Walleye drop eight consecutive OT decisions, fall 5-4 to TrentonWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Walleye (31-20-9) erased a two-goal deficit, but let a late lead slip as they fell in overtime against the Trenton Titans 5-4 (24-28-8).
Walleye Captain Kyle Rogers scored with 9:39 left in the third period to give Toledo a momentary 4-3 lead, but Stephen Schultz, who finished with a hat trick, beat goalie Kent Simpson in the final four minutes of regulation.
Schultz scored again in overtime on a shot from behind the left faceoff circle that beat Simpson on the short side of the goal.
The overtime loss is Toledo’s eight consecutive when games exceed 60 minutes. Toledo is 2-9 when extra time is needed.
“We get in overtime and it hasn’t been good to us and maybe we’re a little tentative and not trying to force the issue which certainly isn’t a bad thing but we certainly can be a little more aggressive with our own coverage, the problem is we’re getting aggressive on the wrong coverage, which is leading to open guys,” said Walleye head coach Nick Vitucci.
Trenton scored two power play goals within a 19 second span in the middle period after Walleye defenseman Phil Rauch was assessed a double-minor penalty for high sticking.
Vitucci questioned the call, saying the Titans player was not bleeding or missing any new teeth.
“The guy wasn’t bleeding, ref said he lost teeth but he was missing teeth anyways, so that’s frustrating because you think maybe it’s a guessing call and it ends up two pucks in our net,” he said. “The guy never missed a shift, they didn’t ask for a doctor, they didn’t ask for a dentist so how hurt was he really with no blood?”
Toledo’s power play unit capitalized on two of their four attempts against Trenton, who entered the game ranked second in the ECHL on the penalty kill.
After dropping 26-straight power play attempts, Toledo has gone 8-of-22 with the man advantage.
“Basically just moving the puck quick and we have one more player out here and the key is to move the puck quick and there’s always someone open and that’s what we’ve been doing which has led to some of our success,” said forward Nino Musitelli, who scored both of the Walleye’s power play goals.
The Walleye drew first blood with 5:50 left in the opening stanza when goalie Brooks Ostergard poked the puck away from Willie Coetzee and Trevor Parkes caught him out of position.
The goal was Parkes’ eighth goal in seven games with Toledo.
Jacob Drewiske deflected the puck over Simpson’s shoulder and into the net just 11 seconds after the double-minor penalty on Rauch. Kevin Baker and Derrick Pallis assisted the goal.
The second power play goal was scored by Schultz and Blake Kessel picked up an assist. Schultz slapped in a puck in mid-air from the right side of the net.
Musitelli got his first power play goal of his own with 2:56 left in the second period after banging in a pass by Joey Martin from behind the net.
Musitelli scored his second power play goal with 14:20 with assists going to Byron Froese and Parkes.
Rogers took a pass from behind the net by Randy Rowe and beat Ostergard’s five-hole to give the Walleye the temporary 4-3 lead. Joey Ryan also picked up an assist.
Schultz’s second goal came with 3:16 left in the third period when he reached just far enough to shoot a backhander over Simpson’s pads.
The Walleye, who took four out of eight possible points this week, now sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with 12 games left in the regular season.
“To get four-out-of-eight is just average and maybe average is good enough right now just with the way our standings are,” Vitucci said. “These points are pivotal, but by all means we wanted a little more out of this.”
The Walleye travel to Cincinnati to take on the division-leading Cyclones, who have a sizeable lead in the North.
The two rivals will face off March 8 at 7:35 p.m. at U.S. Bank Arena.