The week for the Walleye looked so promising – one last game on the road at Wheeling Thursday night, and then back-to-back games at home vs. North Division newcomers Fort Wayne and Evansville. They should do well, I thought. I should stop thinking.
Wheeling Nailers 3, Toledo Walleye 2 (SO)
This was a game where if you watched the first period and left you wouldn’t have missed much. Seriously.
Both teams decided to screw anyone who may have gotten stuck in traffic on the way to the WesBanco Arena and did all their scoring within the first 17 minutes of the game. The Nailers got off to the races first, with Wheeling defenseman Cody Wild beating Toledo goaltender Kent Simpson just 2:58 into the game. Peter Merth followed just 4:43 later, to spot the Nailers to to 2-goal lead early.
Toledo came back quickly, as former IceHog Ben Youds beat Wheeling goalie Patrick Killeen with a wrist shot at 10:22. Randy Rowe buried a Killeen rebound at 16:56 to knot the game at two. Both teams had nine shots on goal at the end of twenty minutes.
The Walleye mustered a mere two SOGs in the second period. Two. Wheeling put 9 shots on Simpson, including a breakaway by forward Chris Barton, but to no avail. More of the same followed in both the third period and overtime – at the end of 65 minutes the Nailers held a 27 to 21 shot advantage over Toledo.
The Walleye were completely stoned by Killeen in the shootout. Luke Glendening, Andrej Nestrasil, Travis Novak, Byron Froese and Max Campbell were all denied. Meanwhile, Barton scored as the third shooter out for Wheeling, and it was all they needed to secure the victory. The Walleye secured a point – the loneliest of points as they would soon find out.
Fort Wayne Komets 4, Toledo Walleye 3
With the Komets trip to the Huntington Center on Friday night it was the first time hockey teams from the two cities met since 1985, in the days of the old IHL. It was the Walleye who got out in front first, with Luke Glendening scoring shorthanded on Komets goaltender Charlie Effinger at 5:49. Fort Wayne would score one of their own on the same power play just 35 seconds later, as Brett Smith got a shot past Jordan Pearce, making his season debut in net for Toledo after getting sent down from Grand Rapids. The first period would end tied at one, with Fort Wayne holding a slight edge in SOGs, 9 to 8.
The only scoring in the middle frame would belong to Fort Wayne, when Brent Henley tipped a shot past Pearce at 11:45. All of the action would come in the third, in an exciting, yet unsatisfying finish.
Randy Rowe “scored” on the power play just 1:42 into the third to tie the game at two. Meaning that a Komets defenseman actually put the puck past Effinger, but who’s counting. Subsequently, Fort Wayne would score on their next two shots – Jean-Michel Rizk at 3:06 and an unassisted goal by Thomas Beauregard at 8:05 to give the Komets a 4-2 lead. Toledo would attempt a comeback – Willie Coetzee blew a shot from the point past Effinger with 9:30 left to close the gap to a single goal. But despite pulling Pearce with 1:45 left, the Komets would hang on for the victory. The Walleye outshot Fort Wayne for the game, 26-21.
Evansville IceMen 4, Toledo Walleye 1
Going into this game, the IceMen had only won a single game in the young season, just the previous evening vs. Wheeling. Oy Vey.
The first period featured no scoring as Kent Simpson and Rob Madore (FORMER EXPRESS GOALIE, PARDON MY TEARS) stopped 11 and 9 shots respectively. The Walleye dented twine first, on a one-timer by Byron Froese 3:13 into the second. The fun was short-lived though – Nathan Moon put a rebound past Simpson on the power play at 7:31. With just 5:52 left in the second, Todd Robinson scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway to give the IceMen a one-goal lead.
Statistically, the third period was all Walleye except for where it mattered – the scoreboard. Despite 12 shots on Madore in the third, it was only Evansville who would score. Matt Gens scored on the power play at 11:11, and Dale Mahovsky put the game away with an empty net goal with just 1:17 remaining. The Walleye held a decided advantage in shots, 36-28 for the game. No, I was not just clapping for Madore. Ok, maybe a little (MEMORIESSSS).
Blackhawks Prospects Update: Byron Froese is tied for the team lead with 7 points (2G, 5A)….Both Terry Broadhurst and Ben Youds have 5 points thus far…Kent Simpson is 2-2-0-1 on the season with a 2.55 GAA and a .902 SV%
The Week Ahead: The Fort Wayne Komets will return to Toledo on Wednesday, November 7th. The Walleye will play back-to-back games vs. the Wheeling Nailers, in Wheeling on Friday, November 9th and at home on Saturday, November 10th. The Walleye will play the South Carolina Stingrays at home on Sunday, November 11th, completing a busy weekend.
Current Standings: North Division – 1) Cincinnati Cyclones, 14 points (8 GP), 2) Fort Wayne Komets, 11 points (8 GP), 3) Kalamazoo Wings, 10 points (9 GP), 4) Toldeo Walleye, 9 points (9 GP), 5) Evansville IceMen, 5 points (9 GP). Yuck.
Stats-O-Rama: Andrej Nestrasil, Willie Coetzee and Byron Froese leads the team with 7 points…Coetzee and Nestrasil both have four goals…Froese has 5 assists and leads the team with a +7…Petr Mrazek (now playing for the Griffins in the AHL) is 5th in the ECHL with a 2.02 GAA and is 3rd in the league with a .944 SV%…Coetzee is fourth in the ECHL with 40 SOG…the Walleye are a putrid 8.8% on the power play (just 3 goals on 34 chances) but a decent 85.4% on killing penalties…Toledo is the least penalized team in the ECHL, averaging just 13.6 PIMs a game. Some fans are very unhappy about this. No, I am not kidding.