Due to the ECHL All-Star Classic last Wednesday, the Walleye entered the weekend well rested for a stretch of three games in three nights. Add a few familiar faces back from the “A,” and it was a mostly successful homecoming for the fish.
Kalamazoo Wings 3, Toledo Walleye 1
The Walleye entertained the crowd at the Huntington Center for the first time in nearly three weeks with a stinker. Oops, sorry fans.
Kent Simpson got the start for Toledo in net, opposed by K-Zoo’s Joel Martin. Things looked promising for the Walleye – Trevor Parkes scored just 2:21 into the game to give Toledo the early lead. The Wings would answer back, scoring two on Simpson by halfway through the first period – Nick Sirota potted one at 4:34 followed by John Armstrong at 9:16. K-Zoo held a slight edge in shots, 11-10 after twenty minutes.
The Walleye outshot the Wings 12-5 in the middle period, but Martin stood tall and the score remained 2-1, Wings after 40. During a power play for the Walleye, Dustin Cloutier buried a shorthanded breakaway chance to give the Wings a two goal advantage at 3:22 of the third. Simpson made a nice stop on an Armstrong penalty shot at 4:36 to keep Toledo within striking distance, but it was all for not. Despite 15 SOGs in the final twenty, the Walleye lost to K-Zoo, 3-1. Boo.
Toledo Walleye 5, Bakersfield Condors 1
Bakersfield is currently the worst team in the league (30 points in 46 games, woof) and boy did it show on Saturday night. Kent Simpson got his second consecutive start for Toledo, with Brian Stewart in net for the Condors.
Things looked to be headed for the garbage quickly for the Walleye, with Peter Boyd squeaking a puck past Simpson just 52 seconds into the game. Apparently the Condors went to Waffle House shortly thereafter, as it was all Walleye for the remaining 59 minutes. Doug Clarkson wristed a puck past Stewart at 5:08, followed by a redirect by Cody Lampl at 18:32 to give the Walleye a 2-1 lead after one. Toledo held a 16-12 edge in shots.
A unicorn was spotted at 11:54 of the second period. Oh wait, that was a power play goal for Toledo – scored by Trevor Parkes. That would conclude the excitement for the middle frame,
The third period featured two goals by Joey Martin, at 10:41 and 11:12. That would be all for the game, with Toledo outshooting the Condors 38-30. Parkes had two assists to go with his goal and Andrej Nestrasil had three apples of his own for the evening.
Toledo Walleye 4, Evansville IceMen 1
The Walleye finished off the weekend on Sunday with a visit from their North Division rival. Jordan Pearce returned from his time in Grand Rapids of the AHL (boo) to start in net for the Walleye opposing Paul Karpowich for the IceMen.
The first 40 minutes were fairly low-key from a scoring standpoint. Adam Hobson, freshly released from a PTO in Rockford (oh well), scored the only goal in the first two periods, at 9:37 of the first. Through two, the Walleye held a 22-18 edge in SOGs.
The game remained 1-0 in favor of Toledo until Willie Coetzee scored at 15:31 to give the Walleye a 2-goal advantage. Things got a little crazy as three goals were scored in the final minute of regulation – did everyone take a nap or something? Coetzee scored his 18th of the year with one minute remaining on an empty-net. With 40 seconds left, Kevin Baker ruined the shutout bid for Pearce – WHO SAID THE S-WORD AT THE HUNTINGTON CENTER?! Stephon Thorne scored with 15 seconds left to ice the game for Toledo – what even. The Walleye outshot Evansville, 32-31 for the game.
As I said earlier, the ECHL All Star Game was Wednesday, with Willie Coetzee representing the Walleye. Ben Youds and Luke Glendening were originally chosen to represent Toledo, but both had better things to do in Rockford and Grand Rapids respectively. Like probably beat the crap out of one another (awkward). Coetzee did well, assisting on the first goal for the ECHL All Stars and scoring the team’s third goal. The ECHL All Stars defeated the Colorado Eagles (the hosting team), 7-3.
Blackhawks Prospects Update: Kent Simpson, the loneliest of Blackhawks prospects, sports a 9-9-0-3 record for the Walleye with .890 SV% and a 2.77 GAA. Terry Broadhurst, Ben Youds and Byron Froese (all currently in Rockford) have 31, 27 and 17 ECHL points respectively.
The Week Ahead: The Walleye visit Cincinnati on Thursday, January 31st to play the Cyclones. The Walleye return home to take on the Elmira Jackals on Friday, February 1st and the Reading Royals on Saturday February, 2nd.
Current Standings: North Division – 1) Cincinnati Cyclones, 57 points (45 GP), 2) Toledo Walleye, 50 points (44 GP), 3) Fort Wayne Komets, 48 points (44 GP), 4) Kalamazoo Wings, 43 points (43 GP), 5) Evansville IceMen, 36 points (46 GP). Currently the Walleye hold the sixth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Stats-O-Rama: Willie Coetzee leads the team with 18 goals and 37 points….Andrej Nestrasil leads with 26 assists…Cody Lampl sports a +17…..Jordan Pearce leads the Walleye with a 12-7-0-1 record, a 2.48 GAA and a .909 SV%…Phil Oreskovic leads the Walleye with 88 PIMs…Coetzee is first in the league with 181 SOGs…the Walleye’s power play is 14.5% (21st – third worst) and have a 84% penalty kill rate (7th)…Toledo is 21st out of 23 teams, averaging 13.7 PIM per game.