CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye earned their seventh straight road victory on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Cincinnati Cyclones, 3-2, in overtime behind Ryan Lowney’s game-winner and Billy Christopoulos’ 43-save performance.
Toledo trailed, 1-0, after the first period before netting two goals in the second. Cincinnati came back to tie the game early in the third, but Ryan Lowney’s heroics helped propel the Fish to their fourth win in a row. With the win, the Walleye added to their league-leading 32 victories this season.
The Walleye outshot the Cyclones, 11-9, in a tight knit first period, but the Cyclones came away with the 1-0 lead through the first 20 minutes. Justin Vaive, assisted by Louie Caporusso, scored a shorthanded goal at the 7:23 mark following a slew of penalties that resulted in Toledo holding the man advantage. The goal marked the lone tally of the period, keeping the contest close heading into the second frame.
In period two, the Walleye responded with two goals to take the 2-1 lead. The Walleye took the man advantage at the 2:16 mark on Matt McLeod’s cross-checking penalty, and John Albert found the back of the net just over a minute later to tie the game. Albert increased his goal total to 16 on the year while Brandon Hawkins and Randy Gazzola picked up assists.
With 11:48 gone in the middle frame, Hawkins collected his second point of the game on an equal strength goal with help from Matt Berry. The goal was Hawkins’ 13th of the year while Berry’s assist extended his point streak to ten straight games, the longest by a Walleye player this season.
Following the second Walleye goal, the contest began to get chippy as multiple skirmishes broke out over the last six minutes of the frame. Ryan Lowney and Zack Andrusiak each went to the penalty box for roughing at 14:28, and Andrusiak found himself right back in the sin bin along with Chris Martenet at 17:03, also for roughing. Both penalties resulted in 4-on-4 hockey.
At 18:00, Cole Fraser joined Martenet in the box for tripping, putting the Walleye down a skater. Andrusiak and Martenet returned to the ice at 19:03 to put Cincinnati back at full strength, but the Cyclones were called for too many men on the ice just 24 seconds later to return to 4-on-4 play for the remainder of the period. The penalty continued for the first 1:27 of the final period with the Cyclones earning the successful penalty kill. Cincinnati took 26 shots to Toledo’s 17 in the middle frame.
Just 2:11 into the third period, Jesse Schultz tied the game with an equal strength goal for the Cyclones, assisted by Justin Vaive and Matthew Cairns. Just like the opening frame, that goal ended up being the lone tally for either team, while the Walleye outshot the Cyclones, 10-9. The contest headed to overtime tied at two goals each.
The overtime period lasted a mere 1:36, ending on Ryan Lowney’s first goal of the season to give the Walleye the 3-2 victory. TJ Hensick assisted, collecting his 31st helper of the year. With the win, the Walleye ended their road trip with three wins to extend their road win streak to seven straight games.
Cincinnati took 45 shots in the contest to Toledo’s 40. The Walleye converted on 1-of-4 power play opportunities while the Cyclones went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Billy Christopoulos improved to 16-3-2 on the season, making a season-high 43 saves on 45 shots in his third straight win between the pipes for Toledo. Michael Houser was credited with the loss in a 37-save performance for Cincinnati
The Walleye begin a six-game homestand when they return to the Huntington Center on Friday, Feb. 25, to take on the Wichita Thunder. Puck drop from Toledo is set for 7:15 p.m.
- Toledo – Ryan Lowney (game-winning goal)
- Toledo – Billy Christopoulos (W, 43 saves)
- Cincinnati – Michael Houser (L, 37 saves)