Walleye lose second shootout in as many nightsWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | email@example.com
For the second time in as many nights, the Toledo Walleye only walk away with one point as they lose in a shootout against the Kalamazoo Wings on Jan. 6.
After 65 minutes of hockey, the game was tied at one and Wings (15-16-3) netminder Joel Martin stopped all five Walleye (19-13-4) shooters.
“You’ve seen [Martin] play 60 minutes like he was in a rocking chair; you’re not going to fool him with any trickery,” said Walleye Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “He’s going to make good saves and he’s going to make easy saves.”
The only one to score in the shootout was Eric Kattelus when he fired a hard slap shot from the top of the circles past Jordan Pearce, who finished with 22 saves on the night.
“They’re fun for me; I go into them with a mindset let’s get a win but if not, we still got a point,” Pearce said. “I don’t think it’s a true representation of me every game, but it’s good for the fans and kind of a fun thing to do.”
Toledo’s defense held Kalamazoo to just 23 shots on Pearce and had players step up and block hard shots.
With less than a minute left in regulation and on the penalty kill, newcomer Olivier Dame-Malka stepped in front and took a puck shot from behind the left-side faceoff circle to his mid-section. He was able to get up and skate to the bench.
“I think we’ve tighten down our defensive zone and that goes a long way in getting points,” Pearce said.
Both goalies had their work cut out for them, making key stops throughout the whole game.
Pearce, who blanked Kalamazoo just two days ago, kept his team close with some crucial saves, such as snagging a hard slap shot by Elgin Reid late in overtime.
“He’s been very good,” Vitucci said. “He had one hiccup last weekend and had a rough outing. Other than that, he’s been very good for us.”
The Walleye got on the scoreboard first with 2:45 left in the opening period after a tic-tac-toe play between forwards Travis Novak and Willie Coetzee that ended in Max Nicastro’s one-timer finding the twine.
Kalamazoo responded in the last minute of the first after a Toledo turnover in their defensive zone and a pass by Aaron Clarke led to Alexandre Mallet to be alone with Jordan Pearce. A quick snapshot by Mallet tied it up at one.
Forward Randy Rowe almost scored the game-winning goal late in the third period, he tried to beat Martin high in front of the net, but it sailed high over the net.
Martin made a crucial save in the first 22 seconds of overtime when he covered up Adam Hobson’s slap shot right in front of Terry Broadhurst who was waiting to pounce on the rebound.
This is the third consecutive home game that ended in a shootout. Kalamazoo came out of the Huntington Center with the shootout win on Dec. 29 when their first two shooters beat Kent Simpson and no Walleye players scored.
Broadhurst scored on Toledo’s first shootout chance on Jan. 5 against the Orlando Solar Bears, but that was it for the Walleye’s offense as Orlando got three goals past Simpson in the shootout.
The Walleye are now 0-4 in shootouts all year. Broadhurst’s goal last night is the only shootout goal Toledo has scored all season.
The shootout loss still counts as a point for the Walleye and with the Cincinnati Cyclones losing tonight against the Evansville IceMen, Toledo moves into a first-place tie at 42 points.
The Walleye return to action on Jan. 9 when they begin a three game series down in Estero, Fla. against the defending Kelly Cup champion Florida Everblades.
Toledo goes into the game already defeating the Everblades 4-2 on Dec. 16 at the Huntington Center.
The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Germain Arena.