A few common symbols of the Walleye's struggles this season reared their ugly head again on Saturday night.
Toledo led Cincinnati in the first period, but too many defensive breakdowns led to the Cyclones scoring the next four goals in a 5-2 loss before a capacity crowd of 8,200 at the Huntington Center to extended Toledo’s losing streak to four games.
Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said his team lost coverage in the neutral zone and that led to odd-man rushes. With the game tied at 2, Cincinnati (28-18-2) scored three goals in the third period.
“I thought we played ourselves back into the game and tipped the ice in our favor,” Vitucci said. “Then in the third period they turned the table on us. They took over the game with their speed and play through the neutral zone. In the third period, they transitioned very well from offense to defense and we didn't.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view photos of the game.
Toledo goalie Mac Carruth gave up five goals on 32 shots.
Cincinnati got on the board first on Anthony Luciani's rebound goal 3:30 into the game.
The Walleye (16-28-3) did not get their first shot until 10:15 remained in the first period and they were getting outshot 10-1 at that point.
Toledo tied it up on its second shot of game as Maxim Shalunov ripped one by Cincinnati goalie Scott Darling with 7:59 left in the first.
The Walleye struck again less than a minute later as Kevin Lynch scored on an assists by Pat Mullane and Alden Hirschfeld.
“When we were most effective we were playing with speed and making simple plays,” Lynch said. “Then we got away from our game a little bit, trying to play too much one-on-one hockey. We turned the puck over in key areas.”
Cincinnati tied it with 6:32 left in the second as Trevor Lewis beat Carruth over his right shoulder.
The Cyclones took advantage of a turnover by the Walleye deep in their own end to take the lead. Jonathan Hazen intercepted Mullane's pass and fired one by Carruth for a 3-2 lead with 14:06 left.
Cincinnati took a 4-2 lead with 9:53 left when former Walleye player Byron Froese scored as he tapped in a loose puck in the crease.
Hazen scored again on a one timer for the final margin.
The Walleye are in the midst of playing five games in seven days with four of them on the road. The team left after the game to travel to Greenville for a noon contest on Monday.
Toledo plays at South Carolina on Tuesday night. The Walleye return home next Friday to host Orlando.
Toledo has already lost more games this season then they did all of last season and are in last place in the North Division.
Despite that, it was the sixth sellout of the season.
“This is our job and our livelihood,” Lynch said. “No matter the record we come to the rink everyday to prepare as well as we can. We're motivated.
"We always think we can win every game.”
FISH TALES: Captain Kyle Rogers and forward Stephon Thorne are both on reserve due to leg injuries and will not make the road trip. … Froese, who played for the Walleye last season, was not added to the Toledo roster because the team already had too many players from their AHL affiliate in Rockford.