CINCINNATI – Billy Christopoulos reached the 40-save mark for the second time in as many nights, as the Toledo Walleye edged the Cincinnati Cyclones by a 2-1 count on Saturday at the Heritage Bank Center.
In all, Christopoulos stopped all but one of the 41 shots he faced to reclaim second-star honors, and turned away 85-of-87 attempts to earn back-to-back victories against a pair of Central Division rivals. With the win, the Walleye (31-15-4-1) improve to 6-2 against Cincinnati (33-15-7-1) in the regular-season series, and trail the Central Division leaders by seven points with five games in hand.
The Cyclones carried the play to begin the contest, and were rewarded with the opening goal 10:03 into the first period. Tobie Bisson directed a pass toward the left corner to Frank Hora, who promptly returned the puck to Bisson in the slot for a forehand effort into the top left corner.
The Walleye hit a couple of posts during the middle period, but Brett Boeing eventually knotted the score at 1-1 with 2:28 to go in the frame. After taking a lead pass from Charle-Edouard D'Astous at the red line and racing down the left wing, Boeing spun away from Johnny Coughlin at the left side of the net and backhanded a shot along the ice that went between the pads of Michael Houser.
After killing off most of a Nolan Gluchowski tripping minor early in the final frame, back-to-back penalties to Pascal Aquin and Coughlin gave the Walleye a 5-on-3 lasting 1:14, prompting the visitors to call timeout with 13:17 remaining in regulation. Forty-five seconds later, Gluchowski capitalized to stake Toledo to its first lead of the night. Although Josh Kestner's initial one-timer was blocked by Houser, T.J. Hensick controlled the loose change and passed the puck behind the Cincinnati net to Shane Berschbach, who opted to set up Gluchowski at the top of the right circle for a sharp one-timer into the top right corner.
Kyle Bonis had a couple chances to find the empty net with Houser on the bench for the extra skater, but the 2-1 scoreline held on to be the final tally.Toledo finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while Cincinnati failed to score on two opportunities. Houser blocked 20-of-22 shots to garner third-star accolades.
What’s Next:The Walleye will conclude their four-game road trip on Wednesday morning with an 11 a.m. puck drop against the Brampton Beast.
Three Stars:1. Toledo – Nolan Gluchowski (game-winning power play goal)2. Toledo – Billy Christopoulos (W, 40 saves)3. Cincinnati – Michael Houser (L, 20 saves)