The Walleye came into last week with a schedule consisting of three games in three nights, all against divisional opponents. Sandwiched in the middle was the infamous Star Wars game, played in front of a sold-out crowd at the Huntington Center. Was this nerd in attendance? You bet your ass I was.
Kalamazoo Wings 6, Toledo Walleye 4
The Wings (aka the baby Blues & Canucks *spits*) came into this game with zero points through its first two games of the season. We all knew how this was going to go, weren’t we?
Mac Carruth got the start in goal for the Walleye, opposing ECHL journeyman Joel Martin in net for the K-Wings. The Wings dominated the first period, outshooting the Walleye, 11-3. They were rewarded for their play with two goals in the first twenty minutes, a power-play goal for David Pacan at 13:40 and a shorthanded goal for Adam Polasek at 16:09. Gee, I hope this shorthanded goal against thing doesn’t become a trend /foreshadowing
Toledo got on the board at 5:34 of the second on a power-play goal by Travis Novak. Just over four minutes later, Trevor Parkes tied the game at two with his third goal of the season. Despite the brief Walleye comeback, the K-Wings again controlled the period, with 20 shots on Carruth in the middle frame. This led to two additional goals by the K-Wings, including one with just 49 seconds left in the period. Kalamazoo would head into the final period with a 4-2 lead.
Scott Arnold got the Walleye within one just 8 seconds into the third period, scoring on the man-advantage. Yanni Gourde would again give K-Zoo a two-goal advantage just 2:28 later with a power-play goal of his own. Parkes would score his second goal of the game at 14:41 to give Toledo a glimmer of hope. Alas, with Carruth pulled, Eric Kattelus scored his second of the game on an empty net with 13 seconds left to put the game away. The K-Wings outshot the Walleye 41-20 for the game. Yuck.
As a final insult, Emerson Clark received a 10-minute misconduct with 15 seconds left in the game for apparently flipping the K-Zoo faithful the bird. He would be rewarded for his actions with a suspension for the remaining two games over the weekend and a disciplinary hearing.
Toledo Walleye 3, Kalamazoo Wings 1
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Walleye had the Force with them as they took on the K-Wings in a rematch from the previous night. And I promise those will be the only Star Wars puns I put into this recap (I think).
Mac Carruth, he of the X-Wing Fighter Pilot jersey, opposed K-Zoo’s Jordan Binnington of the Darth Vader sweater. Binnington spent time with the Chicago Wolves earlier this season as a St. Louis Blues draft pick. The first period was scoreless, with the Walleye holding a 9-8 edge in shots.
The second period saw Marek Tvrdon score his first professional goal to give the Walleye a 1-0 lead at 3:32 of the period. Captain Kyle Rogers would add to the lead with his first goal of the season at 8:10 of the period, wristing a shot past Binnington.
In the final period, Toledo increased the lead to three when Trevor Parkes scored his 5th of the year at 14:01 while on the power play. This sent the Huntington Center into a frenzy as a Walleye power-play goal results in free Wendy’s chili. Yay? Carruth came within 1:10 of his second shutout of the year, but Ludwig Blomstran scored for the K-Wings late, just to be a party-pooper. As the final horn sounded a brief scrum ensued, resulting in 28 minutes in penalties being awarded at the 20:00 mark of the period. The game ended with the Walleye holding a 30-26 edge in shots.
Evansville IceMen 2, Toledo Walleye 1
The Walleye finished the weekend on Sunday with a visit to Evansville, the first of eight matchups between the two teams. Mac Carruth got his third start in as many days for Toledo, as Jared Coreau was called up to Grand Rapids during the week. He was opposed by Mike Clemente in net for the IceMen.
The IceMen outplayed the Walleye in the first period, getting 13 shots on Carruth while Toledo mustered only 5 total shots. It would be the Walleye though who was able to dent twine, when Marek Tvrdon scored his second goal in as many games at 10:20 of the period. The score would remain 1-0 through 40 minutes, with Evansville still holding a substantial lead in shots, 22-7.
The luck would run out for the Walleye in the third period when Matt Lowry beat Carruth shorthanded at 3:21. That was the fourth shorthanded goal Toledo has given up in seven games. FOURTH. At 10:53 Daultan Leveille of the IceMen put a loose puck behind Carruth to give Evansville their first lead of the game. That was all that was needed, as Toledo was only able to muster 4 shots in the final period, and just 11 for the whole game. Yuck.
Blackhawks Prospects Update: Mac Carruth is 3-2-0-0, with a 2.18 GAA & .931 SV%…David Gilbert has 1 assist and is a -3 with 10 shots on goal
The Week Ahead: The Walleye make their annual trip to Florida this week – they visit the Florida Everblades on Saturday, November 9th. The Walleye then play back-to-back games against the Orlando Solar Bears on Sunday, November 10th and Monday, November 11th.
Current Standings: North Division – 1) Cincinnati Cyclones, 12 points (6 GP), 2) Evansville Icemen, 10 points (6 GP), 3) Toledo Walleye, 7 points (7 GP), 4) Fort Wayne Komets, 6 points (7 GP), 5) Kalamazoo Wings, 5 points (6 GP).
Stats-O-Rama: Trevor Parkes leads the Walleye with 9 points and 5 goals…Parkes, Travis Novak and Russ Sinkewich each have four assists…Mac Carruth leads the team with a 3-2-0-0, with a 2.18 GAA & .931 SV%…Scott Arnold and Emerson Clark each have 19 PIMs…Arnold is second in the league with 3 power-play goals…The Walleye are 6th in the league on the power play (18.5%) and 5th on the penalty kill (90.9%)…The Walleye have given up the most shorthanded goals in the ECHL (4)
As I stated at the beginning of this post (tl;dr), I was in attendance for Saturday night’s game – my second trip to the Huntington Center. It really was a great time – not only were there a ton of Star Wars related goings-on, the Stanley Cup also made an appearance. There were a lot of Blackhawks fans in attendance (my previous visit consisted of mostly Red Wings fans sightings) in addition to folks wearing gear from at least a dozen other NHL teams. The Cup took a triumphant spin around the rink during pregame on a truck accompanied by Darth Vader. Chelsea Dagger played over the PA during this, and let me tell you, the Red Wings fans in attendance were NOT PLEASED. Ah, schadenfreude. But the best thing about this evening was I was able to purchase both a Walleye X-Wing Fighter jersey *and* a K-Wings Darth Vader jersey for my collection! Below is a photo of myself with Blackhawks prospect David Gilbert, whose jersey I bought at the auction.
Yeah I look like a dork. Oh well. Seriously though, the Huntington Center is by far my favorite minor league hockey arena that I have visited, so it’s worth a trip if you ever have a chance. And they have Baconanas and Totchos. Look those up if you’re curious.