TOLEDO, OHIO - The Walleye defeated the Cyclones for the second night in a row, but this time in front of another capacity crowd at the Huntington Center. Gordi Myer, Brandon Hawkins, and John Lethemon were key contributors to the shootout win.
Tonight's game concluded the first of two home and homes against the Cyclones this season. Another sellout crowd of 8,038 showed up to enjoy the annual Teddy Bear Toss night hosted by the Walleye.
The penalties came early as the Walleye went on a four-minute power play just 2:29 in after a high-sticking double minor against Cincinnati's Zack Andrusiak. Four Toledo shots were recorded on the man advantage, but Mark Sinclair let nothing past him.
The Cyclones got their first power play late in the twelfth minute when Mitchell Heard headed to the box for interference. Lethemon picked up three saves on the Walleye penalty kill. Lethemon and Sinclair made key saves throughout the remainder of the first to keep both teams scoreless. Shots on goal were even at eight apiece after 20 minutes.
The second period was action-packed with penalties. Toledo's second power play came early in the third minute when Zack Andrusiak earned his second visit to the box for sending the puck out of play. The Cyclones allowed just one Toledo shot on the penalty kill.
Louie Caporusso was next in the box for the Cyclones as he received an interference penalty at the 10:54 mark. Thomas Ebbing cut the Walleye power play seven seconds short on an interference call at 12:47, but Justin Vaive shaved the Cincinnati power play down by 40 seconds with a slashing penalty at 14:07.
The long-awaited Walleye goal that sent the stuffed animals flying was scored by Gordi Myer. The defenseman picked up the puck in the Walleye defensive zone and went coast to coast to send Toledo into the second intermission with the 1-0 lead.
The first penalty of the third period was issued to Lukas Craggs for slashing. Lethemon picked up two saves on the penalty kill. Ryan Lowney was next to head to the box for Toledo after a hooking minor. The Walleye were able to cling onto their lead until Justin Vaive tied it up 34 seconds into the Cyclones power play. This ended up sending the game into the seven-minute overtime period.
Toledo was given a significant scoring opportunity just over four minutes into overtime when Cincinnati received a penalty for too many men on the ice. This was on top of the Louie Caporusso hooking penalty that was assigned a minute earlier. The Walleye were unable to score on the two-man advantage. With just 19 seconds remaining in overtime, Gordie Green sent the Walleye on the penalty kill with a holding penalty, but the Fish were able to keep it out of their net to force the shootout.
Cincinnati's Patrick Polino opened up round one of the shootout. Lethemon got the save. Brandon Hawkins was the first shooter for the Walleye. He made it 1-0 for Toledo as he snuck one past Sinclair. Cincinnati forward Phil Lagunov began round two with a miss. Mitchell Heard was the second Walleye shooter, but the first to be stopped by Sinclair. Matt Berry, the former Walleye, was Cincinnati's third shooter. Lethemon got his third straight save to secure the Walleye win.
With his third start of the year, John Lethemon posted a season-best 28 saves. The Walleye outshot the Cyclones 42-29 in the thrilling shootout victory.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - B. Hawkins (SO winner)
2) TOL - G. Myer (1G)
3) TOL - J. Lethemon (28 SVS)
The Walleye will head to Wheeling tomorrow for their second straight Sunday afternoon matchup. Puck drop is set for 4:10 p.m.