Controversial goal for Walleye leads to overtime loss against CincinnatiWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A last-minute goal by Toledo Walleye (30-19-7) captain Kyle Rogers sent the game into overtime, but the fish could not get both points as the Cincinnati Cyclones (34-17-6) came away with the 2-1 overtime win on Feb. 24.
With a 6-on-4 advantage, Walleye defenseman Wes O’Neill’s shot from the point got through to Cyclones goalie Michael Houser. The rebound went off Rogers’ skate before crossing the goal line.
The goal was initially under review because if Rogers kicked the puck, the game-tying goal would have been waved off.
“It happened so fast, it came out pretty quick, he made a good save there; I just turned my foot, tried to stop it,” Rogers said. “I didn’t kick it, so it is what it is, the ref called it a goal and I wasn’t going to complain.”
Cyclones Head Coach Jarrod Skalde said he believes the play went differently.
“To me, it was clearly kicked in – end of story,” he said.
Toledo head coach Nick Vitucci said the officials made the right call.
“I saw what everybody else saw; it looked like [Rogers] kicked it up to his stick and banged it in before it went in the goal line,” Vitucci said. “It’s a good goal. There’s not question about that.”
Despite the goal standing, the Cyclones came out and dominated possession of the puck throughout the 1:30 of overtime, capitalizing on Walleye turnovers before Charles-Olivier Roussel fired a snap shot through Jordan Pearce’s five-hole.
“You get frustrated, but there’s a point to be had, a big point especially against Toledo, a team right behind us,” Skalde said. “So we said let’s forget about it. We can’t let that take away from what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Vitucci said the turnovers were caused by his players “trying to be a little too cute.”
“If you don’t have a play, then just ice it, get 30 seconds of rest before they drop the puck and away you go,” he said. “There are times where we’re trying to make something out of nothing and sometimes nothing ends up in the back of our net.”
Both teams were coming off a three-in-three stretch and Vitucci said Toledo was playing at a slower pace than what usually happens when these two teams face.
“Certainly not as quick-paced as we normally play against them but considering we’ve both played three games in the last 48 hours, it was tough to muster energy,” he said.
Rogers’ goal snaps a 26-consecutive power play skid without a goal. Their last goal with a man advantage came on Feb. 1.
“A lot of teams rely on that and we’re lucky to have the skill in the locker room that we don’t have to rely on it but if we do get the power play going, we’re going to be a really dangerous team coming here in the future,” Rogers said.
Up to the last minute, both goalies made spectacular saves to keep it a low-scoring contest.
Pearce, who finished the night with 25 saves, used all of his athleticism to reach across the crease to make a glove save against forward Mathieu Aubin in the first two minutes of the second period.
Later in the second, Cincinnati had Pearce caught out of position, but could not find the back of the net with their last of three shots being blocked by defenseman Cody Lampl, who was standing near the right side of the crease.
The Cyclones got on the board first when Toledo was caught out of position defensively and Pearce could not make the slide over in time to stop a shot by Trevor Lewis with 4:55 left in the opening period. Jeff Winchester and Jack MackLellan set up the scoring play.
“You got to recognize and realize four-on-four, its’ the most simplest coverage to have as far as what we’re doing and who we’re responsible for,” Vitucci said. “But you have to recognize that there’s a lot more time and space on the ice and there’s a lot more ice for players to be creative and if you miss coverage by one stride, it ends up eight strides by the time they get to the net.”
The Walleye took three of six possible points this weekend, winning against the Wheeling Nailers 5-2 on Feb. 22 and then losing 3-1 the next night against the Fort Wayne Komets.
Six of the Walleye’s seven goals forced were scored in the final 20 minutes of the game.
“There’s three periods in a game and if we’re just playing one period and getting points out of that, it’s not good enough and we need to play all three,” Rogers said.
The Walleye drop to fifth in the conference standings with the overtime loss and the Cyclones now have a seven-point cushion in the North Division standings.
Toledo has four games in five nights next week, beginning with a road trip to the Hoosier State Feb. 27-28 against the Fort Wayne Komets and Evansville IceMen respectively.
The Walleye return to the Huntington Center March 2-3 when they host the IceMen and Trenton Titans.
“We’re coming down to the wire, teams are chasing us and there are a lot of teams down in eighth place,” Rogers said. “But, [there is] no time to panic. We still got a stretch of four games in five nights that we could buckle down and get those points back.”
The puck is scheduled to drop Wednesday in Fort Wayne at 7:30 p.m.
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