The Walleye entered this week in first place in the North Division, with three contests versus division foes over the weekend. Add in the throwing of stuffed animals and a visit from three middle-aged hockey players turned “actors,” and it proved to be an eventful week.
Toledo Walleye 3, Kalamazoo Wings 2 (OT)
The Walleye started strong at home on Friday, getting 12 shots on goal vs. the K-Wings in the first 20 minutes. Wings goalie Joel Martin was up to the task though, making all stops. Alas, it was Walleye goalie Jordan Pearce who let in two goals on six shots – Nick Sirota scored at 7:15 and Kory Karlander scored on the power play with 6:12 left in the first.
The second period featured a flurry of shots on both goaltenders – 15 by the Walleye and 12 by the K-Wings. Both goaltenders were perfect, even with both teams having two power play opportunities apiece.
The final twenty minutes proved to be great drama for the home team. Luke Glendening scored his 11th of the year off a Martin rebound 6:30 into the period to cut the K-Wings’ lead in half. Proving that it’s sometimes better late than never, with Pearce pulled for the extra attacker, defenseman Max Nicastro lifted a puck past Martin with a mere second left in regulation to send the game in OT.
Finishing off the collapse by the K-Wings (hee hee), Wes O’Neill scored his 5th of the year at 3:06 of the extra period to give the Walleye the win. Toledo had a large advantage in SOGs for the game, 44-27.
Toledo Walleye 4, Cincinnati Cyclones 3
Saturday night was a very special evening at the Huntington Center, what with the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss event *and* the Hanson Brothers from the movie “Slap Shot” in the house for an appearance. Oh, the excitement.
It didn’t take long for the stuffed animals to fly, as Travis Novak put a puck past Cyclones goalie Magnus Hellberg just two minutes into the game. All the teddy bears collected went to Lucas County Children Services.
That really was the most important part of the game, but I guess I’ll continue with the recap. Both the Walleye and Cyclones traded power play goals later in the first, by Terry Broadhurst and Mathieu Aubin respectively to give Toledo a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes.
The Walleye looked to have the game well in hand after two periods, after goals by Andrej Nestrasil (at 9:15) and Luke Glendening (at 18:01) to give Toledo a 4-1 lead. The Cyclones came back hard in the third – Josh Shalla scored 2:39 into the third to cut the lead in half, and Mattias Lindstrom put a puck past Kent Simpson with 9:08 left to make the crowd a bit nervous. Simpson was able to stand tall, and the Walleye hung onto a one goal victory. Once again Toledo held a decided edge in shots, 38 to Cincinnati 19.
Evansville IceMen 3, Toledo Walleye 2
And the inevitable letdown happens.
Even though the Walleye had another great advantage in SOGs (38 to the IceMen’s 29), it would be Blue Jackets prospect (and former Express *sniff*) goaltender Allen York that would prove to be too much for Toledo.
Evansville jumped out to a 2-0 lead, with Sean Whitney and Nathan Moon getting pucks past Jordan Pearce by 6 minutes into the second period. Travis Novak finally got a puck past York at 6:24 into the second to cut the Evansville lead in half.
The IceMen and Walleye would trade goals in the third – Dylan Clarke potted a wrister past Pearce at 4:25, and Randy Rowe again got the Walleye within one with a deflection past York at 7:11. Alas, even with Pearce pulled at the end of regulation, the Walleye couldn’t get the equalizer, ending their road winning streak at a team record eight games.
Blackhawks Prospects Update: Byron Froese is tied for second on the team with 17 points (5G, 12A) and has a +9 – he is currently nursing an arm injury he suffered in Friday night’s game….Benny Youds has 15 points (3G, 12A)…Terry Broadhurst has 16 points (4G, 12A), and had a 4-point week (1G, 3A)…Kent Simpson is 5-5-0-1 on the season with a 2.55 GAA and a .895 SV%
The Week Ahead: The Walleye are on the road this week, vs. the Evansville IceMen on Friday, December 7th, and visit Kalamazoo to take on the Wings on Saturday, December 8th.
Current Standings: North Division – 1) Toledo Walleye, 27 points (22 GP), 2) Cincinnati Cyclones, 26 points (19 GP), 3) Fort Wayne Komets, 19 points (18 GP), 4) Kalamazoo Wings, 19 points (20 GP), 5) Evansville IceMen, 17 points (23 GP).
Stats-O-Rama: Willie Coetzee and Andrej Nestrasil both lead the team with 18 points …Luke Glendening has 12 goals on the season, second amongst all rookies…Three players (Byron Froese, Terry Broadhurst and Benny Youds) have 12 assists…Glendening is tied for 5th in the league with a +10…Jordan Pearce leads the Walleye with a 6-2-0-0 record, a 2.38 GAA and .913 SV%…Coetzee is first in the league with 92 SOGs…the Walleye’s power play is 16.5% (16th – feh) and have a 84.7% penalty kill rate (6th)…Toledo is still the least penalized team in the ECHL, averaging just 12.5 PIMs a game.
I leave you now with this. Oy.