I look forward to writing this post like one looks forward to a root canal. Oy vey, what a hot mess last week was. Oh well, upward and onward…
Toledo traveled last week to play 3 games in Florida vs. the defending Kelly Cup Champion Everblades. This would be a tough task by itself, but while we were all celebrating the end of the NHL lockout, ECHL teams across the country were being gutted by their NHL/AHL affiliates. Perhaps the Walleye were one of the most affected teams. Since January 5th, 8 members of the Walleye have been called up. This includes three of their top four scorers, (Terry Broadhurst, Andrej Nestrasil and Benny Youds) in addition to Luke Glendening (who is still 6th in scoring on the team) being called up to Grand Rapids on December 17th. Additionally, Max Campbell was traded to Bakersfield on December 31st (for defenseman Oliver Dame-Malka who had just gotten suspended three games) – Campbell had put up decent numbers, scoring 20 points in 30 games played.
While the team was on the road in Florida most of last week, what I can’t understand is why some warm bodies weren’t signed to ATOs to round out the lineup. Toledo played with only 10 forwards in the lineup all three games, and were only able to dress 5 defensemen for Saturday’s game. Granted, Florida was also a couple men down for all three games (as well as most other teams I suspect), but add a long bus ride and several days on the road, and there’s no surprise in the results. Which I still don’t want to write about. Bleah.
Florida Everblades 4, Toledo Walleye 1
This game was pretty much a turd from puck-drop.
Jordan Pearce was in the net for this travesty, opposed by Florida netminder Pat Nagle. Leigh Salters fired a wristshot on the power play at 7:39 to give the Everblades the early lead. The Walleye were able to come back quickly when Doug Clarkson put a one-timer past Nagle just 2:06 later. Salters would score his second of the night at 14:05 to give Florida a 2-1 lead, where it would stand after twenty minutes.
To sum up the remaining 40 minutes, the Walleye were only able to muster a total of 12 shots in periods two and three. Twelve. Matt Marquardt would score for the Everblades in the second, and Brayden Irwin would add an empty netter with 29 seconds left to seal the win for the home team. The Walleye ended up outshooting the ‘Blades 26-24.
Florida Everblades 3, Toledo Walleye 2
Friday night’s game started out much better for the Walleye, but the ending sucked.
Toledo got out of the gates quickly, with Doug Clarkson scoring just 23 seconds into the game on Florida goalie Pat Nagle. Oliver Dame-Malka would score his first goal as a Walleye at 4:24, giving Toledo a 2-0 lead they would carry after twenty minutes. The Walleye outshot the Everblades 19-4 after one period – sheesh.
Apparently the words “Play 60” were forgotten in the Toledo dressing room as the remainder of the game was all Florida. Leigh Salters scored on the power play at 16:32 of the second, giving the Walleye only a one goal lead going into the final period. Brayden Irwin and Matthew Pistilli scored at 7:27 and 9:54 of the third respectively, and that was all Florida needed. Kent Simpson took the loss for the Walleye in net. Again, the Walleye outshot Florida, 40-27 for the game.
Florida Everblades 4, Toledo Walleye 3
Third time’s the charm – NOT REALLY.
Blackhawks Prospects Update: The lone remaining Chicago prospect on the roster is Kent Simpson. He is 7-8-0-3 on the season with a 2.84 GAA and a .885 SV%…Blackhawks prospects (and Rockford callups) Terry Broadhurst, Ben Youds and Byron Froese (still injured) have 31, 27 and 17 ECHL points respectively.
The Week Ahead: The Walleye remain on the road this week – they play at the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday, January 18th and visit the Evansville IceMen on Saturday, January 19th.
Current Standings: North Division – 1) Cincinnati Cyclones, 48 points (38 GP), 2) Fort Wayne Komets 44 points (40 GP), 3) Toledo Walleye, 42 points (39 GP), 4) Kalamazoo Wings, 35 points (37 GP), 5) Evansville IceMen, 34 points (40 GP).
Stats-O-Rama: Willie Coetzee leads the team with 34 points…Luke Glendening (currently on an AHL callup) and Coetzee have 14 goals on the season…Benny Youds (Rockford) has 23 assists…Andrej Nestrasil (in Grand Rapids) leads with a +15…Jordan Pearce leads the Walleye with a 10-7-0-1 record, a 2.64 GAA and a .903 SV%…Coetzee is first in the league with 148 SOGs…the Walleye’s power play is 14.8% (21st – third worst) and have a 83% penalty kill rate (12th)…Toledo is 21st out of 23 teams, averaging 14.2 PIM per game