The Toledo Walleye advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time since 2019 with a 5-1 victory against the Utah Grizzlies in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday in West Valley City, Utah.
The Walleye, who have served as the ECHL’s affiliate for the Detroit Red Wings since 2009, will face the Florida Everblades in the final. Game 1 is Friday, June 1 at the Huntington Center in Toledo at 7:35 p.m.
Macomb’s Brandon Hawkins led Toledo’s offense with two goals and Howell’s TJ Hensick, Marcus Vela and Brett Boeing added singles.
Other local players on the Walleye are: Matt Berry (Canton), Cam Clarke (Tecumseh), Ryan Lowney (Redford) and Max Milosek (Lapeer).
Canada, Finland advance
Defenseman Miro Heiskanen had a goal and two assists and Finland beat the United States 4-3 on Saturday to set up its third straight world hockey championship final against Canada in Tampere, Finland.
Dylan Cozens scored twice in Canada’s 6-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the other semifinal. Finland beat Canada in the 2019 final in Slovakia, and Canada topped the Finns last year in Latvia.
“We know the building is going to be rocking and the Finns are playing for gold at home,” Cozens said. “But we need to try to have a strong start and not let (Finland) build momentum from their fans.”
Sami Vatanen, Joel Armia and Sakari Manninen also scored for Finland and Jussi Olkinuora made 25 saves. The Finns won their first Olympic title this year in Beijing.
“It’s special,” defenseman Mikko Lehtonen said. “At the moment, it’s always one game. It’s a final. It doesn’t matter who you play, but in front of the home fans, it’s always special for us.”
Nate Schmidt, Sean Farrell and Adam Gaudette scored for the Americans. Jeremy Swayman stopped 22 shots.
“It’s definitely a tough one,” Farrell said. “We battled as hard as we could, but they’re a really good team and they ended up coming out on top. We’ve just got to refocus and be ready to battle for a bronze tomorrow.”
In Canada’s victory, Kent Johnson (University of Michigan), Adam Lowry, Matt Barzal and Cole Sillinger also scored and Chris Dreidger made 25 saves.
“We came here to win,” Canadian defenseman Ryan Graves said. “We take pride in our hockey. As Canadians, hockey’s in our blood so I know everyone back home is rooting for us to get gold. It’s an honor to play for your country and that’s the whole reason we come over here.”
David Krejci scored for the Czech Republic.