Walleye fall behind early, lose 5-3 against CincinnatiWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | email@example.com
Toledo’s goaltenders had an off night as they allowed five goals on 21 shots as the Walleye fell 5-3 against the Cincinnati Cyclones on Dec. 28.
The Cyclones (18-9-2), who now have a three point lead in the North Division over Toledo (17-13-1), scored two goals in the first six minutes of the game and never looked back.
“They make the most of their opportunities and I think they made the most of non-opportunities, unfortunately,” said Toledo Walleye Head Coach Nick Vitucci. It’s the way it goes sometimes. I think you could line up hundreds of pucks in those areas where they scored and they’re not going to let one by them, but unfortunately three of them snuck by them and put us on our heels against a first place team. It’s tough to come back from a two goal deficit.”
After starting netminder Jordan Pearce allowed the fourth goal, Vitucci swapped Pearce for Kent Simpson to take over between the posts with a little over half the game left to play.
“I thought [Simpson] did a good job; that’s a tough position to come in when you’re shorthanded for three minutes coming cold off the bench,” Vitucci said. Our goaltenders have been so strong for us all year and we’re not throwing them under the bus by any means. You win as a team, lose as a team.”
The Walleye had plenty of chances to keep it close despite the off night defensively. Toledo outshot the Cyclones 37-21 and went 0-for-4 on the power play.
“It was one of those games where we had some chances, but we just didn’t capitalize,” said Toledo forward Joey Martin. “That’s just hockey, it’s the way it goes.”
Cincinnati got the offense started just 54 seconds into play on an odd-angle shot by Michael Pelech that found its way to the twine.
Pelech, who played with Toledo for 10 games last year, had five assists with the Walleye.
The Cyclones added to their lead with 14:03 left in the first on a David Pacan goal. Pacan, who just exited the penalty box, took a pass from forward Dan Eves and led an odd-man rush that resulted in a wrist shot that beat Pearce.
Toledo got on the board with 11:55 left in regulation on Ben Youds’s fourth goal of the year. Youds took a pass from Doug Clarkson and fired a one-timer from the slot. Clarkson’s assist is his first of the season. Forward Travis Novak also assisted the play.
The Walleye had several opportunities to tie the game. Not even 30 seconds after Toledo’s first goal, Andrej Nestrasil fired a shot that rung off the left goalpost.
Also, with about five minutes left in the opening period, forwards Joey Martin and Brad Raedeke had an opportunity to tie the game. Martin sent a past up ahead to Raedeke, who appeared to have beaten his man and had a chance for a quick shot, but he lost the puck in front of the net.
Cincinnati scored in the second period to make it 3-1. Garret Wilson took a cross pass from Eves and sent it past a diving Pearce. Nello Ferrara also assisted the goal.
With 10:51 left in the middle period, Walleye defenseman Cody Lampl was ejected after a hard hit that sent John McFarland head-first into the boards.
Lampl was called for boarding and a game misconduct.
“I was trying to get the team fired up,” Lampl said. “We were down 3-1 right after a goal. It’s hard for me to stop my momentum once I’m committed.”
Lampl said he talked to McFarland, who received stitches and returned to the ice later in the game, afterward and made sure he was OK.
“We all share the same love for the game and family stuff,” he said. “We just want to make sure he was all right and he was understanding and understands where it was coming from.”
Cincinnati capitalized on the five minute power play and scored just 1:13 into the advantage on a Josh Shalla goal to make it 4-1. The goal was Shalla’s 12th of the year.
The Walleye got a spark of life after Joey Martin sent a shot past Foster with 6:04 left in the middle period to cut the deficit to two goals. Kyle Rogers sent a pass from the point to Martin, who turned and scored the shorthanded marker.
“It was time to press,” Martin said. “Rogers made a good second effort and poked it right to me and I was all alone and put it right through the five-hole.”
Cincinnati scored with 8:16 left in regulation to put the game out of reach. Maury Edwards fired a shot from in front of the blue line past Simpson to get his second of the season. Defenseman David MacDonald assisted the goal.
Andrej Nestrasil scored a goal too little too late to make the final score 5-3. Defenders Wes O’Neill and Youds assisted the goal, which was scored with 5.1 seconds left.
The loss keeps Toledo in second place in the ECHL North with 35 points. In addition, the Walleye have now dropped four of their last five games.
They return to action Dec. 29 when they host the Kalamazoo Wings.
The puck is scheduled to drop at the Huntington Center at 7 p.m.