TOLEDO, Ohio – For the second time in as many games in a hard-fought Central Division Finals, the road team authored a last-minute victory, as the Cincinnati Cyclones scored a power play goal to recapture the lead before adding an empty-netter on another power play in a 4-2 win over the Toledo Walleye on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,502 at the Huntington Center, tying the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
After A.J. Jenks was called for cross-checking with 1:21 to go in regulation, Cincinnati eventually claimed their third lead of the night on the ensuing power play when Myles Powell took a rinkwide pass from Eric Knodel at the left circle and fired a wrist shot inside the near post with 29.2 seconds remaining in the contest. The Toledo bench was slapped with an unsportsmanlike conduct minor following what proved to be the game-winning tally, and Judd Peterson inflated the visitors’ margin by shooting a puck out of his own zone into a vacated net with 9.1 seconds left.
The Walleye will host the next two games of the series at the Huntington Center, staging Game 3 on Wednesday and Game 4 on Friday. Both games will start at 7:35 p.m.
Cincinnati took advantage a fortunate bounce to seize an early advantage. Kurt Gosselin’s pass toward the left corner hit a stanchion and hopped in front to Vasili Glotov, who moved from forehand to backhand before sliding a shot between Pat Nagle’s pads 5:32 into the contest.
The Walleye overcame a sluggish start and pulled even on their first power play opportunity 1:57 later. Matt Register set up Greg Wolfe at the top of the right circle for a wrister that sailed past the catching glove of Michael Houser and into the top right corner.
Although the Walleye outshot the Cyclones by a 16-6 count during the middle period, the visitors jumped back in front with a power play goal of their own at the 7:21 mark. Powell considered sending the puck down to the right dot, but instead flicked a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that ended up in the top left corner.
Once again, the Walleye restored parity on the man advantage with 12:18 remaining in regulation. Just prior to absorbing a hard check from Arvin Atwal near the left half-boards, Shane Berschbach found Register at the point for a sharp wrist shot into the top left corner for his third goal of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club. Game 2 remained deadlocked until the Cyclones responded with a pair of power play goals in the final minute to escape with a 4-2 decision.
Toledo finished 2-for-4 on the power play, while Cincinnati scored on three of its five chances. Houser picked up the win along with second-star honors after turning aside 31-of-33 shots, as Nagle blocked 18-of-22 in defeat.
1. Cincinnati – Myles Powell (two power play goals)
2. Cincinnati – Michael Houser (W, 31 saves)
3. Toledo – Matt Register (power play goal, assist)