Walleye fall behind 2-0 in playoff series with 5-2 loss to CincinnatiWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Emotions ran high as the Toledo Walleye allowed five unanswered goals past Kent Simpson, losing 5-2 to the Cincinnati Cyclones on April 6 and falling behind 2-0 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs opening round.
The Walleye played a stellar first period, out-shooting Cincinnati 10-6 and had four odd-man rushes and a few pucks creep across the crease, but found the score tied at zero after 20 minutes.
Toledo forward Trevor Parkes had a shot in the first creep past goalie Michael Houser and just hit the post before being cleared away by the defense.
Later in the period, Parkes’ breakaway shot steered left of the goal after Cincinnati’s defense caused some disruption for the winger.
“We dodged bullets the first 10 minutes,” said Cincinnati’s head coach Jarrod Skalde. “There were pucks sliding across the goal line there, a couple of times it looked like they were going in. [Toledo] carried the pace the first period, no question. They were the better team.”
Cincinnati broke the tie 91 seconds into the second period when David Pacan fired a shot over Simpson’s glove with the assist coming from Mike Embach.
For the next seven minutes, Walleye head coach Nick Vitucci said his team played “flat.”
“Kind of sets the tone that if you get scored on early, you drag a little and I thought we did in the second period,” he said.
Pacan finished the night with a hat trick and an assist, scoring his second and third goals in the final period.
The Cyclones added to the lead late in the second on a power play goal from Taylor Ellington. Cincinnati led an odd-man rush against the Walleye; a drop pass to the defenseman and quick snapshot later led to a 2-0 score.
“It’s tough to handle emotionally, but that’s playoff hockey and if we’re going to go far in this playoffs and come back and win this series, it doesn’t matter if you’re down a couple of goals, you should stay focused on the task at hand,” Parkes said.
Toledo’s bench was unhappy with the call because the rush came off a turnover behind the Cyclones’ goal in which Aaron Bogosian’s stick was held by Embach, who picked up his second assist of the night as a result.
“Bogosian behind the net, got his stick ripped out of his hands and might have had a good opportunity to score,” Parkes said. “But that’s the ref’s call, some calls go your way, some calls don’t. Still, it’s no excuse for them to come down and have an easy shot like that; kind of let [Simpson] out there to dry on that one.”
After that, emotions got the best of the Walleye.
Before second intermission, Toledo captain Kyle Rogers was called for roughing after a scrap broke out in Cincinnati’s defensive zone.
Before the start of the third period, Vitucci spoke with the officials, telling them to do their jobs.
“They’ve got to do their job and at times maybe they weren’t, but it is what it is,” Vitucci said. “But we lost the game because of our emotions and how we reacted to that.
“It’s pro hockey, you don’t blame a referee for losing a game and we’re not going to do that by any means.”
Thirteen of the game’s 20 penalties occurred in the game’s final 20 minutes.
Cincinnati capitalized on the Walleye’s mistakes, scoring on four of its seven power play attempts, including one from Matt Smyth with 12:20 left in the game.
The Walleye were 1-of-4 on the power play tonight, scoring with 8:24 left in regulation when Joey Martin knocked in a rebound that just got behind Houser, who finished the night with 26 saves. Byron Froese also scored for the Walleye with 30 seconds remaining.
Emotions also ran high of the 4,191 in attendance tonight with “refs you suck” chants echoing in the third period.
One fan went as far as throwing a bucket of popcorn on the Cincinnati bench with 11:17 left in the third period. The spectator was immediately ejected from the Huntington Center.
Skalde declined to comment on the incident, saying “I have no comment on anything other than I’m happy with the way our team played.”
Despite the series moving to Cincinnati for the next three games, Toledo has found success in U.S. Bank Arena, posting a 2-1-0 record in Cyclones’ territory.
“We know this is going to be a grind and a long series and we’re going to Cincinnati where we’ve had success and maybe getting away from the Huntington Center where we can keep things simple and play together and maybe not try and be too fancy for our own fans is maybe a good thing,” Vitucci said.
Parkes said he can expect fans to be a factor in U.S. Bank Arena, but the trick is going to be preventing the “sixth man” from affecting the team’s play.
“We’ve got to ignore their fans down there and just play our game and come back to Toledo with a couple of wins and get our fans back on our side,” he said.
Opening faceoff is slated for 7:35 p.m. in Cincinnati.
Tags: Toledo Walleye