfect pass from Jesse Messier.
“It was awesome mostly because I didn't have to do a lot of the work,” Jake said, laughing. “Messier put it right on my stick and all I had to do was put it in.”
The Walleye knocked off Kalamazoo for the second consecutive night. Toledo scored two goals in the first period and added three more in the second before a crowd of 7,219 at the Huntington Center.
Max Shalunov scored two goals, while Ryan Flanigan, Richard Nedomlel, and Chelios each scored one. Goalie Hannu Toivonen, who was in net for Toledo's 2-1 win in Kalamazoo on Saturday night, finished with 28 saves.
Trailing 1-0, Toledo tallied five unanswered goals. The Walleye scored consecutive goals 3:10 apart late in the first period to take the lead.
“We have shooters on our team,” Walleye coach Dan Watson said. “As long as we're going to the net and creating havoc and traffic we should be able to score some goals.”
Toledo tied it at 1 when Shalunov intercepted a clearing attempt by Kalamazoo goalie Jordan Binnington (28 saves) with 4:14 left in first period.
The Walleye seized the lead for good when Flanigan scored on a nice assist from Kyle Bodie from behind the Kalamazoo net with 1:04 left in the first.
Toledo had played two games on the road prior to Saturday.
“We had excellent energy. You always worry about playing three in three,” Watson said. “We kept it simple.”
Shalunov scored his 14th of the season to give the Walleye a 3-1 lead. The assist came from Kyle Rogers, who had a solo breakaway and backhanded a pass back to Shalunov.
Toledo took a 4-1 advantage on Nedomlel's long slap shot.
His power play goal came with 14:37 left in the second period.
Chelios now has a goal and an assist in five games. Jake and his brother Dean signed with the team after both wrapped up four-year college careers at Michigan State.
“He is going to have a very bright future at higher levels for sure,” Watson said of Jake Chelios.
The Walleye, who have seven games left in the season, play at Wheeling on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Toledo (21-39-5) returns home Friday to host Fort Wayne on the same day the Mud Hens baseball team has its season opener.
“We're starting to come together as a team,” Watson said. “Everyone is gelling. No matter what the overall record is … we are 3-1-1 in our last five. If we believe we can win every night, we will.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.