Walleye struggles drag on, loss is 6th in a row

Toledo briefly led, but fell to Cincinnati 3-2

Toledo's goalie Hannu Toivonen (30) can't stop the puck as it sails by during the second period.
Toledo's goalie Hannu Toivonen (30) can't stop the puck as it sails by during the second period.

A third period filled with desperate hockey was not enough for the Walleye and the misery continued for Toledo on Wednesday as the team dropped its sixth straight game.

Toledo briefly led Cincinnati 2-1 for 24 seconds in the second period. But the Cyclones scored the next two goals and skated away with a 3-2 victory before an announced crowd of 3,625 at the Huntington Center.

PHOTO GALLERY: Walleye lose 6th straight

The Walleye had two power plays in the third period and a bevy of good chances but could not even the score.

“That's kind of where we are at right now,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “The guys are nervous and rattled. They're gripping their sticks too tight.”

Toledo's record dropped to 5-11-3 and the Walleye remain in the basement of the ECHL North Division. The Walleye have lost 10 of their last 11 games.

Cincinnati (13-8-1) moved into first place in the North.

The shots reflected the evenly played game as both teams finished with 32 shots.

Forward David Gilbert returned to the lineup from injured reserve and scored a goal. Marek Tvrdon gave Toledo the brief lead.

In the third Toledo outshot the Cyclones 14-9. Kyle Rogers missed a wide open net late on the second power play with about 10 minutes left. Travis Parkes and Tvrdon both had great chances near the 14 minute mark of the final period but Cyclone goalie Michael Houser made three stops.

“We had the chances tonight, we just couldn't bury them,” Rogers said. “The positive is that we were in the right spot at the right time. I guess you could say we're snake bit. We keep getting our chances and you have to keep going with that. We're going to snap out of it.”

Tvrdon also hit the post late in the third. Aubry missed an open net and with 30 seconds left Gilbert had another good opportunity in tight but could not convert.

Walleye goalie Hannu Toivonen (0-3-0) stopped 29 shots for Toledo. The former NHL netminder came into the game with a 6.05 goals-against average.

Toledo took a 2-1 lead on Tvrdon's goal 1:56 into the second period. Tvrdon muscled in the puck from the side of Houser (30 saves).

But 24 seconds later the Cyclones tied it back up when Wade Megan scored from the left slot on a shot Toivonen should have stopped.

“That's tough because we had the momentum and they came right back and tied it,” Rogers said.

Each team scored on its first shot of the second period. Cincinnati took a 3-2 lead as Adam Brace collected his own rebound and scored with 6:02 left in the second period.

Miscommunication among the Walleye forwards on a rush led to a turnover and Brace's one-on-one breakaway against Walleye defenseman Richard Nedomlel. Toivonen stopped the first shot, but Brace chipped the deflection over Toivonen.

“It happened about five or six times where we had full puck possession and then they suddenly have a golden opportunity right back at us,” Vitucci said.

“That has to be fixed.”

Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead 5:19 into the game as Logan Shaw drove home a long rebound, drilling it into the open net from the left circle.

The Walleye tied it up when Gilbert scored a power play goal on a rebound. Louis-Marc Aubry and Travis Novak assisted on the goal with 7:25 left in first.

Houser (5-5-1) was in net for Cincinnati when the Cyclones knocked Toledo out of the playoffs last season.

“I still have nightmares about that kid,” Vitucci said. “We had some great scoring opportunities and he finds a way to make the saves.”

FISH TALES: The team made several transactions on Wednesday. Gilbert, Novak, and D Phil Rauch all were activated from injured reserve. G Jared Coreau was recalled to Grand Rapids (AHL). G Tony Tabisz added as emergency backup. D Daniel Koger, F Kevin Lynch, and D Joe Sova were moved to the reserve list.

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.