Sadly, I’d prefer a banana split, but the season’s still young.
After playing their season opener on the 13th, the Walleye had to wait nearly a week to play game number two on the year. Go ECHL scheduling, go! Toledo finally laced up the skates again last Friday at home vs. the Cincinnati Cyclones and traveled to Kalamazoo on Saturday to take on the Wings.
Toledo Walleye 3, Cincinnati Cyclones 2 (OT)
The first of eight match-ups between Ohio neighbors featured Blackhawks prospect Kent Simpson in net vs Florida Panthers prospect Brian Foster between the pipes for the Cyclones. Cincinnati came out firing in the first period, peppering Simpson with 14 shots compared to the Walleye’s 10. The Cyclones started the scoring as Mathieu Aubin fired a shot past Simpson’s shoulder 8:13 into the game. The Walleye tied the game at 1 with just 3:58 left in the first period. Captain Kyle Rogers managed to sneak the puck past Foster as he was being tripped – the goal came off the moorings due to Rogers crashing the net, but it was ruled the puck crossed the line beforehand.
Wes O’Neill blew a puck by Rogers’ glove at 10:56 of the second to give the Walleye a 2-1 lead. Blackhawks prospect Terry Broadhurst had the primary assist.
With 5:55 left in regulation, former Walleye Michael Pelech capitalized on a juicy rebound by Simpson to tie the game at two. Toledo killed off a penalty with less than 3 minutes left in the third and Simpson made a huge save with a second left to send the game to overtime.
As time was winding down in the extra frame, Broadhurst sped past the Cyclones’ defense and fired a shot that squeaked past Foster with 35.5 ticks left to give Toledo a 3-2 win. It was Broadhurst’s first professional goal. The Walleye outshot Cincinnati 35-24, but the only Walleye shot in overtime was Broadhurst’s winner.
Kalamazoo Wings 4, Toledo Walleye 2
The Walleye made their first trip to Wings Stadium and their obscene scoreboard Saturday night. Petr Mrazek got his second start in goal for Toledo, facing off against Joe Cannata, a Canucks draft pick (BARF). The first period featured little defense, as the Walleye and Wings fired off 16 and 15 SOGs respectively. Perenial pain-in-the-butt Darren Archibald scored the only goal of the period, giving the Wings a 1-0 lead.
The Walleye managed to tie the game 9:40 into the second, when Willie Coetzee received a give-and-go pass from Blackhawks prospect Byron Froese. The Toledo euphoria was short-lived though – Archibald scored his second of the game at 11:58 on the power play, and Kory Karlander added another tally with just 3:50 in the second frame to give K-Zoo a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Michael Davies, recently of the Chicago Wolves until he was sent down prior to the game, gave the Wings a commanding 3-goal lead 4:19 into the third. The Walleye would attempt a comeback, with Froese scoring his first goal of the year shorthanded at 9:20. But it was too little, too late and the Wings triumphed to hand Toledo their first loss of the season. The Walleye held the edge in shots, 42-40 in a losing effort.
Blackhawks Prospects Update: With 4 points (1G, 3A), Terry Broadhurst is tied for third in the ECHL amongst rookies…Byron Froese has 1G & and 2A and is a +3…Kent Simpson won his first ECHL game and has a GAA of 1.87 with a SV% of .920
The Week Ahead: The Walleye will be in Trenton on Friday, 10/26 and Saturday 10/27 to play the Titans. The roadtrip continues with the Walleye playing at the Reading Royals on Sunday, 10/28.
Current Standings: North Division – 1) Kalamazoo Wings, 6 points (4 GP), 2) Cincinnati Cyclones, 5 points (3 GP), 3) Fort Wayne Komets, 5 points (4 GP), 4) Toledo Walleye, 4 points (3 GP), 5) Evansville IceMen, 1 point (3 GP).
Stats-O-Rama: Both Max Campbell and Terry Broadhurst lead the team in points (4)…Campbell and Willie Coetzee have 2 goals apiece on the season…Broadhurst leads the team with 3 assists… Petr Mrazek is 16th in the ECHL with a 2.53 GAA and is 11th in the league with a .932 SV%…Coetzee leads the ECHL with 26 SOG… the Walleye have yet to score a PPG this year in 12 attempts…Toledo is averaging 18.7 PIM per game, tied for 12th most in the ECHL.
Recent Transactions: Ben Youds was loaned to the Walleye from the Rockford IceHogs on Monday. With 7 of the other 8 defensemen in Rockford on two-way NHL contracts, this is an easy way for Youds to get significant ice time during the lockout.