Turnovers prove costly as Walleye lose 3-1Written by Vincent D. Scebbi | | email@example.com
Three costly turnovers by the Toledo Walleye made the difference as they fell 3-1 against the Kalamazoo Wings on Jan. 25.
“Rule of thumb for a D-man is you don’t pinch unless you’re 100 percent sure and we had two of those where we weren’t 100 percent sure and you’ve got to get puck or body on them and we got neither,” said Walleye Head Coach Nick Vitucci.
The Walleye got an early goal after Kalamazoo goalie Joel Martin lost control of the puck behind the net and Trevor Parkes was able to take advantage of it.
After that, Martin was unstoppable, saving 36 consecutive shots on goal.
“Anytime you play against him or that experience, you can’t make three, four, five glaring mistakes the way we did and expect to win a game because he’s not going to give up that many goals,” Vitucci said.
Andrej Nestrasil cleared the puck from the neutral zone, Martin couldn’t handle the puck and it crawled from behind the net to Parkes, who scored on his first shift since being sent to Toledo earlier today along with Nestrasil.
“And those things don’t come very often,” Parkes said. “It was pretty much gift wrapped for me so if I miss that one I’m in trouble so I’ll take it.”
Kalamazoo scored with 15:26 left in the opening period after a turnover off a faceoff led to an odd-man rush. Nick Sirota beat Kent Simpson on a wrist shot to tie it at one.
The Wings capitalized on another turnover to take the lead with 11:44 left in the first period. Alexandre Grenier carried the puck from the neutral zone down the left side, finding John Armstrong in front of the net to complete the scoring attempt.
A shorthanded goal by Dustin Cloutier gave Kalamazoo the insurance just 3:22 into the final period.
Cloutier picked up the puck off a turnover and then beat Simpson on the breakaway to score his fifth goal of the season.
While only four penalties were assessed during the first two periods, the final 20 minutes saw eight penalties called.
“We’ve got to pressure, we’ve got to take chances down there; you’re down a few goals and sometimes if you do so you’re going to take some penalties,” Vitucci said.
With 7:05 left in regulation, Walleye defenseman Cody Lampl laid checked a Wings forward and was immediately “jumped” by Cloutier, who was looking for a fight.
Both were called for roughing and Lampl also had to serve an interference penalty.
“It could have been interference, but it’s a bit frustrating when you get jumped after a hit and then there’s no instigator,” Lampl said. “I mean, if you want to call interference, that’s fine, but once a guy jumps you, it should negate any penalty they would call. It’s happened a few times against these guys – probably four times.
“If you don’t like a hit or want to take exception to it, that’s fine; but there is a code and ask a guy to go and I’m sure at that point I’ll oblige, I think you just got to be a little more disciplined about it.”
Toledo had a chance to score late in the game after Sirota was called for interference with 1:03 left.
Nestrail sent a cross pass to Phil Oreskovic who was in front of the net, but he could not put his stick on the rubber and the puck sailed past him.
Forward Willie Coetzee sent a wrist shot from the left wing, but it hit the cross bar. Coetzee finished with a game-high six shots on net, but had no points.
“Those power plays when you get your chances, you’ve got to capitalize on those opportunities because in a tight game like that when chances are being exchanged both ways, you take advantage of one of those power plays, it’s a 2-2, 2-3 game there,” Parkes said.
The Walleye have little time to recover, as they host the Bakersfield Condors on Jan. 26. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.
We’ll digest it here and go over things tomorrow,” Vitucci said. “We certainly played better than that score indicated; but again, when you make glaring mistakes like that, it’s going to be tough overall … We’ll just use it as a learning experience and move on from tomorrow.”