Missed opportunities haunt Walleye as losing skid hits three, lose 4-1 against EvansvilleWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo couldn’t capitalize on opportunities and allowed two power play goals as the Evansville IceMen got their second-straight win 4-1 Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Huntington Center.
“We had opportunities, we moved it around, just didn’t bang them in,” said Walleye head coach Nick Vitucci. “It was a frustrating night. I thought special teams were the difference and that’s the story in my mind. We could’ve come out hard and physical, but we didn’t.”
Despite outshooting Evansville (2-6-1) 36-28 and having five power play opportunities, the Walleye (4-4-1) couldn’t execute.
“We’re getting our chances on the power play but we can’t bury it,” said right winger Kyle Rogers. “Yeah, we’re moving the puck around, but that doesn’t show up on the score sheet. We’re getting our chances and sooner or later hopefully they’ll start rolling in. We’ve got to get a little meaner in front of the net and make sure the loose pucks that we’re whacking away at get two or three shots off it and hope for one and hope that goes in.”
One opportunity for Rogers came late in the third period when he fired a shot in front of the net, but Evansville defenseman Aaron Gens made a last-second effort and dove across the crease, preventing it from breaking the plane.
Coming into Saturday’s game, Toledo was fourth in the ECHL on the penalty kill at 89.2 percent (33-for-37). Tonight, the Walleye gave up two goals on four attempts.
“They definitely capitalized on the power play and we were a bit sluggish on the PK there,” Rogers said.
Vitucci said the team has to improve on their inside game and be more aggressive inside the perimeter.
“Right now we’re a perimeter skilled hockey team and that doesn’t work in pro hockey,” he said. “It doesn’t work not getting your nose dirty, not going in there causing turnovers, not trying to create things from the turnovers you just got. Right now we’re a perimeter team hoping for pucks to bounce out so we can go up-ice and score and that’s not good enough if you’re not going to be physical and not finish checks to cause turnovers.”
The loss puts the Walleye on a three-game losing streak. Toledo dropped two close games Nov. 1 at Wheeling and then the next night against Fort Wayne.
The Walleye lost their first shootout of the season Thursday. Both teams scored two goals apiece in the first period and that was it until the shootout, which Toledo lost 3-2 against the Nailers.
The next night at the Huntington Center, the Walleye fell behind against the Komets 2-1 going into the third period. Randy Rowe buried the puck early in the final period to tie it up at two.
But after two unanswered goals by the Komets, the lead was too much for Toledo as they lost 4-3.
“I thought last night we still played hard and we played well and were still in it,” Vitucci said. “Tonight, our overall effort was overall disappointing.”
After a scoreless first period, the offense got started 3:13 into the second when Byron Froese took a pass from Terry Broadhurst that cut across the goaltender and sent it into the net, giving the Walleye the 1-0 advantage.
Evansville tied it up almost 4:30 later when Austin Madaisky fired a shot during the power play that was initially saved by Simpson; but he couldn’t stop Nathan Moon from burying the rebound.
The IceMen took the lead with 5:52 left in the second when Todd Robinson fired a laser over Simpson’s glove-side shoulder. The goal was Robinson’s first of the season.
The lead extended for Evansville when defenseman Matt Gens capitalized on an open look at the net after taking a pass from Robinson. It was his first goal of the season and the second power play goal of the night for Evansville.
Dale Mahovsky sent a puck from his own blue line into an empty net to make the final tally 4-1 with 1:17 left in the game.
The Walleye return to action Nov. 7 when they host Fort Wayne. The puck is scheduled to drop at 10:35 a.m.