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Published: Monday, 2/27/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Vitucci suspended by ECHL for game

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS STAFF

Nick Vitucci watched the game from the team's luxury suite as assistant coach Dan Watson took over the head coaching duties on Sunday. Nick Vitucci watched the game from the team's luxury suite as assistant coach Dan Watson took over the head coaching duties on Sunday.
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Walleye coach Nick Vitucci was suspended by the ECHL for one game after his tirade in Saturday night's game at the Huntington Center.

Vitucci served the suspension on Sunday and was not behind the bench in Toledo's afternoon game against Cincinnati.

During Toledo's 4-1 loss to Wheeling, Vitucci took issue with a non-call by referee Joe Sullivan and went ballistic on the Walleye bench. Vitucci hurled water bottles, a stick, and a clipboard onto the ice after a fight between Toledo's Joey Ryan and Wheeling's Ryan Schnell.

Following his rant, Vitucci was kicked out of the game. He was issued a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct. Vitucci claimed Schnell should have been called for an instigator penalty for starting the fight.

Joe Ernst, the ECHL's vice president of hockey operations, said Vitucci was fined an undisclosed amount of money as well, but that it does not amount to more than "a couple hundred dollars."

WALLEYE HOMESTAND ENDS WITH NEEDED WIN

Assistant coach Dan Watson took over the head coaching duties on Sunday. Vitucci watched the game from the team's luxury suite.

Watson, who is in his third season as an assistant for the Walleye, served as the headman one other time. Watson was the interim head coach when Toledo beat Florida in November 20, 2010 when Vitucci also was serving a suspension.

"We wanted to keep Watson's streak going," goalie Jordan Pearce said. "He's 2-0 now."

Watson, who usually handles the defensemen, also added the duties of controlling the forwards at the same time on Sunday.

"Becoming a head coach is something I look forward to in the future. So it's nice to get a taste," Watson said. "It's rewarding to get the win as well."

REF RETIRES: Longtime referee Nick Suhy officiated in his last game in Toledo on Sunday.

In an ECHL career that spanned seven years, Suhy has officiated in 208 games. Suhy served as the ref in the final game played at the Sports Arena.

Suhy received both boos and cheers from the 7,503 fans at the Huntington Center when he was recognized for his accomplishment by public address announcer Bobb Vergiels in the third period.

FISH TALES: Toledo improved to 13-1-2 when leading after two periods. … Toledo did not have a power play over the first two periods. The Walleye finished 0 for 1 with the man advantage, while the Cyclones were 1 for 4. … Toledo was outshot 34-27. … The Walleye are 6-4-1 against the Cyclones. Toledo is now 13-14-2 at home. … Toledo's Bryan Rufenach, who had an assist on Sunday, is tied for third among ECHL defensemen with 11 goals. … Sunday's game was a "Kids Day" and featured Mascot Mania Night. … Toledo D Joey Ryan, who was involved in a fight on Saturday night that led to an outburst that got Vitucci booted out of the game, got into a brief fight with Luke Stauffacher 1:34 into Sunday's game. … The Walleye looked like they had scored with 5:20 left but the goal judge did not light the goal lamp. … The game was delayed for nearly five minutes in the second period when a section of glass needed to be repaired.



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