TOLEDO, OHIO - Trailing by six after 40 minutes, the Walleye outshot Cincinnati 15-3 in the final frame and scored four unanswered goals to take a hard-fought loss at home.
John Lethemon was the starting netminder for Toledo tonight. This was just his second start this season against the Cyclones. His first was a win at the Huntington Center on December 3 during which he only allowed one Cyclones goal. Cincinnati goaltender Beck Warm got his fourth start against Toledo tonight.
The Walleye kicked off their night with a penalty kill after Riley McCourt headed to the box early in the second minute. Toledo had several key scoring chances in the first ten minutes as they outshot the Cyclones by a count of 6-3. Another Toledo penalty, this time against Cédric Lacroix for sending the puck out of play, resulted in the second Walleye penalty kill with just 14:20 gone. Just 32 seconds later, Cincinnati's Josh Passolt got the Cyclones on the board.
With 17:10 gone, John Lethemon headed for the Toledo bench as a delayed penalty against the Cyclones was signaled. After 43 seconds, the whistle was blown and Lee Lapid was headed to the box for a cross-checking minor. Despite two Toledo shots on the man advantage and a 10-6 edge after 20 minutes, the Cyclones headed into the middle frame with the lead.
The second period got off to an unfortunate start as Cincinnati scored on three consecutive shots in a matter of two minutes. Louie Caporusso got it started at 1:48 with Zack Andrusiak following just over a minute later. Josh Passolt got his second of the night at 3:48 to make it a four-goal game. It was after Cincinnati's fourth that rookie Sebastian Cossa replaced John Lethemon in the Toledo net.
The Walleye earned a chance to get on the board at 9:28 as Cincinnati's Cody Caron headed to the box for high-sticking. Three Toledo shots were recorded on the man advantage, but the Walleye just couldn't find the back of the net. Two more Cincinnati goals came before the end of the period, the first being an equal-strength goal by Patrick Polino at 13:35. The second was a power play goal scored by former Walleye Matt Berry. The Cincinnati man advantage came after a hooking penalty against Toledo's Ryan Lowney at 18:33.
The final third of the game was dominated by Toledo who scored four unanswered goals to shave the Cincinnati lead down to two. The first three came in a four-minute span starting at 4:02. Thomas Ebbing sent the puck to Brandon Hawkins at the point who then lasered a shot at the Cincinnati net. Trenton Bliss tipped the shot past Warm to put Toledo on the board and end Cincinnati's hopes of a shutout. Just over a minute later, Hawkins ripped a shot from the right circle that made it a 6-2 game. Charlie Curti and Mitchell Heard were the assisters. Three more minutes passed and the Cyclones saw their lead split in half after Gordie Green rebounded a Brett Boeing shot that bounced off Warm's right pad.
Cincinnati's third penalty of the night came at 15:24 after Lincoln Griffin sent the puck out of play. Just over a minute later, Bray Crowder joined his teammate in the box following an interference call. The final Walleye goal, Hawkins' second of the night, came 44 seconds after Cossa was called to the Toledo bench to give the Walleye a 6-on-3 man advantage. This strong third period effort concluded a night that saw the Walleye come back from a six-goal deficit after two periods.
- Brandon Hawkins secured his third three-point night this season with two goals and an assist.
- With the third Toledo goal, Gordie Green capped off a six-point weekend in which he registered five goals and an assist. He also extended his two-game point streak.
- Mitchell Heard's assist on the second Walleye goal extended his four-game point streak.
- Brandon Hawkins (2G, 1A) and Trenton Bliss (1G, 1A) both extended their three-game point streaks.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) CIN - J. Passolt (2G)
2) TOL - B. Hawkins (2G, 1A)
3) CIN - Z. Berzolla (3A)
The Walleye kick off a four-game week this upcoming Wednesday on the road in Cincinnati. Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m.