TOLEDO, OHIO - Trailing Cincinnati by two after eight minutes, Toledo scored four unanswered goals for a much-needed home victory to end the four-game week.
The Walleye wore specialty jerseys as they became the Blue Barracudas in tonight's Nickelodeon Legends of the Hidden Temple game. John Lethemon got his eleventh start in the Toledo net tonight with Mark Sinclair in the Cyclones net at the other end.
Cincinnati applied the pressure early on, scoring two equal-strength goals just 1:13 apart. Lee Lapid was the first to strike at 6:54. Josh Passolt sent the puck through the five-hole of John Lethemon to put the Cyclones up 2-0 shortly after.
At 14:25, Gordie Green got it started for the Walleye, tipping Donovan Sebrango's shot from the blue line past Sinclair. Brandon Hawkins was the second assister on the equal-strength goal. Cincinnati got the penalties started early in the 18th minute as Zack Andrusiak received a hooking minor. The Cyclones currently lead the league in most penalty minutes per game, averaging about 18. Toledo registered two shots in the remainder of the period to take a 10-9 edge and carry the rest of their power play into the second.
The Walleye power play expired early in the middle frame, but another one came late in the fifth minute after Cincinnati's Justin Vaive received a boarding minor. The Cyclones picked up the penalty kill after allowing one Toledo shot. At 11:01, matching minors were given to Brandon Hawkins and Kohen Olischefski. Hawkins tripped up Olischefski who dove and received a penalty of his own. The scoring was evened up at 14:59 after Trenton Bliss tipped Riley McCourt's shot from the top of the left circle. Brandon Hawkins got his second point of the game with another assist. This ended up being the lone goal of the second period in which the Cyclones outshot Toledo 11-9.
With a 2-2 tie, it was anyone's game heading into the final period. Sam Craggs capitalized on a Toledo scoring chance just 14 seconds in for the game-winner. It started when Thomas Ebbing poked the puck away from Cincinnati's Jalen Smereck as he tried to work his way out of the Cyclones zone. Ebbing split two defenders finding Charlie Curti at the blue line for a shot that was tipped by Craggs.
The Walleye went on their third power play of the night at 3:21 after Sean Allen headed to the box for slashing. The Cyclones kept Toledo shotless on the penalty kill, but gave them another man advantage just over a minute later after a hooking call against Josh Burnside. At 12:23, Mitchell Heard secured the Walleye victory with the fourth unanswered goal. Kirill Tyutyayev found Mitchell Heard at the right circle for a one-timer that sent the Huntington Center into an eruption of cheers. Riley McCourt picked up another point with the second assist.
The Cyclones got their first power play opportunity with just 5:45 remaining in the third period as Brandon Hawkins was assigned a hooking penalty. The Walleye secured the penalty kill and applied the pressure until the clock wound down for a well-deserved win on home ice. Toledo only allowed two Cincinnati shots in the third period for a final advantage of 26-22.
- Gordie Green's first period goal was his third in as many games. This was another big week for the forward, who got the first hat trick of the season and a total of six points (5G, 1A) in three games last week. He ends this week with five points (3G, 2A) in four games.
- Mitchell Heard extended his six-game point streak with the insurance goal in the third period. He now has nine points (4G, 5A) in his last seven games.
- With two assists, Brandon Hawkins notched his ninth multi-point game of the season.
- Trenton Bliss extended his seven-game point streak with the game-tying goal. He now has 12 points (4G, 8A) in his last eight games.
- Forward Kirill Tyutyayev has totaled five assists in his last three games.
- The Walleye went 3-1-0 this week, securing six out of a possible eight points.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - S. Craggs (1G)
2) TOL - M. Heard (1G)
3) TOL - R. McCourt (2A)
With the 2023 ECHL All-Star Classic taking place tomorrow in Norfolk, the Walleye will resume play at the end of the week for a three-game road trip in Iowa. The first contest is set for Friday at 8:05 p.m.