The Walleye were blessed (or so we thought) with a three game homestand last weekend, with two of the games versus divisional opponents. Although somewhat solidly in playoff position, a good weekend would’ve gone a long way in gaining some breathing room.
Toledo Walleye 5, Wheeling Nailers 2
Jordan Pearce faced off against Peter Delmas in net, in what was the Walleye’s sixth meeting out of ten with the Nailers.
It was all Wheeling early in the game. Zack Torquato scored for the Nailers at 7:06 of the first, with Matt Germain giving Wheeling a 2-0 lead just 1:40 later. Nino Musitelli would score from his stomach (whee!) at 16:38 to bring the Walleye within one after twenty minutes.
The Walleye outshot the Nailers 11-7 in the second, but alas, there was no scoring to be had. The third period was all Toledo though – they blew away Wheeling in SOGs, 21-4, with 4 of those shots hitting twine. Captain Kyle Rogers would score two goals within 27 seconds of one another, at 2:37 and 3:04, to give Toledo their first lead of the game. Willie Coetzee scored his 21st on an empty net at 19:18. And just to add insult to injury, Bryon Froese finished the scoring off with just two seconds remaining in the game. The Walleye outshot the Nailers 43-21. Toledo is currently 5-0-0-1 against Wheeling, having scored 28 goals in 6 games.
Fort Wayne Komets 3, Toledo Walleye 1
Kent Simpson returned in net for the Walleye, opposed by the Komets’ Jeff Deslauriers (he who used to play in Edmonton and started the year in Anaheim. Whoops). While both teams would total 29 SOGs for the game, this contest turned out to be a turd in the punchbowl for the Walleye.
Neither team scored in the first period, with both goaltenders stopping 7 shots apiece. Matt Syroczynski would break the seal for the Komets at 11:52 of the second while on the power play.
Nino Musitelli would give the Walleye life, tying the game at one at 14:04 of the third period. Alas, Fort Wayne’s Brandon Marino would regain the lead for the Komets with 2:54 remaining in regulation. Jean-Michel Rizk potted an empty net goal with 5 seconds left, sealing the game for the Komets and snapping the Walleye’s seven game home unbeaten streak.
Cincinnati Cyclones 2, Toledo Walleye 1 (OT)
The Walleye had a chance to get within six points of the North Division leading Cyclones with a regulation win on Sunday. Jordan Pearce got the start in goal against Cincinnati’s Michael Houser.
This was a heartbreaker for Toledo – especially considering the implications in the divisional race. Trevor Lewis scored for the Cyclones at 15:05 of the first, and it appeared that would be all Cincinnati would need to win. With 1:07 left in regulation, the Walleye would go on the power play and pull Pearce for a 6-on-4 advantage. Kyle Rogers scored with just 20 seconds remaining in the third to send the game to overtime, resulting in each team gaining a point (NOOOO).
1:30 into OT, Charles-Olivier Roussel would score unassisted for the Cyclones. DO NOT WANT. Toledo would outshoot Cincinnati for the game, 32-27. LE SIGH.
Blackhawks Prospects Update: Kent Simpson sports a 14-11-0-3 record for the Walleye with .907 SV% and a 2.41 GAA….Byron Froese has 24 points (7G, 17A) and is a +11
The Week Ahead: The Walleye play tonight and tomorrow night on the road, against the Fort Wayne Komets and Evansville IceMen respectively. The Walleye return home to play against the IceMen on Saturday, March 2nd, and finish the week at home on Sunday, March 3rd vs. the Trenton Titans.
Current Standings: North Division – 1) Cincinnati Cyclones, 76 points (58 GP), 2) Toledo Walleye, 67 points (56 GP), 3) Kalamazoo Wings, 61 points (56 GP), 4) Fort Wayne Komets, 56 points (57 GP), 5) Evansville IceMen, 47 points (57 GP). With five weeks remaining in the season, the Walleye hold the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Stats-O-Rama: Willie Coetzee has 21 goals and 45 total points…Andrej Nestrasil has 30 assists and sports a +17…Kent Simpson and Jordan Pearce both have 14 wins…Simpson leads the Walleye with a 2.41 GAA…Jordan Pearce leads with a .909 SV%…Phil Oreskovic leads Toledo with 99 PIMs……Wes O’Neill has 5 PPGs…Coetzee is third in the league with 211 SOGs…the Walleye’s power play is 13.3% (21st – third worst) and have a 83.8% penalty kill rate (8th)…Toledo is 21st out of 23 teams, averaging 13.6 PIM per game…Toledo is fourth in the ECHL in attendance, averaging 6,162 per game