After a successful month of October hockey your Toledo Walleye sit second in the ECHL with a record of 6-1-0-0! Following their opening night loss against Atlanta, the Walleye recovered to claim their third best start through seven games in franchise history. Toledo has been led by their high powered offense, which has had some young forwards help lead the charge. Two of these forwards also happen to be really hard to tell apart out of jersey, because they’re identical twins. Tylor and Tyson Spink have gotten off to a flying start for the 2016-17 season, and sit at the top of the league for rookie point scorers.
Have you ever known a pair of identical twins? If you haven’t, let me tell you something about them: they are mentally connected. What do I mean by that? Well, it seems that identical twins always seem to know what the other is thinking, or even what they are doing, without seeing or hearing them. It’s a kind of connection that can be easily observed, but difficult to explain. Sort of like maternal instinct. I used to run track with a pair of identical twins, and you couldn’t find a better pairing for the relay events. Tylor and Tyson Spink take this to a whole new level, as they have taken their connection to the ice unlike anyone I have seen before. The Spink brothers went to Colgate University together and played four years of college hockey, accounting for 92 goals and 151 assists between the two forwards. Tyson lead the team in points for three consecutive seasons starting in 2013 and ending in the spring this year, while Tylor made the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) All-Rookie Team for the 2012-13 season. At the end of the ECHL season last year they got their first taste of professional hockey with the Walleye; with five regular season games for Tyson, seven for Tyson, and both played all seven games during the 2015-16 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Spinks contributed 13 points for the regular season and 11 for the playoffs last season, and they wasted no time in adding on to their point totals this fall.
Remember how I mentioned the Spinks lead all rookies in points for the ECHL? Well they sit first and second, with third place being occupied by Josh Atkinson of the Atlanta Gladiators. Tyson is first with nine points in seven games, four of those points coming from a four goal game at the Walleye home opener on October 22nd. Tylor comes in at eight points over seven games, with six assists being the main source of production for him. Three of those assists came by feeding brother Tyson during the home opener. By the way, their plus minus rating comes in at +8 for Tylor and +7 for Tyson, which puts them second and third in the league along with fellow Walleye rookie defenseman Simon Denis (+7). Their success has gotten the ECHL’s attention, because they have rewarded both Tyson and Tylor Spink! Tylor Spink earned the AMI Graphics ECHL Plus Performer of the Month due to his +8 rating, which was highest in the ECHL at the time. Tyson Spink took the top honor for rookies, being named the CCM ECHL Rookie of the Month. Both rookies also have a point streak of six games as they head into the weekend series against the Wheeling Nailers.
Needless to say, the Spink twins have impressed me just as much as they have impressed the ECHL. I know they could score from what I saw of them last season, but I never thought they would get off to the start they have. Obviously I am thrilled to see rookies step up and support our center piece offensive players, I just didn’t expect it to happen so fast. We’re going to need them to continue their dominance to keep up our success, especially since Kyle Bonis just agreed to a professional tryout with the Rochester Americans of the AHL. Guess that just means we’ll have to let the twins out to play, and I can’t wait to see it Saturday. Let’s Go Walleye!
EDIT: Mistook the first picture for Nolan Zajac when it was Beau Schmitz. Corrected caption.
Pictures are taken by Jarrod Maneval and used with his permission.