The Toledo Walleye have righted the ship with a third consecutive win after three setbacks in a row.
Toledo jumped out to a three-goal lead against Cincinnati near the midpoint of Sunday's game, then went on to crush the Cyclones 6-2.
The Walleye (28-12-4), who had lost three of four on a recent road trip, pushed their winning streak at the Huntington Center to six games.
Shane Berschbach, who scored the game-winner in overtime in Toledo's 3-2 win Saturday against Brampton, finished with two goals and an assist. Both teams were playing a third game in as many days.
PHOTO GALLERY: Walleye 6, Cyclones 2
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“The biggest part was getting off to a good start … and stepping on them and not let them come back at you,” Berschbach said.
Kyle Bonis scored a power-play goal at the 12 minute, 58 second mark of the first period. Toledo then scored on back-to-back shots near the halfway point of the second to seize the three-goal advantage.
Defensemen Patrick McCarron gave Toledo a 2-0 cushion with 12:34 to go in the second. Just 2:22 later, defenseman Ryan Obuchowski made it 3-0. Both goals came on long shots from opposite ends of the blue line with heavy traffic in front of the Cyclones net.
VIDEO: Walleye 6, Cyclones 2
Cincinnati got on the board as Brandon McNally scored a power-play goal to make it 3-1 with 8:17 remaining in the second.
Toledo then scored two goals in the first 4:11 of the third to put it out of reach. They seized a 4-1 lead as Austen Brassard scored with a shot that beat Cincinnati goalie Jonas Johansson over his left shoulder 1:25 into the period. Berschbach then shoveled in a rebound shot by Erik Bradford for a 5-1 cushion.
“We got right back at them,” Walleye coach Dan Watson said. “We just tried to get the momentum shift back after they scored.”
Cincinnati's Daniel Muzito-Bagenda scored a power-play goal with 6:51 to go, but just 31 seconds later, Berschbach tallied his second of the game to make it 6-2.
“When the puck finds you it finds you. It happens to all players,” said Berschbach, who now has nine goals this season. “But it's good to get a few.”
Toledo goalie Matej Machovsky, who finished with 28 saves, was not busy early with 10 stops near the midpoint of the game but made several key stops.
Obuchowski stretched his point streak to four games, with two goals and three assists in the run.
Watson said his biggest pregame message was to get off to a great start and play the game the right way. The Cyclones had only nine forwards and five defensemen. Toledo held a 15-6 edge in shots after one period.
Toledo's Ryan Obuchowski (14) celebrates a goal during Sunday's game.
Blade/Kurt Steiss Enlarge
This was the Walleye’s fourth game in five days. They returned home Saturday after a five-game road trip in which they went 2-2-1.
“It is important because we were very average on the road trip,” Watson said. “That was not good enough. So we want to make sure we come home and take care of business. We're comfortable playing here. It's a great environment. They came out and performed for our fans. That's what it's all about.”
Brassard and Bonis both had a goal and an assist. Simon Denis and Bradford each had two assists.
“We want to skate, skate, skate and make them work,” Bonis said. “They had short numbers, and it's tough for other teams to keep up with the pace we play at.”
Many among the crowd of 6,872 were kids there for the organization's Princess Palooza day.
The Walleye had not scored more than three goals in a game since Jan. 13.
“We were lacking offense here for a little while now, so there's frustration in the locker room,” Watson said. “So to have a burst out game there like that … there's a few guys with bigger smiles on their faces. It was one of those games.”
Every Walleye player had at least one shot on goal, and 10 of 16 of the skaters had at least one point. Five had multiple points.
Toledo now leads the Central Division by four points over idle Fort Wayne.
“This weekend was huge for us to get back on the right path,” Berschbach said.
The Walleye are 4-2-0 this season against Cincinnati (22-14-2), which sits in fifth place in the division. Toledo now goes on the road for games Saturday at Indy and Feb. 6 at Wheeling. Toledo then returns home for a three-game weekend set Feb. 9-11 at the Huntington Center.
“Taking care of home ice makes everyone feel good,” Bonis said.
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