Walleye Monday: Wingin’ It

Hello again, Mr. Froese / Photo via Walleye Facebook

The Walleye were rather busy last week, playing four games in five nights. Therefore I have a lot of recaps to write, so pardon the bad pun for a title s’il vous plait.

Toledo Walleye 2, Evansville IceMen 1

The Walleye started their playing marathon on Wednesday night in Evansville. Kent Simpson got the nod in net, opposing the IceMen’s Paul Dainton.

Toledo dominated the play in the first twenty minutes, outshooting Evansville 14-10. Therefore it only makes sense that the IceMen would score the only goal of the period – on the power play no less, at 18:10 from Daniel Tetrault. Kyle Rogers was in the box for the Walleye for the ever-so popular “Closing Hand on Puck” infraction.

The Walleye continued to dominate for the remainder of the game, and thankfully for this author, the score finally reflected it. Pat Knowlton got a shot past Dainton at 5:43 of the second. Toledo walloped the IceMen in shots in the second, outshooting them 15-3.

With just 59 seconds left in the third, Stephon Thorne scored his sixth of the year to give the Walleye their first lead of the game. It would be all they needed, as the Walleye greatly outpaced the IceMen in SOGs for the game, 42-26. This was Simpson’s last game in net for the week as he got called up to Rockford shortly thereafter, due to Corey Crawford’s “upper body injury” *koff*applesauce brain*koff*

Kalamazoo Wings 3, Toledo Walleye 2 (OT)

With Kent Simpson backing up Carter Hutton in Rockford, and Jordan Pearce still stuck in Grand Rapids (poor child), Jimmy Spratt got his first start for the Walleye this season in K-Zoo. Spratt started nine games for the Walleye back in 2010-11. Opposing Mr. Spratt in net was Joel Martin, who currently leads the ECHL in wins. Sheesh.

Despite the Walleye outshooting the Wings 11-3, K-Zoo managed to shoot 66%, potting 2 goals in the first twenty minutes. Yee-ouch. Wesley Myron and Kory Karlander scored for the Wings at 4:50 and 8:40 respectively.

The Walleye again held an advantage in shots in the middle frame (17-7), but they actually managed to score a couple of their own this time. Travis Novak scored shorthanded for the Walleye at 2:48, followed by a five-hole goal by John May at 8:22.

Things remained tied in the third, as the Walleye outshot the K-Wings 14-5 in the last twenty minutes. Sadly, this trend would not hold in overtime – the Wings got the only two shots in OT, and one got past Spratt. Aaron Clarke scored just 21 seconds into the extra time to give K-Zoo the extra point. Booooo-urnssss.

Kalamazoo Wings 4, Toledo Walleye 3 (OT)

Rinse, Repeat. This game was gross, so watch the highlights if you dare.

Toledo Walleye 6, Fort Wayne Komets 3

Ok, that’s better.

Jordan Pearce made his second start in net for Toledo since returning from Grand Rapids. He was opposed by Komets netminder Charlie Effinger.

It was a busy first period, with both teams potting two goals apiece. Toledo got the scoring started, when Cody Lampl fired his own rebound past Effinger just 3:17 into the game. Fort Wayne scored twice just 20 seconds apart to give themselves a lead – Matt Syroczynski scored at 8:00 with Brent Smith getting a puck past Pearce at 8:20. At 9:31, Stephon Thorne tied the game for Toledo with his 7th of the year.

The second period was boring because no one scored. Through 40 minutes, the Komets led in shots, 30- 18.

Toledo scored three answered goals in the third period: Nino Musitelli at 3:09, Randy Rowe at 9:55 and Byron Froese at 11:33. The Komets must have felt left out, as they scored a goal of their own by Brandon Marino at 16:56. Kyle Rogers scored on the empty net with 70 seconds left to give the Walleye a comfortable win. The Walleye did not take a single penalty in the game, while the Komets only drew two minor infractions.

Blackhawks Prospects Update: Kent Simpson sports a 14-10-0-3 record for the Walleye with .906 SV% and a 2.42 GAA. Simpson will most likely return to Toledo once Corey Crawford finds his marbles…Byron Froese has 23 points (6G, 17A).

The Week Ahead: The Walleye play three games at home this weekend. On Friday, February 22nd, the Wheeling Nailers come to town, followed by the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday the 23rd. The Cincinnati Cyclones return to Toledo on Sunday, February 24th.

Current Standings: North Division – 1) Cincinnati Cyclones, 68 points (54 GP), 2) Toledo Walleye, 64 points (53 GP), 3) Kalamazoo Wings, 57 points (53 GP), 4) Fort Wayne Komets, 54 points (54 GP),  5) Evansville IceMen, 43 points (54 GP). With six weeks remaining in the season, the Walleye hold the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Stats-O-Rama: Andrej Nestrasil and Willie Coetzee both have 41 total points…Willie Coetzee has 20 goals…Nestrasil has 30 assists and sports a +17…..Kent Simpson leads the Walleye with a 14-10-0-3 record, and a 2.42 GAA…Jordan Pearce leads with a .908 SV%…Phil Oreskovic leads Toledo with 99 PIMs…Coetzee is third in the league with 198 SOGs…the Walleye’s power play is 13.4% (21st – third worst) and have a 83.8% penalty kill rate (8th)…Toledo is 21st out of 23 teams, averaging 13.9 PIM per game…Toledo has had 159 SOGs in the last four games (39.75 average)

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