TOLEDO, OH – The Battle of Ohio continued tonight as the Toledo Walleye traveled down south to take on the Cincinnati Cyclones. In the first of three straight games, Toledo put on a show as they took Cincinnati to special teams school. A total of 15 penalties resulting in 13 power plays were called throughout the night, which worked out far better for the Walleye. Your starting goaltenders for the night were Pat Nagle of Toledo and Jason Kasdorf of Cincinnati.
Toledo got the first shot on goal after 1:52 of play, after a short period of back and forth hockey. Just 19 seconds later the first penalty of the game was called against Christian Hilbrich when he got caught hooking a Cyclone. The Walleye penalty kill unit turned the table on Cincinnati though, when Mike Borkowski intercepted the pass and took off down the ice to beat Kasdorf top shelf on Toledo’s second shot of the game. After giving up the shorthanded goal, Cincinnati was unable to cash in on the remaining power play time. After the penalty expired Toledo controlled the pace of play and limited the Cyclones to one shot over 16 minutes of play while tallying seven shots of their own. It took 16:37 for Cincinnati’s second shot to occur, thanks to a weird bounce off the boards that Dominic Zombo blasted past Nagle to tie it up at one apiece. A little over a minute later Brandon McNally was called for slashing to put Toledo on their first power play, and in a weird turn of events Justin Danforth had a breakaway on the penalty kill but was called for tripping after getting a shot away on Nagle. Toledo was unable to score during 18 seconds of 5 on three hockey, and time expired in the first with 1:25 left of power play time for Toledo.
From the drop of the puck, Toledo attacked Kasdorf with their remaining power play time, tallying five shots on goal in the first minute of the period. Cincinnati weathered the storm and killed off the penalty, but only got about a minute of breathing time when Jesse Schultz got called for hooking after 2:09 of play. 44 seconds into the power play Kyle Bonis got a great feed from Tyler Barnes and Kevin Tansey for his fourth goal of the year to put Toledo in front 2-1. Cincinnati didn’t let that stand for long though because Alex Kile ripped a short ranged shot past Nagle to once again tie the game. In the following five minutes of hockey each team had one shot on goal, but then the Cyclones got caught with too many men on the ice at 10:48, which was served by Alex Kile. On their fourth power play of the night, Mike Borkowski scored his second goal of the game after 24 seconds to put Toledo back in the lead 3-2. The rest of the period saw Toledo continue to dictate the pace and the shots, as the Cyclones only managed to get three shots on goal over the course of the second. At 19:04 Kevin Tansey was called for holding, but the Cyclones couldn’t get a shot toward the net in the final 56 seconds of the period.
The third period is when the wheels fell off the Cyclones wagon, thanks to a good shaking from the Walleye. Toledo successfully killed off the Tansey penalty after allowing one shot on goal while a man down, and it wasn’t until the 4:08 mark that the second shot on goal of the period came from Cincinnati’s Mitch Nylen. A little over a minute later Connor Crisp got called for hooking to give Cincinnati their fourth power play, which yielded two shots before Winston Day Chief was called for tripping and ended the man advantage. Once four on four play ended the Walleye power play went to work, leading to A.J. Jenks netting his first goal of the game when he got left alone on the far side of the net to make it 4-2. Austen Brassard was the one who got the pass to A.J., and the secondary assist went to Shane Berschbach. Hilbrich was called for another penalty at 8:42, but Toledo continued their special teams dominance and killed it off. At 11:05 the Cyclones were sent to the box once more, as Vaclav Karabacek was guilty of a trip. The Walleye made them pay again, and once again it was A.J. Jenks netting the power play goal for his second of the game and eighth of the season at 12:33. Now, 5-2, Cincinnati tried to get something going but simply couldn’t and found themselves on the penalty kill again at 14:49 when Rob De Fulviis was sent to the box for tripping. You can probably guess what happens next. After a game of near missing and continued effort, Zach Nastasiuk got his third goal of the season, and Toledo’s fifth power play goal of the night to put Toledo up 6-2, which would end up being your final score for the night. There was a slight scrum at the 17:58 mark when Ryan Obuchowski and Rob De Fulviis had a confrontation when De Fulviis grabbed Obuchowski from due to a prior slash, which caused Crisp to intervene and brought the rest of the players into the fray to partner up. Obuchowski and De Fulviis both got fighting majors, and Barnes served Obuchowski’s slash that put the Cyclones on their sixth power play. The Cyclones did not score, and time expired two seconds after the conclusion of the penalty.
Once the dust settled Toledo finished the game with five power play goals, one shorthanded goal, and killed off six penalties for the special teams sweep against Cincinnati. Pat Nagle got his league-leading ninth win to improve to 9-0-2-0, remaining unbeaten in regulation this season and stopping 13 shots. Jason Kasdorf fell to 2-1-0-0 in the losing effort with 21 saves. Your three stars of the game were all Walleye skaters, and starting from the third star were: Shane Berschbach with three assists, A.J. Jenks with two goals, and Mike Borkowski with two goals and two assists. Shots on goal finished at 27-15 in favor of Toledo.
Toledo and Cincinnati will play again Saturday night at the Huntington Center, as the Walleye look to continue their win streak and increase their lead in the Central Division.