After a bit of a tease to start the season (a lone game in six days), last week really got the season rolling for the Walleye with three games played. The highlight was the home opener in Toledo this past Saturday.
Cincinnati Cyclones 3, Toledo Walleye 2 (OT)
Before returning to the Huntington Center for the first time this season, the Walleye made a pitstop last Thursday in Cincinnati. The emphasis should be on PITS. This was the first matchup between the two teams since the Cyclones unceremoniously dumped the Walleye in six games in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. No bitterness, I’m sure
Red Wings Prospect Jared Coreau made his debut for the Walleye in net, opposed by former Chicago Express goalie (and my favorite – SOB) Rob Madore. The game got off to a great start for the Walleye when Kevin Lynch wristed a shot past Madore just 2:26 into the game. From there, the score remained stagnant until the third period. The penalty box was busy though – through the first forty minutes there were three fights between the Walleye and Cyclones, including one just 17 seconds into the game. Nope, no bitterness.
Lynch would score his second of the evening 2:14 into the third period, seemingly giving the Walleye a comfortable lead. Cincinnati would score two goals of their own in less than 3 minutes in the middle of the period, which would ultimately send the game to overtime. Cincinnati ended it quickly, when defenseman Antoine Corbin fired a shot past Coreau just 1:36 into OT. The Walleye finished the game ahead in shots, 35-30, but unfortunately only left the building with the loser point.
Toledo Walleye 2, Wheeling Nailers 0
A sold out crowd of 8,200 welcomed the Walleye back to the Huntington Center for the home opener last Saturday. Blackhawks prospect Mac Carruth got the start for Toledo, with Mike Condon in net for Wheeling.
Hopefully the Huntington Center was equipped with much caffeine, as the game was scoreless for the first forty minutes. Through two periods the Nailers held a 23 to 18 advantage in shots. At least there was a fight between Toledo’s Emerson Clark and Wheeling’s Patrick McGrath to keep the kiddies entertained.
Someone finally broke the seal 21 seconds into the third when Kevin Lynch scored his third of the young season to give the Walleye a 1-0 lead. Scott Arnold added a tally at 8:36 to give Toledo a two-goal cushion. From there, the Walleye shut down the Nailers, holding them to just 7 shots in the final period. Carruth earned his first professional shutout, turning away all 30 Wheeling shots.
CIncinnati Cyclones 4, Toledo Walleye 3
The Huntington Center was open for business this morning for one of their school day games. Yes, I can think of nothing better than watching a hockey game with 6,000 kids /runs away screaming.
The goalies were a repeat of the previous meetup between the two teams, with Jared Coreau and Rob Madore opposing one another in the blue paint. The game went into the toilet pretty quickly for Toldeo, with Cincinnati’s Wade Megan scoring two goals within the first 5:48 of the game. Scott Arnold would score a goal on the power play at 10:08 for the Walleye, and the first period ended with a 2-1 advantage for the Cyclones.
Cincinnati regained their two-goal lead in the second when Jonathan Hazan put in his own rebound past Coreau at 8:04. The score would remain at 3-1, with Toledo holding a 22-19 edge in shots.
Much to the delight of the pipsqueaks in the crowd, the Walleye stormed back into the game in the final period, tying the game up at three with goals from Richard Nedomiel and Arnold. The Walleye weathered two penalties (one a double minor) in the final half of the period, and looked to take advantage of a power play of their own with 2:58 remaining in regulation. Alas, Cincinnati’s John McFarland was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway and buried a puck past Coreau with just 1:15 left to play. WOMP WOMP.
Mac Carruth has stopped 62 of the 65 shots he’s faced thus far this season. Just sayin’.
Blackhawks Prospects Update: Mac Carruth is 2-0-0-0, with a 1.44 GAA & .954 SV%…Bobby Shea notched 1 assist and is a +1, but was called back to Rockford after Saturday’s game…David Gilbert is a -1 with 3 shots on goal
The Week Ahead: The Walleye visit Kalamazoo on Friday, November 1st to take on the Wings. The following evening, the Wings visit the Walleye on November 2nd. The Walleye close out the weekend on Sunday, November 3rd at the Evansville IceMen.
Current Standings (SMALL SAMPLE SIZE): North Division – 1) Cincinnati Cyclones, 8 points (4 GP), 2) Evansville Icemen, 6 points (3 GP), 3) Toledo Walleye, 5 points (4 GP), 4) Fort Wayne Komets, 2 points (3 GP), 5) Kalamazoo Wings, 0 points (2 GP).
Stats-O-Rama: Kevin Lynch leads the Walleye with 5 points…Lynch and Scott Arnold have 3 goals apiece…Travis Novak and Russ Sinkewich each have three assists…Mac Carruth leads the team with a 2-0-0-0 record, 1.44 GAA & .954 SV%…Sinkewich has 11 PIMs…The Walleye are 11th in the league on the power play (11.8%) and third on the penalty kill (94.7%)
Oh, I will be at the game on Saturday vs. the Wings. So will the Stanley Cup. But do you know why I’m really going?