TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye concluded their three-game homestand with their fourth straight victory Sunday night, holding off the Cincinnati Cyclones, 4-3, at the Huntington Center.
The Fish used three power play goals to their advantage, with Marcus Vela scoring two such goals to bring his total to four in the last two games. The Walleye hold a 12-5-0 record through 17 games and are in first place in the Central Division. Toledo has won their last four contests, also owning a six-game winning streak at the Huntington Center.
The Walleye opened the first period controlling the puck often in the opening minutes, but the Cyclones came away with the first goal of the game at 2:02. Patrick Polino earned the goal with Lincoln Griffin assisting to put Cincinnati up, 1-0.
Following the opening goal, the period consisted of back-and-forth shots before Cincinnati’s Lukas Craggs was called for interference at the 10:24 mark. Marcus Vela quickly took advantage, scoring a power play goal with 10:50 gone to tie the game. John Albert and Josh Dickinson collected the assists, with Dickinson extending his point streak to a team-leading eight games.
The Walleye scored three goals in the second period beginning with Steve Oleksy’s unassisted goal 56 seconds into the frame. The score was Oleksy’s first of the season and gave Toledo their first lead of the game. That advantage lasted until the 7:34 mark when Cincinnati’s Yushiroh Hirano netted a power play goal on assists from Wyatt Ege and Jesse Schultz. The Cyclones gained the advantage on Butrus Ghafari’s holding penalty 29 seconds earlier.
Penalties continued to prove costly for Cincinnati in the second period. Brett Boeing and Marcus Vela each scored with the man advantage before the end of the frame to give the Fish a 4-2 advantage. Boeing’s goal at 13:29 followed a Matthew Cairns cross-checking penalty to give the Walleye defenseman his first goal of the year. Keeghan Howdeshell and Gordi Myer earned the assists. Vela’s score with 58 seconds left in the period marked his fourth power play goal in the last two games. TJ Hensick and Josh Dickinson assisted, bringing Hensick even with his teammate with an eight-game point streak. Both players hold the longest Walleye streak this season.
Toledo and Cincinnati each picked up a penalty in the third period, but neither team scored with the man advantage to keep the score locked at 4-2 for the first half of the frame. Cincinnati chipped into the Walleye lead with 7:32 remaining in regulation, courtesy of Dajon Mingo’s equal strength goal. Matthew Cairns and Yushiroh Hirano assisted on Mingo’s goal, bringing the score to 4-3.
Cincinnati’s Mat Robson left the Cyclones’ net empty with 1:18 left in the final frame as Cincinnati brought on an extra skater to attempt to tie the game. The Cyclones kept the puck in the Toledo zone for much of the final minute, but Billy Christopoulos stopped all four shots as the clock wound down, giving the Walleye the 4-3 win.
The Cyclones outshot the Walleye, 38-35, during the contest. The Fish took 27 shots to Cincinnati’s 20 in the first two periods before the Cyclones gained an 18-8 shot advantage in the final frame. The Walleye went 3-for-4 on the power play while Cincinnati scored on one of their three opportunities. Toledo is a combined 6-for-9 on the power play in their last two games, going 3-for-5 in last night’s overtime win against the Wheeling Nailers.
Billy Christopoulos earned his fifth straight win in net for the Fish, saving 35-of-38 shots in a full 60 minutes of play. Mat Robson took the loss for the Cyclones, stopping 31-of-35 shots in 58:42.
The Walleye begin a six-game road trip Wednesday when they travel to Iowa for a three-game series with the Heartlanders. Puck drop from Xtream Arena is set for 8 p.m.
- Toledo – Marcus Vela (two power play goals)
- Toledo – Josh Dickinson (two assists)
- Cincinnati – Yushiroh Hirano (power play goal, assist)