TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye earned their third victory in as many days against the Central Division-leading Cincinnati Cyclones, as Gregor MacLeod scored his first two ECHL goals in a 5-2 win on Sunday at the Huntington Center.
Kyle Bonis factored in each of Toledo’s (28-13-3-1) first three goals, scoring once and adding a pair of helpers to garner first-star honors, while Marcus Vela pitched in with a goal and an assist. Filip Larsson turned away 25-of-27 shots to secure his second win of the weekend series, after blocking 27-of-29 in a 3-2 overtime win at Cincinnati (29-13-7-1) on Friday.
The result extends a season-high six-game winning streak on home ice, and gives the Walleye eight wins in their last nine overall. Additionally, Toledo has won five consecutive meetings against Cincinnati and holds a 9-2 record over its intrastate rivals, dating back to the 2019 Central Division Finals.
MacLeod started the scoring for the Walleye 11:08 into the opening frame. Vela gained the zone on a 3-on-2 and sent the puck through the slot toward the edge of the left circle to Bonis, who in turn set up MacLeod at the back door for an easy wrist shot into an open net.
Charle-Edouard D’Astous eventually doubled Toledo’s lead one period later. After receiving the puck from Kevin Spinozzi at the right dot, Bonis delivered a rinkwide pass to D’Astous at the left circle for a sharp wrist shot past Jamie Phillips' blocker at the 8:12 mark.
Cincinnati made its mark on the scoresheet at 12:33 of the same frame. After Justin Vaive’s one-timer in close was kicked away by the right pad of Larsson, Justin Baudry corralled the loose puck at the left half-boards and wristed a shot that deflected inside the right post.
The hosts quickly bounced back, as Bonis needed just 57 seconds to restore Toledo’s two-goal cushion. Josh Winquist entered the Cyclones' zone and guided the puck through the slot to Bonis at the top of the right circle for a one-timer that blew past Phillips' catching glove.
Baudry’s second goal of the period brought the Cyclones back within a goal at the 18:28 mark. Jesse Schultz won an offensive-zone faceoff at the right circle, which set up Baudry in the high slot for a one-timer that sailed into the top right corner. With the Walleye still holding a 3-2 lead at the halfway point of final frame, MacLeod gave the hosts some much-needed breathing room with a power play goal at the 10:26 mark. After playing catch with Shane Berschbach at the left circle, Kestner assessed his options before giving the puck to MacLeod in the slot for a snapshot into the top right corner.
Vela was credited with giving the Walleye a 5-2 advantage, becoming the ninth Toledo to reach double-figures in goals this season. Although his intention was to set up MacLeod at the hash marks for a potential hat trick, Vela's pass instead ricocheted off the right leg of Frank Hora before Vaive inadvertantly used his right skate to brush the puck into his own net with 5:21 to play.
In all, Toledo finsiehd 1-for-3 on the power play, while Cincinnati did not score on two opportunities. Phillips turned away 29-of-34 shots in a losing cause for the visitors.
What’s Next:The Walleye will undertake another stretch of three games in three days next weekend, beginning on Friday when they travel to West Michigan for a 7 p.m. tilt against the Kalamazoo Wings.
Three Stars:1. Toledo - Kyle Bonis (goal, two assists)2. Toledo - Gregor MacLeod (two goals)3. Cincinnati - Justin Baudry (two goals)