Walleye continue to fight for playoff berth


CINCINNATI — Toledo Walleye forward Willie Coetzee scored with 8:48 left in the third period to beat the Cincinnati Cyclones Friday night 3-2.

The win helps the Walleye continue a push toward the final ECHL playoff spot.

Toledo is just four points behind the Cyclones as the teams continue their series with tonight's contest in Cincinnati before the Cyclones head to Toledo at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Toledo (31-30-6) took a 2-0 lead after the first period with a power play goal from Evan Rankin — his 20th of the season — and a marker from rookie Andy Bohmbach — his 23rd — before the Cyclones tied the game with a pair of goals in the second period of action.

"We did exactly what we need to tonight," said Toledo coach Nick Vitucci. "We stressed before the game that we had to come out with jump and get the lead, and we did that to perfection.

"They came back in the second period, which we expected. Our team persevered to get the win."

The win improves Toledo to 8-4-1 against Cincinnati this season.

In the third period, Toledo's Maxime Tanguay passed the puck in front of the Cincinnati net to Bohmbach for a one-time shot that was stopped by the Cyclones' Brian Foster, but Coetzee was there for the rebound, scoring his eighth goal of the year.

Toledo goaltender Thomas McCollum made the one-goal lead stick as he stopped 27 shots, including 10 crucial saves in the final stanza.

The Walleye were outshot 29-21 as McCollum improved to 10-8-1-1 this season.

FISH TALES: Prior to the game, the Walleye signed defenseman Bryan Rufenach to a professional contract. Rufenach just finished his college career with Clarkson University.  In 137 college games, he collected 21 goals and 34 assists.