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Walleye handed rare home defeat by Cyclones

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye were dealt their first setback on home ice this season, as Devante Stephens broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of goals to guide the Cincinnati Cyclones to a 3-1 victory on Wednesday before a sold-out School Education Day crowd of 7,628 at the Huntington Center.

The result snapped Toledo's (14-3-2-0) six-game winning streak in the Glass City, and lifted Cincinnati (14-5-2-1) to the summit of the Central Division standings, though the Walleye trail by a single point with three games in hand.

Showing no effects from the early start time, Cincinnati opened the scoring 4:10 into the contest. After Myles Powell sent a pass through the slot to Jesse Schultz at the right circle, the latter was credited with his fourth goal of the season when his centering pass in the direction of Alex Wideman ricocheted off the right knee of Trevor Hamilton, between Pat Nagle’s pads and narrowly over the goalline by the time Matt Register was able to intervene.

The visitors looked to add to their lead later in the period, only for the Walleye to kill a 5-on-3 lasting 1:18, before the hosts evened the score at the 14:40 mark. Register leveled Judd Peterson in the Cyclones’ zone, allowing Trevor Yates to gain possession at the left circle, where he turned around and fired a wrist shot into the top right corner.
The game remained deadlocked as the Cyclones failed to convert on back-to-back breakaway attempts in the middle frame. Near the halfway point of the stanza, a shorthanded 2-on-0 was denied when Nagle comfortably pushed aside former Walleye Dominic Zombo’s point-blank opportunity. Moments later, Pascal Aquin missed the net to the blocker side and was unable to bury the ensuing carom off the end boards.

Cincinnati would eventually jump back in front in the waning seconds of the period. Brady Vail’s feed from the bottom of the right circle reached Stephens at the point for a slapshot that deflected off the stick of Dan DeSalvo and knuckled its way into the net at 19:27 to give the Cyclones a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission. 

A third goal arrived for the Cyclones 1:12 into the third. Mitch Jones’ initial snapshot from the right point hit traffic in front, but the puck bounced back to Stephens at the point for a wrist shot past a screened Nagle to wrap up the scoring. Toledo peppered Cincinnati’s net with 12 shots in the final frame, but could not put anything further past Michael Houser as the Cyclones escaped with a two-goal victory.

Both sides finished 0-for-2 on the power play. Houser turned away 31-of-32 shots for his seventh win of the year, while Nagle fell for the second time in 13 starts despite blocking 27-of-30 shots.

What’s Next:
The Walleye remain at the Huntington Center on Friday and Saturday to host the Tulsa Oilers and Wheeling Nailers, respectively. Both games start at 7:15 p.m.

Three Stars:
1. Cincinnati – Devante Stephens (two goals)
2. Cincinnati – Brady Vail (two assists)
3. Toledo – Trevor Yates (goal)

Fish Tales:
• The Walleye are 9-8-2 overall in morning games and carry a 6-6-2 in matinees held at the Huntington Center.
• Toledo is 10-2-2-0 when outshooting its opponent this season.
• Dan DeSalvo made his debut in a Toledo uniform on Wednesday, becoming the 14th BGSU alumnus to appear for the Walleye in the franchise’s 10-year history.
• Today’s attendance of 7,268 marked Toledo’s sixth sellout in seven home games to begin the 2018-19 season. 
• In all, 6,602 children from 92 schools filled the Huntington Center for the first of two School Education Day games. The second game, initially scheduled for Nov. 15, will take place on Jan. 31 as the Walleye host the Kalamazoo Wings at 10:35 a.m.

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