Cyclones’ Houser stops early surge by Toledo


CINCINNATI — The Walleye did everything they could to take the early lead in Game 3, but Cyclones goalie Michael Houser had them shaking their heads during the first intermission.

The Walleye completely controlled the play in the first, outshooting the Cyclones 16-10. But Cincinnati still took a 1-0 lead into first intermission.

The 16 shots the Walleye had in the first period were the most they’ve had in a period in the playoffs. They had 13 shots in one period in both Game 1 and Game 2.

The Walleye swarmed all over the Cyclone end in the first period.

Toledo forward Nino Musitelli, who made his first appearance in the playoffs, had a very good chance early. Phil Rauch and Andrej Nestrasil then also had quality chances.

Aaron Bogosian and Travis Novak were then stoned by Houser. Toledo had three great chances during a two-minute span and led 7-3 in shots.

Bogosian also got free on a solo breakaway, but Houser stopped him to keep it scoreless. He made 11 saves in the first 11 minutes.

Houser, who won the first two games of the series, entered the game with a 1.25 goals against average in the playoffs.

The Cyclones beat Walleye goalie Kent Simpson with 1 minute, 3 seconds left in the first period. They scored a power-play goal as Charles-Olivier Roussel knocked home a rebound.

Cincinnati had a 32-9-2 record when scoring the first goal during the regular season. Toledo was 23-10-5 when it scored first. The Walleye scored first in Game 1, but the Cyclones prevailed 2-1 in double overtime.

ROSTER MOVES: Defenseman Max Nicastro, who was reassigned to the Walleye from Grand Rapids of the AHL just prior to Wednesday’s game, scored in the second period.

Nicastro played in nine games in the regular season with Toledo. He had two goals and three assists.

Nestrasil also returned to the team after an AHL callup. Nestrasil is the team’s fourth-leading scorer despite playing in just 40 games. Nestrasil has scored 11 goals to go along with 30 assists.

UNFRIENDLY FACILITY: U.S. Bank Arena was the site of the final game for the Toledo Storm on April 19, 2007. The Cyclones swept the Storm in three straight games in the best-of-five ECHL North Division semifinals.

The Storm were outscored 14-4 in that series.

Cincinnati goalie Cedrick Desjardins ended the Storms’ 16-year history finishing with 36 saves and a shutout. It also marked the end of hockey in Toledo for two seasons.

Walleye coach Nick Vitucci was coach of the Storm at the time.

U.S. Bank Arena was built in 1975 and has a capacity of 14,453 for hockey games. Once known as the Riverfront Coliseum, it was the venue where 11 people died in 1979 while entering the facility for a concert by The Who.

ROWE A NO-GO: Veteran Randy Rowe was scratched for a second game. Rowe, who is seeking his first championship in a 12-year career, injured his back in Game 1 on Friday.

The other scratches were D Erik Spady, F Tyler Brener, and F Stephon Thorne.

ECHL CHAMPS: The Cyclones won the 2010 Kelly Cup title; they also won in 2008.

Toledo has won two ECHL championships. The Storm won in 1993 and 1994.

Neither team qualified for the playoffs last season.