Phil Rauch, 20, knocks down Cincinnati Cyclones player Dan Eves, 16, as they battle behind the Walleye net.
Walleye rookie Terry Broadhurst said he had often dreamed about making the play he made to win the game for Toledo on Friday night.
Broadhurst scored the game winner with 35.5 seconds left in overtime to lead Toledo to a dramatic 3-2 victory over Cincinnati to the delight of 4,631 fans at the Huntington Center
It was the Walleye's only shot of the overtime and Broadhurst's first goal as a pro.
Broadhurst, who scored 16 goals in college at Nebraska-Omaha last season, called it “a big character win.” The 23-year-old left winger said he had space to use his speed to beat the Cyclones' defenseman and was able to put the puck where he wanted.
“Luckily it squeaked through,” Broadhurst said. “It's something you dream about since you're a little kid. So for that to happen is pretty special. It's always nice to get the first one off your back and when it's in overtime it makes it that much sweeter.”
Cincinnati scored first 8:13 into the game. Toledo responded with goals from captain Kyle Rogers and defenseman Wes O'Neill. The Walleye have started the season with a 2-0-0 record.
Toledo rookie goalie Kent Simpson, making his second pro start, finished with 23 saves on 25 shots. Simpson was solid and particularly strong early in the third.
Rogers scored his first of the season late in the first period to tie it at 1. He was tripped up while charging toward the net and still managed to get the puck past Cyclones goalie Brian Foster while falling down. A penalty shot likely would have been called if Rogers had not scored on the play.
“They always tell you to crash the net,” Rogers said. “I didn't know it went in until I got up and the guys were celebrating.”
Rogers said he was excited to tie it but was equally happy to get the goal for another reason.
“I was hoping not for a penalty shot. That's for sure,” he admitted. “I have [taken] a couple. But I had broke my stick the shift before and I was nervous to use it.”
O'Neill scored his first of the season at the midpoint of the second. O'Neill scored on a perfectly placed shot in the upper corner. Broadhurst and Willie Coetzee assisted. O'Neill's laser shot gave Foster no chance to stop it as the puck beat him over his left shoulder.
Cincinnati tied it at 2 with 5:55 left as former Walleye player Michael Pelech cashed in after collecting a big rebound. Vitucci said his team was tired and got caught in a line change.
The Walleye outshot the Cyclones 34-25 but Toledo was on its heels before Cincinnati tied it.
Mathieu Aubin also scored for Cincinnati (1-1-0) and Foster had 31 saves.
The Walleye successfully killed off a penalty with 2:28 left in the game and Simpson made a save with less than second left to send it to OT.
“It's good to get the season started like this at home,” Broadhurst said. “We had a great crowd and to give them a nice show was good.”
It was the last home game of the month for the Walleye, who play the next five on the road. The team plays at Kalamazoo today at 7:30.
Toledo and Cincinnati meet seven more times this season.
“They are our rivals and they are good every year,” Rogers said. “So it's big momentum for us and a good start for us.”
The Walleye, who are in first in the North Division, return home on Nov. 2 against Fort Wayne.
Vitucci said the Cyclones hemmed his team in and took chances to tie it.
“To come out victorious after being back on our heels for half of the third period shows some character,” he said. “It's really big to feel good about ourselves. But we welcome this road trip. It's a chance for this team to get to know each other.”
FISH TALES: The Walleye are 2-0 to start the season for the first time in franchise history. ... Max Campbell, who had an assist, now leads the team with four points (2 G, 2 A). Oreskovic had two assists. … Simpson played four seasons in the WHL. He had a 3.33 GAA last season and played in one AHL game for Rockford last season.
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.