Keenan Hat Trick Helps Walleye Complete Sweep
CORALVILLE, IA – Conlan Keenan scored his first career hat trick, helping lead the Toledo Walleyes to a three-game sweep of their series against the Iowa Heartlanders. Brandon Hawkins added two goals in the 5-1 victory and John Lethemon stopped 44 shots. Bo Hanson scored the only goal for Iowa.
Toledo took the lead 3:43 into the contest. Riley McCourt passed the puck back to the point to Kirill Tyutyayev, who lifted a wrist shot. Keenan redirected the puck past Corbin Kaczperski for his fifth goal of the season making it 1-0.
Kaczperski was keeping Iowa in this contest, as Toledo continued to pepper the Heartlanders netminder, taking 12 shots in the first and 15 in the second. They finally added their second goal of the game at 18:12 when Hawkins netted his first goal of the contest. With the Walleye on the power-play, Tyutyayev slung the puck along the blue line to Hawkins, who fired a wrist shot over the glove hand of Kaczperski to make it 2-0.
In the third, the Heartlanders began the pressure Toledo, outshooting them 15-9. However, it would be the Walleye coming away with three more goals in the frame to seal the victory.
The first came at 4:34 when Keenan scored his second goal of the contest. Mitchell Heard made a great backhand, flip pass in the neutral zone onto the stick of Keenan just before he entered the Heartlanders zone. The forward then sped across the crease, tucking a backhander between the legs of Kaczperski to make it 3-0.
Iowa got on the board 9:16 when Hanson scored his first goal of the year. Alec Broetzman won the draw inside the Walleye end to Yuki Miuri, who quickly passed it back to the point to Hanson. He blasted a laser past Lethemon for his first professional goal.
Iowa was back in the contest, but Toledo would seal the victory with a pair of goals just 82 seconds apart. The first came at 14:14 when Hawkins scored his second goal of the game. Trenton Bliss intercepted a pass inside his own zone, then sprung Hawkins on a breakaway with a beautiful pass through the neutral zone. Hawkins moved toward his backhand before coming back to his forehand, beating Kaczperski for his 15th of the year.
With 4:24 left in the contest, Keenan finished off the scoring with his third of the afternoon. Ryan Lowney took a shot from the point that Kaczperski saved, but Keenan knocked in the rebound for his seventh goal of the year.
Heard, McCourt, and Tyutyayev each had two assists. The 44 saves by Lethemon were a single game hi for the netminder.
The Iowa Heartlanders (7-20-9) will look to snap their six-game losing streak when they welcome the Fort Wayne Komets (15-14-6) on Friday. The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier