TOLEDO, OH – Toledo looked to conclude their fourth game in five days with a second straight victory over Central Division rival Cincinnati. In only their fifth home game of the season, Toledo had to skate without Shane Berschbach as he was scratched from the lineup, but that didn’t slow down the Walleye. Starting goaltenders for the contest were Pat Nagle for Toledo and Anthony Peters for the Cyclones.
The Walleye continued from where they left off Friday night by dictating the pace throughout the first period. Four minutes into the game Toledo was pressuring Cincinnati when a point shot found it’s way past Peters, but the goal was waved off. Christian Hilbrich deflected the puck perfectly behind the netminder, but his stick was above the crossbar and was ruled a high stick. Toledo didn’t let the no goal disrupt their flow, as defenseman Patrick McCarron stepped up. Taking the first three shots on goal for Toledo, McCarron found paydirt on his third attempt when he beat Peters for the first good goal of the game at 7:29. Cincinnati answered in a similar matter to Friday night’s game though, when Geoff Fortman’s first goal of the season tied it within three minutes of the Walleye goal. At the 12:40 mark Toledo’s special teams had their first chance to continue their dominance when Justin Danforth was called for slashing. It took 1:14 for the Walleye to cash in and regain the lead when Christian Hilbrich got his first counted goal of the game to make it 2-1. Less than a minute later Zach Nastasiuk joined in on the scoring to extend the lead to 3-1 when Peters allowed his third goal on Toledo’s tenth shot of the game. The score held for the rest of the period, despite Toledo peppering Peters with four more shots before the horn sounded.
Cincinnati needed to come out and break Toledo’s hold over the pace of the game but was unable to do so. During the first half of the period, Cincinnati only managed one shot on goal, whereas Toledo had eight shots on goal. Eric Bradford and Nick Trecapelli brought fans to their feet at 6:26, when Bradford had enough of Trecapelli’s shoves after the whistle and dropped the gloves with the Cyclones defenseman. Trecapelli got the takedown, and both skaters went to the box for five minutes. Shortly after play resumed, Connor Crisp was sent to the box to join Bradford after getting caught slashing. Toledo successfully killed off the penalty, and play continued until the Cyclones drew within a goal after Jesse Schultz was left alone on the far side of the crease and tapped in the easy goal at 10:27. The gave some energy to Cincinnati, as they began to generate more shots on goal, but were hindered by taking two quick penalties at 12:50 and 15:14. The Cyclones killed off the penalties and even had a chance on the power play when Tyler Barnes served a face-off violation with 18:44 left in the period, but we unable to get the equalizer.
At the beginning of the third Toledo had 44 seconds of the face-off violation penalty to kill, which they did successfully. Toledo and Cincinnati alternated shots until Austen Brassard and Rob De Fulviis got offsetting roughing calls, which gave the crowd a bit of 4-on-4 hockey. Both penalties expired with no consequence, and the teams had even strength hockey for a minute and four seconds until Mitch Nylen gave Toledo their fourth power play after a hooking call at 5:53. Toledo was unable to convert the man advantage though but continued to dominate shots for next ten minutes. A fifth power play opportunity was given at 15:39 due to a Trecapelli trip, which Cincinnati killed off to stay in the game. With 1:52 left in the game Cincinnati pulled Peters to get the extra attacker on the ice, but were unable to beat Nagle as the Walleye defense held on for their fourth straight game.
The Walleye have won eight of their last ten games and stayed undefeated at home after dispatching the Cyclones. Toledo went 1-for-5 on the power play, and Cincinnati went 0-for-2. Nagle improved to 10-0-2-0 with 16 saves, while Peters dropped to 5-4-1-0 with a 31 save performance. Your three stars of the game were once again all Walleye players, just like Friday’s game. The third star went to Pat Nagle, the second star was awarded to Erik Bradford with his one assist, and first star was earned by Christian Hilbrich with his one goal, one assist effort.