When playoff spots for the ECHL playoffs are determined in April, Toledo might look back with frustration on Sunday afternoon when the Walleye looked to have been robbed of at least one point in the standings.
Toledo trailed Cincinnati 2-1 with 2:14 left when Walleye defenseman Sebastien Piche slid into Cyclone goalie Chet Pickard as the puck crossed the line for a tying goalie. But referee Curtis Marouelli waved off the score calling it goalie interference. Yet no penalty was assessed.
Cincinnati skated away with a 2-1 win in front of a crowd of 4,518 at the Huntington Center. Despite holding a 32-18 advantage in shots, Toledo fell five points behind the Cyclones and remained in last place in the North Division.
“I have no idea. I guess it was goalie interference,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “It was frustrating because he drove the net and made the effort to stop and backside pressure pushed him forward. I'm disappointed that [the ref] didn't ask for help. If he's unsure about a goal in that area he needs to talk to the linesman and make the right call.”
Piche said he lost his feet after he was tripped on the play.
“It should have been a goal or even two minutes on them because the guy put his stick between my legs,” Piche said. “It's frustrating because it cost us the game. We could have tied the game and we need the point in the standings.”
Forward Adam Keefe, who also crashed the net on the play, received a misconduct penalty for arguing the call after the game.
“I don't what he was thinking. It was in the net prior to Piche getting tripped into the goalie,” Keefe said. “It was a blatant goal. It's unfortunate to not get it into overtime because of a missed call. We can't afford to lose a point. We may need it at the end of the year.”
The Walleye trailed 2-0 after giving up single goals in the first two periods. But the ice appeared tilted toward the Cyclones end in the third period as Toledo outshot them 17-4.
“We put our foot on the pedal,” Vitucci said. “We're showing signs of character. The puck's just not going in. But losing games over and over at home is still a negative.”
The Walleye fell to 4-6-2 and 2-5-1 at home.