Walleye let early lead slip, lose in shootout against OrlandoWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For the second-straight home game, fans at the Huntington Center witnessed a shootout and for the second-straight game, it ended with the Walleye falling just short of the win.
The Toledo Walleye let an early lead slip past them as they fall against the Orlando Solar Bears (15-16-4) in a shootout.
After firing a season-high 24 shots on net in the first period, Toledo (19-13-3) got overworked in the second and only got seven shots on net in the middle period.
“We had ample opportunity to and we ran into a good goaltender in the first period,” said Walleye Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “Disappointing in the second period? Yeah because we were overworked in the second period; as much as we outworked them in the first, they returned the favor and I thought the third period was evenly played.”
Orlando netminder John Curry made 39 saves as well as stopping three of the Walleye in the shootout, which they won 3-1.
“Sometimes as a goaltender, you have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good and maybe [Curry] was very good and a little lucky, but that was a quality netminder over there,” Vitucci said.
The shootout loss is Toledo’s third of the season and the team is still looking for a way to win their first one this year.
Vitucci said his squad simply needs to “score more and stop more” when games come down to a shootout.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” he said. “From a goaltending standpoint, it’s a crapshoot and you hope you position yourself in a way where you make the saves and you hope their guy doesn’t.”
Toledo went 0-for-4 on power plays tonight, only tallying five shots when they had the advantage.
“We haven’t had time to work on it which is unfortunate with injuries and call-ups and just lack of practice time because of the holidays and so many games in so many few nights,” Vitucci said. “But that is something we have to get back on track and we did have some good opportunities, some of those pucks through the crease were on the power plays that we would have loved to bury, but we didn’t.”
The Walleye had plenty of opportunities, especially early on, having two solid scoring chances in the first minute.
The second of those coming after a shot went off Curry’s mask and began to trickle past him toward the crease, but defender Michael Wilson came in and saved his goalie.
Brandon Svendsen got the first goal on the Walleye’s 12th shot of the game. Forwards Terry Broadhurst and Adam Hobson assisted the Bowling Green alum’s first goal of the season.
The Walleye extended their lead to 2-0 after Kyle Rogers took a pass from Willie Coetzee and found the back of the net. Defenseman Phil Rauch was credited with an assist.
Orlando scored on just their third shot of the game with 4:58 left in the first period when Ryan Cruthers knocked a loose puck past netminder Kent Simpson to make it 2-1. Ryan Blair and C.J. Sveryn assisted the Solar Bears’ goal.
The Solar Bears tied the game at two with 10:12 left in the second on Scott Tanski’s fourth shot of the period. He needed every inch of the goal as his slap shot rung off the post before it broke the crease.
Orlando took the lead a little under a minute later after a turnover sent Ryan Reaves and Severyn on a two-on-none breakaway. Simpson had no chance to stop Reaves’s one-timer.
Toledo knotted the game at three with 2:10 left in the period on Cody Lampl’s second goal of the year. After taking a pass from the boards by Joey Martin, Lampl fired a wrist shot directly to the net from between the circles.
The Walleye had more chances in the third, outshooting the Solar Bears 10-2 in the third and 1-0 in overtime.
“Our backside pressure was really good this game,” Lampl said. “We didn’t really give up many odd-man rushes and that just helps with the overall defense. When our forwards are playing really well and cycling the puck and holding on to that puck possession, then it’s fairly easy to play defense.”
The loss tonight is Toledo’s third straight at home. They have a chance to right the ship tomorrow when Kalamazoo comes into town.
Jordan Pearce recorded his second shutout of the season as Toledo defeated the Wings 2-0 in Kalamazoo on Jan. 3.
The rematch is scheduled to drop on Jan. 6 at 7:05 p.m.