TOLEDO, OHIO - The Walleye saw an unfortunate end to their season-high six-game winning streak tonight at home as they took a hard-fought 4-2 loss to the Cyclones.
It was a battle for second place in the Central Division tonight between the Ohio rivals. This game was the ninth of 11 total contests between Toledo and Cincinnati this season. The Walleye have taken the previous two games against the Cyclones this month, the first being an overtime win in Cincinnati and the second a home victory. Heading into the evening, the Walleye held a 4-3-1 record against the Cyclones.
It was a quiet first period at the Huntington Center tonight until Brandon Hawkins blasted a one-timer past Cincinnati netminder Beck Warm late in the 12th minute. The equal strength goal came after Trenton Bliss fed the puck to Gordie Green in the Cincinnati zone for the quick pass to Hawkins. Despite the 11-8 shots advantage going to the Cyclones after one period, the Walleye kept their one-goal lead.
Toledo forward Trenton Bliss took the first penalty of the night just 1:21 into period two after tripping a Cincinnati skater behind the Cyclones net. The Walleye, with the fifth-place penalty kill in the league at 83.8%, shut out the Cyclones once and did it again four minutes later after a tripping minor against Mitchell Heard.
Halfway through the ninth minute, Cincinnati's Zack Andrusiak made it a tie game with a one-timer past Sebastian Cossa. Several minutes later, Toledo went on their first man advantage of the night after a helmet violation against Cincinnati's Cody Caron. Three Walleye shots were recorded on the power play to give Toledo the 13-10 shots advantage in the middle frame.
It was anyone's game heading into the final third. Toledo registered six straight shots in just over a minute to start it off. After killing off a holding penalty late in the seventh minute, Cincinnati capitalized on a scoring chance exactly 30 seconds later to grab the 2-1 lead.
Three more Toledo power plays came in the remainder of the third period. The first two Cincinnati penalties went to Matthew Cairns, the first for interference at 9:20 and the second for holding at 15:50. Still trailing by one with just over two minutes to go, Toledo pulled Sebastian Cossa from their net for the extra man. 26 seconds later, Trenton Bliss snuck the puck past Beck Warm for the late game-tying goal. Brandon Hawkins and Riley McCourt picked up the helpers on the goal.
It didn't take long, 21 seconds to be exact, for the Cyclones to reclaim their lead. Yushiroh Hirano was the scorer of Cincinnati's game-winner. With 32 seconds left on the clock, Patrick Polino gave Toledo their last shot on the power play after receiving a hooking penalty. Things did not go Toledo's way on the man advantage, however, as Phil Lagunov sealed the deal for the Cyclones with an empty netter at 19:47.
- With today's game being the last for the Walleye in January, they end the month with a 10-3-0 record. This includes a record of 3-3-0 at home and a perfect 7-0 road record.
- Sebastian Cossa made his 28th appearance in the Toledo net tonight, finishing with 27 saves.
- Brandon Hawkins added two more points to his team-leading record in his 200th pro game tonight. The forward has recorded at least one point in his last five games with a total of nine (4G, 5A). In 36 appearances for Toledo so far this season, he has recorded 40 total points with 16 goals and 24 assists.
- Trenton Bliss (1G, 1A) and Gordie Green (1A) capped off a successful month tonight at home. Both forwards ended the month of January with 18 points in 13 games.
- The Walleye acquired Reading defenseman Adrien Beraldo in exchange for forward Brett Boeing earlier today. Beraldo, the Ontario native, is in his second pro season; his debut came with Iowa last year in which he tallied 15 points (4G, 11A) in 49 games. He also appeared in six games with the AHL affiliate of the Heartlanders, the Iowa Wild. This season, he has appeared in 19 games with Reading, as well as four with Chicago in the AHL. The six-foot, 183lb defenseman totaled three points, all coming as assists, with Reading this year. His junior tenure consisted of four seasons in the OHL between Peterborough, Kingston, and Niagara. In 164 games, Beraldo registered 47 points with 16 goals and 31 assists.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) CIN - Y. Hirano (1G)
2) CIN - Z. Andrusiak (2G)
3) TOL - T. Bliss (1G, 1A)
Toledo will be back home on Friday, February 3 to host their third non-divisional opponent this season, the Kansas City Mavericks. Puck drop is slated for 7:15 p.m.