Walleye Fall Short After Cyclones Rally in Third Period
CINCINNATI - The Toledo Walleye were ahead 2-1 over the Cincinnati Cyclones with fewer than seven minutes left in regulation, but the Central Division leaders rallied for three unanswered goals to claim a 4-2 result on Thursday at the Heritage Bank Center.
The Walleye (29-15-4-1) had entered the contest with five consecutive victories against Cincinnati (32-14-7-1), but now trail their intrastate rivas by nine points with five games in hand. The setback also ends Toledo's stretch of four straight wins inside the Heritage Bank Center, which includes Games 1 and 5 of the 2019 Central Division Finals.
Justin Baudry put the home side on the board first with 4:03 gone in the opening period. Pascal Aquin looked to center the puck from below the Toledo goalline and found Baudry all alone at the left circle for a sharp wirst shot inside the far post.
The Walleye eventually pulled even shortly after the halfway mark of regulation. T.J. Hensick's no-look pass toward Gregor MacLeod was cut off in the high slot, but the latter managed to gain possesson at the left circle and slide the puck back through the goal mouth to Hensick for a one-timer over the left pad of Jamie Phillips.
Josh Winquist then tallied a power play goal to stake Toledo to a 2-1 lead with 3:11 remaining in the same frame. With one second remaining on a Mason Mitchell tripping minor, Kyle Bonis took a pass from Hensick at the right edge of the Cyclones' trapezoid and skated behind the net before centering the puck to Winquist at the right circle for a one-timer that found a gap between Phillips' pads.
The Walleye held on to their one-goal lead until Baudry's second of the night knotted the score at two apiece with 6:53 to go in regulation. He retrieved Phillipe Hudon's pass in the right corner and worked his way to the right circle for a wrist shot inside the left post.
Cincinnati went back in front with 3:17 left in the final stanza. Ben Johnson gained the Toledo zone on the left wing and sent the puck toward the high slot to Justin Vaive, who unloaded a wrist shot past Larsson's catching glove. Brady Vail put the game beyond any doubt when he tacked on an empty-netter from the red line with 23 seconds to go to give the Cyclones a 4-2 advantage.
Toledo finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Cincinnati failed to score on a pair of opportunities. Larsson turned away 27-of-30 shots for the visitors, as Phillips stopped 28-of-30 to collect third-star honors.
The Walleye continue their four-game road swing on Saturday as they travel to the Hoosier State to battle the Fort Wayne Komets. Puck drop from the Memorial Coliseum is scheduled for 8:05 p.m.
1. Cincinnati - Justin Baudry (two goals)
2. Cincinnati - Justin Vaive (game-winning goal)
3. Cincinnati - Jamie Phillips (W, 28 saves)
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