CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye (9-12-1-1) were able to add a pair of empty-net goals in the final minutes to prevent a Cincinnati Cyclones (10-9-5-1) comeback, winning by a final score of 5-2 in front of 4,453 at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday night.
The Walleye were able to bulge the twine first, as a Zack Torquato shot was redirected past Cyclones goalie Marc Cheverie (L, 30 saves, 9-5-2-1) at the 14:42 mark for a 1-0 lead. However, with just 55 seconds left in the opening frame, Christiaan Minella wristed home his sixth of the season in the slot during a Cyclones power play to knot things at one through 20 minutes.
Both teams traded chances throughout the second period but it was the Walleye that cashed in on a late goal when, at 18:20, Scooter Smith batted a puck from mid-air into the net for a 2-1 Toledo lead.
Luckily, just 35 seconds into the third, Cincinnati was able to claw back again when Dustin Sproat caught a perfect Minella pass in the slot and buried it past Walleye netminder Jordan Pearce (W, 31 saves, 3-3-0-0) for the game-tying goal. Unfortunately, the Walleye answered with the go-ahead tally at 14:55 as Adam Keefe found a loose puck underneath Cheverie and poked it home for the eventual game-winning goal. Down by one in the late stages, Cincinnati pulled the goalie in hopes of spawning another comeback; unfortunately, though, the Walleye were able to score a pair of empty net goals – one by Andy Bombach at 18:43 and another by Dominic Osman at 19:32 to seal a 5-2 victory.