Walleye win first of two Pink in the Rink games, rout IceMen 7-1Written by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Walleye (31-20-8) took the first of two Pink in the Rink games March 2 after putting on a scoring clinic against the Evansville IceMen 7-1.
“It’s nice when the puck goes in. sometimes the puck doesn’t go in no matter what you do but tonight, the puck went in off my stick and I’m going to enjoy it while I can,” said Walleye forward Trevor Parkes, who finished with a hat trick and an assist.
Parkes picked up all of his four points tonight during the first two periods, scoring two goals and an assist in the second stanza.
“He’s such a strong player. It’s not just tonight, every game he’s played for us,” said Toledo head coach Nick Vitucci. “He’s made things happen for us over the course of two years now. Just a dynamic player, very strong and as everyone saw tonight, he gets himself into great scoring positions because how strong he is on his feet but on the puck as well.”
The Walleye, who dominated control of the puck for most of the game, held Evansville (22-32-5) to just two shots in the first period and eight in the second.
Toledo’s defense also helped goalie Jordan Pearce by blocking at least a dozen shots throughout the game, including two by forward Stephon Thorne during a second period penalty kill.
“It’s a commitment that a player has to make to sacrifice himself knowing there’s an opportunity to get hurt, to try to keep the puck away from the net,” Vitucci said. “When guys are doing that, they’re committed to the hockey club, they’re committed to winning and those are the small things that turn out to be big plays.”
Toledo’s power play has begun to heat up as they converted on three of their six attempts.
The Walleye are now 6-of-19 since Feb. 24 when they have the extra attacker.
Evansville scored on their second shot of the game after Daniel Tetrault’s slap shot from the right wing beat Pearce 7:40 into the game. Patrick Kennedy and Jason Dale assisted the play.
After that, the IceMen did not get a puck on net until there was 16:20 left in the second period, a span of 11:20.
The Walleye equalized the score on the power play after Parkes deflected Byron Froese’s shot from the blue line to tie the game with 11:03 left in the first. Joey Martin also helped set up the play.
Froese netted a goal of his own just 22 seconds later when his shot tipped off IceMen goalie Paul Karpowich’s glove and into the net. Kyle Rogers and Wes O’Neill assisted on the goal.
Willie Coetzee scored on an odd-man rush with about 9:37 left in the second to make it 3-1. Coetzee banged in a rebound by Parkes, who was leading the offensive charge. Defenseman Erik Spady also assisted.
Parkes, using his speed and strength, cut around the defense from the right wing and beat Karpowich as he was falling down to make the score 4-1.
“That’s one thing I had to work on was to use my body to drive that net so doing that, I’ve been working on that in practice and I was able to try it in the game and it worked out,” Parkes said. “Hopefully that’s what’s going to help me get to the next level, driving guys wide then bringing them to the net, bring people to the paint and that’s what happened tonight and it worked out.”
Parkes completed the hat trick 3:05 later when he deflected another Froese shot from the blue line. Coetzee also assisted the power play goal.
Parkes, a native of Fort Erie, Ontario, has scored five of his seven goals in the last three games. He netted two on Feb. 27 against the Fort Wayne Komets.
Forward Nino Musitelli scored on the power play less than four minutes into the third period to make the score 6-1. Forwards Joey Martin and Coetzee picked up assists on the play.
Travis Novak added one more when his shot from the slot beat Karpowich low to make the final score 7-1 with 2:58 left in regulation. Tyler Brenner and O’Neill assisted on the play.
The seven-goal night is the most the Walleye has scored in the Huntington Center all season.
Tonight’s Pink in the Rink night marked the seventh sellout of the season and the Walleye are 3-3-1 in front of a packed barn.
The win also snaps a four-game losing streak for Toledo, which began Feb. 23 against the Komets.
“It’s frustrating when you’re not winning games and we’re getting points in games, but you’re not winning games and by all means this was a big win for us,” Vitucci said.
The Walleye’s second Pink in the Rink game is tomorrow when Toledo hosts the Trenton Titans (23-27-8).
“You’re motivated to play hockey no matter what, but this is a whole different thing. It’s a more important thing to even the hockey players; that’s life,” Vitucci said. “That’s way more important than two points or one point or a bad goal or a good power play, that’s life and for the battles the people have gone through to survive, for the battles the people have gone through that didn’t survive, for the battles that the families have to go through because they didn’t; I couldn’t even imagine it.
“As fun as these two points are in front of an 8,000 crowd, attendance is very small compared to what it’s really for.”
The puck is scheduled to drop at 5:05 p.m.