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 goal. 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.
Hundreds of stuffed animals were hurled on to the ice after Walleye forward Kyle Rogers scored in the second. The toys were donated to Lucas County Children Services.
"That's fantastic. It's great to see our fans get behind a great cause," Vitucci said.
Rogers showed great resolve as Randy Rowe sent a pass from behind the net out to him at the top of the crease. Rogers took two swipes at it before he knocked it in.
Walleye goalie Joe Palmer (0-2-0) finished with 16 saves.
After Toledo erupted for eight goals in a shutout of Kalamazoo on Saturday, Pickard stopped 31 Walleye shots.
"Tonight we got back to struggling," Keefe said. "We have to keep getting to the net. It's just bouncing the wrong way."
Despite playing three games in as many days, Toledo had jump. "It's really four games in four and a half days," Vitucci said.
Toledo had five quality scoring opportunities on a power play with 8:11 left.
Sunday was the last home game for the Walleye this month. They travel to Florida this week for games on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday against the Everblades.
"Maybe that's a good thing," Vitucci said.
Keefe agreed: "It will be nice to get away with just the team. There will be more focus on hockey and we're always together as a team. This is a huge road trip for us."
Piche questioned why he wasn't called for a penalty on the key play.
"I went to the referee and asked him why it wasn't two minutes against me," Piche said. "But he didn't want to say anything about it."
The Cyclones took a 1-0 lead when Barret Ehgoetz tipped in a shot from the left point that was sailing wide. Bad defensive zone coverage resulted in a 2-0 Cyclones lead. Ehgoetz was able to get a pass to Scott Reynolds and Reynolds skated freely out front to beat Palmer with 8:38 left in the second.
FISH TALES: Toledo is now 1-2-1 against the Cyclones (6-5-3) this season. …D Ryan Stokes was a scratch with a groin injury Sunday. Stokes led Toledo against the Cyclones with two goals. …Cyclones assistant coach Scott Fankhouser is a former Toledo Storm goalie (2004-05). … Ehgoetz has five points in four games against Toledo (1 goal, 4 assists). … Peter Leblanc just missed capitalizing on a Cyclones mistake while Cincinnati was on the power play in the third. Defenseman T.J. Fast fell down at the point and Leblanc skated in alone on Pickard, but the Cyclones goalie made the save.
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